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

“Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.”
― Pablo Picasso

wolf kahn and color, rothko

 

I was searching for something about color and I ran across a statement in a forum, something like “if you want to see how to paints trees find a book by Wolf Kahn”. Further down in that newsgroup, someone else agreed that the was the path to follow.

I wasn’t researching trees, but I was curious – who? Wolf Kahn? Never heard of him. I looked for an example of his work and I was floored. His color work is just enlightening. Transcendent. Bright. Brilliant, and a little mad. His website is a microscopic flash presentation, done through his gallery. Despite that the images are extraordinary. I found a book of his work, ordered it, and when it arrived, I was struck by the evolution of this artist from the fifties through to his recent work. His color theory and the presence and tone of the colors used to create a warm feel or a cold feel, the evolution as you watch his work change and progress – a great colorist, hell, a great painter.

 

wolf kahn

 

The change over time in how Wolf Kahn approaches color and the origins of that sense of color and creation of abstraction shows me some methods of using color and of thinking about color that are very close to the conclusions I was reaching for already. And that is just very very cool. It jumpstarts the progression a couple of years or more for me forward.

Wolf Kahn is directly compared with the harmonies ( Sections of a Painting Like Passages in Music) of color in Mark Rothko’s painting. I had never connected with Rothko’s paintings – they didn’t click for me. Bring the color work from Kahn which works for me, subject and form and color, back from his ethereal landscapes to the simpler pure color work Rothko achieved and I see the genius I had not seen before. All of this is along the same path I was already following with color and form and perception of color.

marl rothko

Color as temperature, perception, emotional reaction alone, separate from form.

My first love in painting is color. Bright, brilliant color, color at the edge of what’s real. Stark raving color, actually. Color beyond the pale.

 

— spence

 

Dust of Everyday Living…

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
—Pablo Picasso

 

picasso at window

 

—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.

Brilliant.

 

— spence

artist@spencemunsinger.com
spencemunsinger.com

 

nude on a wet canvas…

I seriously thought about naming this weblog “nude on a wet canvas”. Mostly for traffic purposes. And, I love painting women. Representations of women on canvas, anyway. One of the joys of revisiting human anatomy, even in just the skeleton, is to realize the visual cues that communicate female versus male form. The ribcage is smaller, the bottom of the ribs farther from the top of the pelvic girdle, the sacrum, the bone at the back of the pelvis, is relatively wider, the hipbones thus are set further apart, and shoulders only slightly wider than the breadth of pelvis. All of that combines into a very different stance and musculature.

Art is an excuse for artists to communicate and bring into view the beauty and sensuality possible in human form. For instance, Juan Francisco Casas, “I love art”:

I Love Art

There are more subtle visions…

the table

Sex is search on the internet, and the title alone guarantees this post an audience. A weblog titled “nude on a wet canvas” wouldn’t communicate all the emotions I’d like to communicate in painting, though. Painting nudes is not always an asset, hanging them on the wall isn’t always polite. Some people are shocked or put off rather easily. They look at you funny, they miss the compelling beauty and just see you as… Somehow wrong for finding and creating beauty. Any communication on the internet has potential to hang around a very very long time, and should be made with some care.

I met an artist in Los Angeles. She had recently married a professor. I looked around her house, now their house, a 1930’s hillside bungalow with a turquoise iron tube railing on the balconies. The walls were covered with her work, very beautiful and very explicit line drawings in large scale on canvas, of oral sex and copulating figures. They were a flourish of lines over muted color, simple, picasso. They were subtle in that you had to look to perceive the subject was sex. Without looking with intensity and careful perception they were background.

She was stopping that kind of art, she said. Her husband’s career would not be furthered by her painting and drawing along this vein. You could see in her voice and in her eyes though that she was feeling it as a loss. She would do it for him. But she would regret it, and I’m not sure a civilian, a non-artist, will understand what a sacrifice that is. Any creative line needs to be nurtured, and for the spirit of the artist to survive he/she need to follow it as far as it goes. Stop it, change it, and the total creative output of that artist is permanently less.

Artists and nudity. Artists and a relationship with their models. Picasso. A lifetime of tension between an artist and the women he painted. Which came first, the penis or the paintbrush? Several years ago I read an article about some famous actor’s son who was painting women in Hollywood, he would have been in his mid-twenties – and a quote from one of the women who had him paint her – “He understands how a woman wants to be perceived…” Yeah, sure. That’s sex, or the whisper of sensuality that is potential sexual tension.

Le rêve, Pablo Picasso, 1934

Picasso painted portraits and images of women. Many other images too, but a constant thread was the female form. Some clothed, some unclothed, some in between.

Andrew Wyeth – a secret relationship with a model, for fourteen years (fourteen years!), his wife doesn’t know he’s painted her, her husband doesn’t know – that shared secret alone is an intimacy. The expression and sensuality in those paintings – doesn’t matter whether Andrew did or didn’t boink the woman, spiritually, in the images he created of her, he loved and cherished her, and I’m pretty sure his wife took quite a while to reconcile this. If she ever did.

The girl:

On Her Knees

and the wife:

Magas Daughter

I love painting women. There is something truly wonderful about how they are put together and how they move. Any tribute to art and women must include Frank Frazetta… He produces the most wonderfully sexual, powerful, compelling fantasy women.

Frazetta woman Frazetta woman too

Edward Hopper married an artist – Jo Hopper, also an artist. She never allowed him to use another woman as a model. She was the only one. Smart woman.


— spence

artist@spencemunsinger.com
spencemunsinger.com

 


from Moonlighting:

David: You’re repressed or obsessed or one of those “essed” words. Every time something comes up that involves men or sex or…

Maddie: “Boinking?” Is that the word you’re looking for?

David: See what I mean? That’s not normal.

Maddie: I’m supposed to sit here and discuss my mental health with a man who refers to the act of human procreation as boinking?

Go back…

juan francisco casas

Juan Francisco Casas


I was re-creating linkage, and added several artists. Kimberly Brooks I’ve written of. Juan Francisco Casas I have not.

One of the tests for me of great art, art that to me is great, is a test of time.

Picasso said, roughly, if you want a painting to disappear, hang it on a wall. [1] My own work – if I live with a painting for a time and it disappears, it may be very good, but for me personally it is not great.   If that time passes and I still look with the same wonder and see new things in it, then it is great art. To me.  I’m not sure the judgement of a museum or time or history is as valid as that personal connection.  I’m pretty sure some great artists are remembered, and also very certain that there are many more who were NOT conserved, whose work was and is treasured, but never became known or valued.   Hell, look at what we dig up from past civilizations – or even everyday objects that are isolatedly beautiful.

I ran across an article on Juan Casas perhaps five months ago.  Hmm, nice stuff, great idea, very interesting.  Move along, nothing more to see.

A couple of days later, I remembered the images. I found Casas’s website.  Very nice stuff.

I’ve found the images stay with me.  They stand at least this much test of time.  They are compelling.  Not just the blue ball point medium, the images, the photographs he choses to work with.  He is capturing the look of a generation of time, quick snapshots of a digital existence.  Snapshots from the sixties have a definitive look, black and white from the forties and fifties another distinctive caste, and kodachrome from the fifties, oh boy.

political views, work from Juan Casas

In searching for the source, the Daily Mail article I originally saw, I found hundreds of articles – it seems many, many other people think well of this work too. I would consider this the kind of work that would only with difficulty for me disappear when hung on a wall, and would compel me to look at the images again and again.  Classic.  Great art.

It has for me a personal connection.  I loved drawing and shading with Parker Ball Jotters when I was growing up.  I had tried Papermate, BIC, Schaeffer.  I am left-handled.  If you are not, you don’t know how critical it is that the ink dry before your hand passes over it.  Many many pens, BIC especially, smear and quickly turn your little finger a deep blue on the side… Parker ink dried quickly, and had a softer blue at the time than the rest of the pens.  It made a very clean, crisp line, causing contours in shading to stand out.  I might not have had access to art supplies all the time, but I could always draw and sketch on plain white paper with a blue ball pen.

It’s not the medium that will be timeless.  It’s the images.


— spence

artist@spencemunsinger.com spencemunsinger.com


[1]The exact quote is from Picasso In His Words edited by Wakabayashi, pg. 6 at the second paragraph: “If you want to kill a picture,” Picasso once said, “all you have to do is to hang it beautifully on a nail and soon you will see nothing of it but the frame.”  go back to article

kimberly brooks, technicolor summer

There is a writer, a blogger I’ve been following. An artist. Her articles, interviews and postings are well worth finding and reading. There is a page, firstpersonartist.com, which lists and promotes the articles in and of themselves.

Brooks’ personal site is www.kimberlybrooks.com. She is currently doing an exhibition titled “Technicolor Summer”. Lasts until 14th June. Worth seeing.

I was struck by the work. Kimberly Brooks directly promotes other artists in her articles. If she promoted herself, I missed it.

She’s very good. The images are really extraordinary. They have a heat in color and a translucence. The forms and shapes find a feeling of an idyllic Hockney Southern California painting, but they go beyond that to hit a higher note. A bit more abstract, the forms feel less drawn, more solid, and the abstractions ring true and correct. I think they are well worth seeing. I hope she follows this vein for awhile, I’d like to see what else comes from it.

— spence

artist@spencemunsinger.com
spencemunsinger.com