Cement Works, Warkworth
c.1960, 545 x 800mm, Oil on board
Mary Margaret Gore Spicer, daughter of the painter Ella Spicer, was born in Parnell, Tāmaki Makaurau. She was educated at Chilton Saint James School, Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt, and Diocesan School, Tāmaki Makaurau. She was later a pupil of both John Weeks and Ida Eise at Elam School of Art. Her early employment in the office of architect Wilson Moodie gave her the grounding in draughtsmanship that is so evident in her many architectural subjects concerned with the changing face of Auckland.
With her mother, Spicer travelled extensively throughout Aotearoa and overseas, painting and exhibiting. She once explained, ‘I started painting in self defence after mother would keep me waiting around, sometime for three hours, while she finished a sketch.’ She was a regular exhibitor at the Auckland Society of Arts and in 1963 was a prizewinner in the Kelliher Art Prize. She died in Meadowbank, leaving a huge body of work, mostly watercolours. Her oils often show her enthusiasm for the palette knife.