Artist of the Month: Spencer Reynolds

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Jul 08, 2017 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

It was an article about the best surf artists on instagram that led me to our artist of the month, Spencer Reynolds, and his partner, Stacey, who helped facilitate our interview (thanks, Stacey!). 

Surge, by artist Spencer Reynolds
Surge

I am drawn to water in all forms, and any art that includes water? I’m all in. When I saw Spencer’s extraordinary paintings, I just knew. I knew he was incredibly talented, and that, if we were lucky, we could share his work with our wandering educators. A surfer himself, Spencer is able to capture the movement of waves, the tenacity of water, and the texture of nature, in all its forms. Fall in love with his art, as I have…

Torrent. From an interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Torrent

Twisted tree. From an interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Twisted Tree

Spencer notes:
I grew up where the ocean is cold, rough, and the skies are often cloudy. This coast is mysterious and majestic; in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. My hometown was a modest blue-collar area full of loggers and fishermen located at the tail end of Southern region where the land pushes against the mighty Pacific.

Ever since I could walk, my parents took me to the beach; from an early age I spent as much time as possible at or in the ocean. On my tenth birthday, after much begging on my part, they reluctantly decided to let me have my first bodyboard. Under my older brother’s supervision and sporting a life jacket, I was allowed to go surfing. The ocean’s waves were instantly captivating - and have been ever since. It’s become a life obsession. 

My father, who was a naturally gifted creative type, encouraged me to draw and paint from an early age. I don’t think this was done with the hopes that I’d someday dedicate my life to art-related pursuits, I think he just wanted to share the joy of creating. My mother was by her nature very encouraging. As I grew older, I never thought twice about what I would do with my life; I would be an artist. Given the blue-collar locale of my youth, it amazes me now that I never questioned my choice. I just pursued that goal, bringing me to living a life creating art full time.

I cannot escape the oceans deep influence on my art. It weaves itself into everything I create. Be it my representational wave paintings, some of the deep wonder, delight and tragedy of life. Or finding creative inspiration in objects found on my local beaches, possessing nothing representational yet having the rugged quality of something that’s spent time rolling around in the Pacific. Saltwater courses through my veins and brings the two passions of my life together - the ocean and my art.

Unkept. From an interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Unkept

How long have you been an artist? 
My whole life! I began pursuing a serious career in the arts by attending The Art Institute in Seattle, WA. From there, I worked a few animator jobs and then really broke out on my own in 2004.

Thunder Rock Dreaming. From an interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Thunder Rock Dreaming

Thunder Rock Cove. From an interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Thunder Rock Cove

Is your art your full-time career? 
Yes

Where do you work? 
Self-employed since 2004.

Thunder Bridge. From an interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Thunder Bridge (see this painting in process here)

Cauldron. From an interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Cauldron

Do you have favorite places you like to create? 
In the studio, or anywhere along the fantastic Southern Oregon Coast.

Artist Spencer Reynolds Plein Air Painting
Spencer Reynolds Plein Air Painting

Three Hour Tour. From our interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Three Hour Tour

What does a typical day look like? Is there a typical day? 
Yes and no…since I run my own business, the tasks in each day change, but I either paint or draw every day. Sometimes that means I'm drawing late into the night. I also strive for work life balance, exercise, eating well, and most importantly, spending time with family. That might sound cliché, but the disciplines I tie my day to keep me grounded and growing as an artist.

The North End. From our interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
The North End

Bruce Bones Creek. From our interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Bruce Bones Creek

What materials do you prefer?
I use oils and like painting on reclaimed wood.

Redwoods. From our interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Redwoods

Where/How are you inspired? 
My main inspiration is the ocean and its surrounding elements, including small details like local plants, rocks, and driftwood. I also draw deeply from the beauty of the Southern Oregon Coast. I couldn’t ask for a better setting in which to create. 

As a canvas, I use reclaimed woods, often scavenged from local beaches. I find the roughness of this natural material lends itself perfectly to the raw ocean elements I’m working to capture. Using oil paints as my medium allows me the freedom to capture the depth and diversity of color I see in my subject matter. I finish my paintings with a unique technique I like to call Pinstripe Impressionism. With script and/or pinstripe brushes, I layer on lines of color, adding a refined element to a raw, unrefined canvas.

By creating something both raw and refined, I attempt to communicate the core of the human condition. Life is a tangle of hard and beautiful moments. It is through the tension of these two realities coexisting that I strive to create something of beauty and depth.

Tempest Formed. From our interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Tempest Formed

All that's left. From our interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
All that’s left

How do you know when your piece is done?
I typically work from large to small brush, and as I’m painting, each next step comes to me in the process. Once I work down to the small script brushes, I know the end is close. 

An interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds

Do you work on one or more pieces at a time? 
Yes almost always; I have some many different inspirations. 

Natural Delight. From our interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Natural Delight

Secret Beach Dream. From an interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Secret Beach Dream

If you were not a painter, what would you do? 
Maybe a musician, although lately my son and I have been getting big into Legos, so possible Lego Designer!

Wild Goat Cove. From our interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Wild Goat Cove

Rincon. From our interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Rincon

How can our readers find and purchase your art?
www.artandsurf.com

The Gallery that Stacey and I own: Semi Aquatic, 654 Chetco Avenue Brookings, OR 97415 – www.semiaquaticgallery.com

I’m also in various galleries and shops along the west coast, New Jersey, and Kauai. Check out my site for specifics.

Spillover. From our interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
Spillover

Find Spencer online:

https://www.instagram.com/spencerreynoldsartist/
https://www.facebook.com/SpencerReynolds73
https://www.pinterest.com/spencerreynolds/

Secret Beach. From our interview with surf artist Spencer Reynolds
secret beach

All photos courtesy and copyright Spencer Reynolds