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

the hand…

hand skeleton

This stuff is so cool.

Knuckles are the rounded distal (distant from the center of body) end of the metacarpals number 2 through 5… The phalanges (bones of the finger) are boxes at the base, articulating on a spool-shaped surface – thus they hinge rather than allow a broad range of motion. The length of the middle finger is equal to the distance across the metacarpals 2 through 5… The proximal phalanx is roughly equal to the middle and distal phalanges… The thumb is close to (but not exactly) 90 perpendicular to the rest of the structure.

— spence

artistic anatomy

I’ve been going through Human Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of Form by Eliot Goldfinger. Truly an amazing book. A very tough slog through. I have to take each sentence, piece it apart. For example:

section from artistic anatomy

Understandable, one word and one piece at a time, then one sentence. Eventually you arrive at a conceptual understanding of the underlying structure to humans. The structure of the shoulders – suspended from the top of the breastbone is the sequence of clavicle to shoulder blade to upper arm to radius/ulna articulation with the wrist (carpus). The suspension of the entire shoulder and arm structure off that on bony point of contact, clavicle to manubrium (top section of breastbone) – that is amazing. The rotation of the scapula (shoulder blade) to point almost vertically when the arm is raised to point overhead. The immovable ulna and the oblique rotation of the radius, the support of the wrist and hand – these are amazing from an engineering point of view, just elegant solutions to motion and structure.

Frank Frazetta had a story that in one of his first jobs, the editor told him he needed to learn anatomy, so he took a book on it home, came back the next day (point of exaggeration? maybe…). He said ok, I have anatomy. He wasn’t believed, so he drew a few figures to show it. That’s the story. Looking at the figures he paints, the exact motion, the exaggeration of musculature, I can see the underlying understanding of structure – however he achieved it. That’s worth achieving.

savage pellucidar

This kind of imagery makes struggling through sentence after sentence of dense description of underlying structure well worth it.

This painting was originally beautifully reproduced in a book issued by Ballantine Books around 1975 called The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta. I read a copy of the book, Savage Pellucidar, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, when I was 12 or so – his cover art is just amazing, and reproduced on its own in a higher quality was visually and viscerally stunning. Found this image at Stainless Steel Droppings archive article.

— spence