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

"You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea..."
― Pablo Picasso

Archives for August 2012

peace to paint

It takes a certain amount of peace and a sense of tranquility and stability to work over time on a painting…  

I’ve recently finished three paintings. The fourth and fifth are in progress, but I’ve been somewhat consumed by remodeling our home. First by a contractor who made my life much harder rather than easier, and then by the remainder of the project as we contract out smaller pieces of it, and do quite a bit on our own.

I love tools and I love the creativity of envisioning a piece opf architecture and then bringing it into being. The smell of sawdust is amazing, brings back many many memories.

My first connection with my father was supposed to be washing the car when I was 7 – but I leaned over the hood of his charcoal grey Porsche 356 with a belt buckle on to polish the middle of the hood. I revealed the original baby blue paint. I didn’t wash that car again.

In my teens I worked with my father on his home, rebuilding kitchens, discovering that mechanical systems were not that difficult to grasp conceptually, and discovering stresses and structure and design and tradition. Most framing carpenters don’t necessarily grasp the full depth of the structure they are building to plan – they get it when they have seen a structure fall over or fail in some way – but they basically follow the plans and fill in the gaps with tradition. Spacing studs at 16″ on center. 4″x4″ for a 4′ opening, 8″x8″ for an 8′. Fireblocking. Many, many of the items not explicitely covered by the architects plans are resolved by the builders and the framers and the inspectors by tradition and hard-won knowledge.

When you are the homeowner, you have to deduce what the arhcitect envisioned and what the bulder filled in. You discover where, 80 years later, the design fell short. That remodeling was my first bonding with my father.

The last few months I spent with my brother before his sudden passing was remodeling a bathroom. We sorted out plumbing that my then-brother-in-law endangered the house with, and moved the small room at the end of the hall to a fully functional and to-code bathroom.

So I love building. But – there aren’t enough hours, and with the disruption caused by the construction and the demands of other peoples schedules, there just isn’t the space to move a painting forward. There’s a continuity of vision, a flow of production and feeling that has to occur. It hasn’t. It will.

Here’s the painting on the easel, viewed, waiting:


7th Street Access

7th Street Access




storytelling and play, two (or three) painters

“Edward hopper’s emotional storytelling with light, Picasso’s willingness to alter and reinvent form and perspective and to simply play, blatantly play with materials…”

I wrote that in an email from 2011, which ended up in the gmail “Drafts” folder – saved, but never sent or completed.

Nine months later I am not sure where it came from, what idea I was rolling around in that. I consider Hopper an influence because of the loneliness and solitude and timelessness of his images. His telling of a story.

There is the heartbreaking scene in a theatre of a woman, we can barely see her, she is off to the side of the theatre in an aisle away from the stage. Her body language says profound grief or disappointment. Was she an actress denied a part? A showgirl rejected as a professional or as a mistress? A wife or mother recovering from facing down her husband? There is a visual story right there, told but not completely and that storytelling demands the viewer add him or herself to the painting.




That’s why I paint in gesture in abstract, in lucky placements of paint that follow an intention but not an exact intention and certainly not an exact attention or care. That feeling in painting, you can see it in Vermeer’s work – look in closely at some details and they aren’t there – they are suggested by the rhythm and the flow of the paint, but the actual detail you see isn’t precisely placed or even anything but shadow and change in tone.




Picasso is both influence and inspiration. He continually found new ways of lookign at the world, and new ways of expressing that viewpoint, all the way to his passing. His work has a joy and a consistency despite the variety on its surface. Even at the death of his best friend there is a communication of possibility,

I have a film of Picasso “Le Mystere Picasso” from 1956. In the DVD Picasso brings brush strokes into life. At one point a painting is NOT going well, and his subtitled comment is “Oooohhhh. This is bad. Vary bad…” He played with paint, with vision and presented it well.