She began recreating the buildings and animals, and ended up producing 14 paintings over the course of the last year and a half. A dozen are on display.
"I wanted to capture it somehow," she said. "It came together as a tribute."
Now retired after 42 years in the health-care field, Spence, 69, hadn't picked up a drawing pencil until she was 50. It was then when she and a friend took an drawing course at what was Catonsville Community College.
When she wanted to take the next course in the sequence, she was told there were no more and she'd have to go to Maryland Institute College of Art. That's what she did, continuing her art education.
Now, her art is on display through the Baltimore County Arts Guild's Art on Tour program. The nonprofit guild promotes area art and artists.
While the guild has a gallery space for its 150 members near Arbutus, the program is another avenue for artists to get exposure, countywide. About four artists have work on display throughout the county at different businesses and community gathering spots, according to executive director Trisha Chason.
The program provides several purposes for the artists, Chason said, whether it be to sell works of art, work on building a portfolio or to develop credibility for bigger opportunities or venues.
Spence, of Catonsville, wanted to show her story to the public for a few reasons. In addition to the logic that an artist wants his or work to be seen, known and understood may be obvious, she wanted the community to see her work because for some, the paintings bring back memories, she said.
A bidding war for a giclée print — a replica using archival inks — of "The Corn Crib" a few years ago, when it was donated for an auction, took place not because the painting was outstanding, she said, but because the people who were there had fond memories of it.
The oil paintings, which are for sale, range from $200 to $600, depending on size, Spence said. Sales are independent of the library, she said.