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

"Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence."
― Henri Matisse

Sunset #24 | Butterfly Beach

Sunset 24 | Butterfly Beach, painting by Spence Munsinger

Sunset 24 | Butterfly Beach

Original Painting, Butterfly Beach.  See How To Buy Art

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Fine Art Print, 30″ x 24″, Butterfly Beach.    See About Prints

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This is acrylic on gallery-wrap canvas, 30″ x 24″ x 1.5″. This is a view of Hendry’s Beach, in Santa Barbara, which actually faces south rather than west. This brings the sunset off the ocean and closer to the cliffs that extend at high tide out to the breaking surf.

Butterfly Beach, Sunset Series, painting by Spence Munsinger, in situ

ButterFly Beach

I took a series of almost-lost-light photographs as the sun dropped, looking for lens flare and silhouettes of people and dogs that might be interesting. This painting was from several different photographs.

photograph, Hendry's Beach below the Butterfly Preserve

photograph, Hendry’s Beach below the Butterfly Preserve

The process was to sketch in the masses from the photographs, then airbrush a bright primary undercoat to match the tones and basic colors, then layer acrylic paint over that…

Butterfly Beach, painting by Spence Munsinger, airbrush process shot

Pastel sketch at start

Butterfly Beach, painting by Spence Munsinger, airbrush process shot

Airbrush

Butterfly Beach, painting by Spence Munsinger, initial color masses

Initial Color Masses

Butterfly Beach, painting by Spence Munsinger, More Color

More color…

 

Bright, brilliant stark raving color…

 

Bright, brilliant, stark-raving color, "Paper" app on iPad, by spence munsinger

 

What I love about painting is color. Brilliant, bright, stark raving color, and for me, painting has always been that dimension.

In 7th grade I took a photography class. We were tasked with working with black & white film. The development and printing for black & white film are simpler than color, the equipment is less expensive. The demands in creating images are to work with shape and tone and composition, and learn the mechanics of exposure. I had a feeling of dismay, a visceral sinking deep in my stomach, at dropping away the medium of color.

It was anathema.

In painting classes, I took solace in the burnt umber shades and tones in under-paintings. At least they had that much soft warm brown, almost sepia, color left. Black and white and greys would have been much harder and harsher…

Black & white film was a huge adjustment, one it took more than the entire class semester to get over. I now love black and white photography.

 

B&W Photograph of glass vase by Spence Munsinger

B&W Photograph of glass vase

 

I love the dropping away of everything but tone and shadow and light and dark. It is the essentials of form. And it has a softness, like seeing in shadows, in the twilight. There’s a nostalgia to it now that was not there in my younger self. I saw the small 3″x4″ photographs of my family and childhood as a primitive graphic representation of a life lived, and I had the arrogant assumption of eternity and timelessness, the embrace of the vivid ethereal color available in color film.

But in painting – God I love color.

 

— spence

 

an urn for my daughter…

My daughter let go of life 3 January 2011. She was diagnosed with AMML (Leukemia) in January 2010. She stepped from chemo treatment to chemo treatment, hoping for cured, a very very tough journey that finally ended for her. I wanted a container for her ashes that reflected her life, the life in her, and the loss I have at her passing on…

 

ashley urn 01

 

This design started from a plate Ashley painted in Colorado in 1996 (aged 10 years). One of those creative kid things to do, and which over the years and many moves, I managed to keep safe and unbroken. Now it just seems so completely irreplaceable…

 

ash plate 1996

 

The urn I found is stainless steel with a copper finish. The shape is classic, perfect. Given time or a wheel and kiln I might have tried a pottery urn, glazed and fired. But this may be better. It will age, but it will always be a gift to my daughter. Not the last – there is the ongoing gift of cherishing her memory and speaking of her as the world continues to turn and she finds her new role in the universe.

 

ashley urn 02

 

ash urn 03

 

—spence

no thought

sunset #13 in progress

I was describing, out loud, the process of applying paint to canvas. In the process of working to explain it, I found some insights. I use photographs as a synthesis for an image, for the starting place for space in the painting, for color reference, to see what colors would be, where light moves, how it dances across surfaces and into shadow.

Looking at the quality of the light in the photographs, against the quality of the light in the memory I hold for the painting. The images come first from memory, triggered a photograph or a painting that reminds me of an emotion and from that a space in my mind. The photographs are a catalyst, a trigger for line and drawing and a reference for the image, but the image as it evolves loses any touch to those concrete images.

I do, actually dance in front of the canvas, that ecstatic feeling of weight and motion is very much a part of the process. Music, especially acoustic guitar recently, and the application of paint becomes no-thought.

There really is a point, and some of the best passages in a painting come from this, where I get to no-mind, no-thought, just an action of feeling mentally the surface I want to portray and contributing to a motion in the painting knife or brush or airbrush that is just there.

Fascinating stuff to me.

— spence

painting: girl in chair

girl in chair JPG

This started from a Picasso painting from 1939 titled “Woman Reading.”

woman_reading_1939_200.jpg

The colors in this followed Picasso’s, then diverged – the biggest revelation from painting this was the scratching of lines into the paint. Sketching into paint, drawing lines into paint. That was/is amazing. One of the things I see most in Picasso’s wide range of techniques is a willingness to be… Sloppy. To let the line take over. To work on communication of the whole, and step back from any obsession with an exactness of detail. And a supreme confidence in the results.

I started with the colors and the chair and the premise of a woman reading in a hallway, quietly, and then tried to walk through to what I saw in the image, which was inherently different, yet has some of the same feel. This is a fun painting to see, for me. It just communicates a quiet joy, in spite of or because of the colors, or is it the blue taming the red and yellow, I don’t know. It is a peaceful painting.

Oil on canvas, gallery-wrapped (painting extends back through the edges), 30″ x 40″ 1-1/2″ deep. Two coats archival Gamvar varnish (gloss).

details

girl in chair detail #1 JPG girl in chair detail #2 JPG girl in chair detail #3 JPG girl in chair detail #4 JPG

 

— spence

artist@spencemunsinger.com
spencemunsinger.com

painting: canyons

th_canyons.gif

I painted some early paintings in watercolors. Pencil sketch on textured watercolor paper, strathmore heavy duty, fairly small stuff – perhaps 8-1/2″ x 11 or 11″ x 17″. I would vidualize the painting, sketch it out, color and line it, at a single stretch of time.

The portfolio that held these was water-damaged in a storage shed in California after an earthquake. Somewhere along the line what was salvaged was set aside and lost

Canyons started out as a drawing in memory of a desert scene I had painted in watercolor and lost. Since the medium was oils, the painting evolved away from that, though the colors and the shading echo what I remember of those paintings.

Oil has more depth and translucency, just a very intense color. Even at brightest, the watercolors couldn’t hit these saturations.


details

canyons_0003_detail_1_160.JPGcanyons_0003_detail_2_160.JPGcanyons_0003_detail_3_160.JPGcanyons_0003_detail_4_160.JPG


— spence

artist@spencemunsinger.com
spencemunsinger.com