POCATELLO — Blackfoot artist Ken Spencer’s work adorns a number of temples for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in various places of the world.
Now, two of his paintings adorn the walls of the new temple in Pocatello.
The public is invited to tour the new temple beginning Saturday. The temple open house runs through Oct. 23, except for Sundays, including Sept. 19, 26, October 2–3 (general conference), 10 and 17.
The two paintings include “Haystack Mountain” and “For The Strength of the Hills”, inspired by one of the church’s hymns of the same name.
Both paintings depict scenes in the Marsh Valley and Inkom area and McCammon.
“I took a lot of photos of that area at different times of the year and then worked from those photos,” Spencer said. “They’re done for the (Pocatello) temple, they won’t be seen anywhere else.”
Spencer said he wanted to do the paintings for the temple so he approached the designer of the temple and worked with her to come up with ideas he was happy with and she thought would work.
The pieces are 40x60, done in oil on a linen panel. Spencer said the paintings took 6-8 months to complete from start to finish, working in between other paintings.
“They’re a legacy type painting that will be in a public place, a very honored place,” he added. “Hopefully they should be in there for a very long time. It’s an honor for sure.”
His artistic ability has taken him throughout the United States and to countries such as France, Italy, Germany, England, and the Czech Republic, where he’s painted on location and gathered reference material to paint.
He’s spent time in picturesque cities and villages, capturing the texture and imagery of the places he’s visited.
His work can be seen in the foyer of the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center.
A major contribution of his can be found in the Paris France Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a work he collaborated on with his old friend David Koch from Utah’s Cache Valley.
It’s a canvas that stretches 12 feet high and 72 feet long, giving a panoramic view of the surrounding area where the temple sits in Le Chesnay, France.
He’s won numerous awards. His work can be found in museums in Missouri, the LDS Museum of Art and History in Salt Lake City, and BYU-Idaho. He’s written articles in various magazines, given guest lectures and workshops, and his works have been displayed in St. George, UT; Warrenton, VA; Cape Cod, MA; and Park City.
He was born and raised in Ogden and went to Ogden High School. He graduated from Utah State University with a bachelors’ degree in illustration. His wife is the former Marnie Ricks, who grew up in Blackfoot. It was her family ties and roots in Blackfoot that brought them back here after time spent in the New York area. They’ve been here since 2000.