Paintings from Sunset Series by Spence Munsinger, Color Field + Blank White Canvas + Realism + Contemporary Abstract Art, original paintings for sale

The Art we look at is made by only a select few.
A small group create, promote, purchase, exhibit and decide the success of Art.
Only a few hundred people in the world have any real say.
When you go to an Art gallery
you are simply a tourist looking at the trophy cabinet of a few millionaires…"

Archives for October 2008

art wet…

WordPress Stats gives me a view of what search terms cause people to find this site. That’s interesting.

For example: "art wet"


Why? With what intent?

Are we talking “wet canvas”, which is an actual issue for oil painters? One artist (who paints in thick impasto style in oils) has a note on the work that is for sale. It says “drying time may be required”. Most definitely.

I painted a couple of color studies, colors #1 and colors #2, in oils, quite thick. The surface of colors #2 was not solid enough to varnish for two full years. Two full years!

There is Wet Canvas, an online community for artists. A slightly dyslexic interpretation in search, maybe that was what the searcher was trying to find? It is one of the better art communities, and part of the inspiration for the title “nude on a wet canvas”.

With “art wet” as the search, today in google you get Sound Art- Wet Sounds: Festival of Underwater Sounds; Dance.Draw -Exquisite Interaction. Art. Dance. Underwater dance. Which leads to Wet Sounds 2008: A Festival of Underwater Sounds- I want to go!.

You have to get the context of this search string

fantasy nude women
plugin for opera ie
art wet
frank frazetta
female sexual drawings
drink coffee do stupid things faster wit
picasso sexual
fantasy women
cleaning artist brushes
frank frazetta nudes

This brings to mind my SPAM mailbox. It has 30 pieces in it today – here are the titles…

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There’s some balance here. It’s not all sex, just perhaps 35%.

In the 1910’s and 1920’s Picasso and other artists put “Jolie!” and “Bass” and other word strings, that seem romantic. To capture the love/lust/culture today you would need a collage with the strings from SPAM, and from sexual references, explicit piercings, to convey it.

A painting of abstract vaguely sexual forms and the words “ART” & “WET” stenciled in there somewhere. Maybe the clarity is in the forms around piercings, the rest undefined and left to the imagination. Abstract but with enough form to ask for interpetation.


— spence


artist's statement (0001.4)


coffee avatar


There is this standard thing an artist is asked to come up with, a piece of writing, basically an ad blurb peeking inside the artist’s soul. It is to bring the audience to a point of view from which they can see the work with some understanding of the process, the artist, the intention behind the work.

A leaping off point.

I paint to put interesting things on my walls. Really. I create too much stuff and run out of wall space and sell it. Nothing more to see here, move along…

There is more to it than that. Every time I come to having to state it though I am torn. The simplicity in that statement, “I paint to put interesting things on my walls” – it is true; it’s honest. The key is “interesting things.” If the work is aesthetic, if it creates an emotional reaction, it is interesting. If the work is interesting, hits that aesthetic note, causes a reaction in the viewer, then I have followed through. I’ve kept my promise.

That aesthetic note, wavelength, that tension between beauty and communication – that’s tricky stuff. If the work hits an aesthetic wavelength, you can paint anything at all. Its like using a tuning fork to check for sympathetic resonance, resonance with the spirit. Beauty has a physical impact, a resonance, it grabs attention and holds it. That’s my first intention. The work has to be damn aesthetic. Pretty as hell.

I start with an idea of an image to be brought together and intimately connected with that image an emotion, a feeling I want the painting to communicate. The warmth of the sand on the beach, the grittiness, the cool feeling of the breeze, and the emotion of – what? A feeling of space and expansion, from that a joy at life? Or – the contrast of the warmth of the sand and the space along the edge of the ocean with loss of someone loved – that tension instead. That image and the emotion, the feeling that should resonate from the canvas, is the beginning.

There is an image of a moment in time and a perception of emotion connected to that time. The softness of skin, the texture of hair, the soft sound of a voice… The roughness and pattern of a piece of pottery. There is a moment and an emotion, and how the moment is portrayed, how the image is brought together is to communicate and bring across that feeling.

I love canvas. I love the texture, the brilliance of the white before it is touched, it is such a timeless surface.

When I work with paint on canvas, I feel the presence of all of the artists who worked before. I can feel the courage it took, to be willing to weather the uncertainty, the doubt, the fear that it is just not good enough, and the kindling of courage, the spark and following a method that brings about a result that causes me to be find I disbelieve that I created this.

I can recall all the decisions, and the ones that put me in mystery and in awe of the whole process are the ones that were instinctive and sure, made from an inner knowing. Knowledge and certainty born of action in the moment of creation. The kind of decision making that can’t be forced consciously.

It can’t be taught directly. It can be brought into being through a familiarity with techniques and tools to where they aren’t distracting, and through the practice of painting itself. And learning to listen to the soft whisper of where the paint wants to go…

For a long time a painting on the wall was a locus of being human. No other being we know of in this universe hangs a representation of space up as part of life. From drawing on cave walls to honoring our dead to creating governments and taxes, all basic to being human.

There is something in expression through paint and canvas that can’t be duplicated by computer to printer to ink. A visceral element in the texture, the scale of the surface, the yielding, even the three dimensionality.

These aren’t a spray of dots by machine, they don’t approximate colors through software, this is pure pigment, pure human perception and light wavelengths. There’s the music in the studio, the vision of the artist, the surface and the paint and the tools, and the result is a completely unique communication.

Art has impact. It changes lives, it anchors our spirit, it engages the soul. You give it life, I put it there, but for each person it is different.

A picture is not thought out
and settled beforehand.

While it is being done it changes
as one’s thoughts change.

And when it is finished,
it still goes on changing,
according to the
state of mind of whoever is looking at it.

A picture live a life
like a living creature,
undergoing the changes imposed on us
by our life from day to day.

[Pablo Picasso]

That covers it.


sunset in progress



— spence


erotic and subtle


I found an amazing a series of paintings by Tom Wesselmann I find just bloody fascinating. They take a photographic cropping viewpoint, a bit of silhouette, a concept of space and make an image that is erotic and subtle.

silhouette no. 1    silhouette no. 2    silhouette no. 3

silhouette no. 4    silhouette no. 5

It’s like if Matisse cut out body shapes as the frames for a painting image. I find it makes you imagine as to scene, circumstances, room, person in the image. There’s no specific retrospective out yet for Tom Wesselmann – one comes out on October 21st.



— spence


pop art and airbrush


I ordered an airbrush a few days ago. I already have an industrial air compressor, all I have to do is (a) put up with the noise of the compressor (easy – turn the stereo WAY up), and (b) dry and filter the air before it comes to the brush.

And learn to paint with it.

When I was a kid and I saw what you could do with an air brush, I was floored. This was exciting (we are, after all, talking eight or nine years old). You could paint a mural! On a car! That was probably part of why I wasn’t supplied with one at that time. I’m sure my mom could just see the mural painted on her Volvo 1800e sports car. And… She could have been right.

In UCLA art school the idea of using an air brush was sacrilege. They were expensive. They were tools of lesser artists (cough… ((bull)shit) cough…).

I rented a house in Los Angeles, one of my roommates was a commercial graphic artist. He made some fantastic images. He did it effortlessly. He made art. The same art. Over and over and over, logo after logo, advertisement and layout after layout. He used an airbrush and the association stayed in my mind. I never looked at it again until recently.

I had taken some photographs in the Hirshhorn museum in Washington, D.C., part of the Smithsonian. One of them was Tom Wesselmann’s Bedroom No. 38.

This painting was on a wall at the top of the stairs, as you ascended it appeared. The painting is 87″ x 94″, so the impact is huge, visually stunning. I love subtle erotic art. Suggesting, leaving the rest of the scene to the imagination is effective. I took a shot or three of the painting, and I’m sure I read the placard, and saw the artist’s name and lost memory of it. I found that image a few weeks ago and looked up the painting on the Hirshhorn’s website.

I’m still floored by it. I have a painting I started of a redhead nude figure, her hair is just brilliant, the skin radiant, at least in the vision of the painting I had. I started it as a tone painting a few months ago and it has languished hanging from the rafters waiting for a nudge of inspiration. I’m painting it, brushed, in acrylic in a palette like Bedroom No. 38.

I can get some of the same feeling of flesh tone and smooth transition, but in looking closer at Wesselmann’s work, if it’s not airbrushed in actuality in this painting from the Hirshhorn, the effect can be duplicated with one. The subtlety of the shading along the chin and around the eyes, the fading of the shading in the black behind the face.

It’ll be interesting to see how the airbrushed technique fits the visions I have for this style. And interesting to see how cumbersome / difficult / frustrating this kind of tool is.


— spence