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

"I hate flowers - I paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move. ”
― Georgia O'Keeffe

bracelet…

When my daughter was about 12 years old, she came out to stay with me on the East Coast. She brought a book she had made. It was “How much my Dad has given me.” She gave me credit for inspiring her, for showing her how to make a life, for loving her and for always caring. I was in tears reading it. Thank you, Ashlyn.

At 23, she spent a year dying of leukemia. She was 6 days short of a year after diagnosis when she passed away. She lost the ability to concentrate long enough to read. Writing was extremely painful. When not painful, pain meds made it very hard to find any focus. She took photographs, on walks around the hospital grounds. Pieces of the world, captured by an artistic soul, small moments of sharing, with her, her view of the universe.

 

 

When Ashlyn was 19, I gave her a simple silver bracelet. On the outside it said, “When I let go of what I am…”, and on the inside, “I become what I might be.” Shortly after she passed away, I found out it was a treasured possession, that she had worn it all the time. It was bent a bit and well worn. It had meant a lot to her. Way beyond what I was aware of. Like when she was 12 and gave me the book, I was overwhelmed. Overjoyed that it meant so much, deeply saddened by losing her. The last photo I have of my daughter before she went back into the hospital the final time is a silhouette against the night sky and the ocean, as she took a picture with her iphone.

 

 

She managed to hit me hard emotionally by her actions, especially hard once she was gone. I didn’t know she loved and wore the bracelet until after her death, I had not noticed it on her wrist. The last year of her life I spent more time with her than most of the five years before that, but she was wearing no jewelry. She manages to impact me emotionally with the fact of her wearing it, similar to that book she gave me at age 12, which floored me. I just got blind-sided by the deep well of emotion – gratefulness that I was able to be there for her and be part of her life and a huge despair and grief that I could not communicate more and be present more for her than I was… The bracelet was perhaps the ultimate. I had no idea it meant anything to her.

Bracelet and Beads

 

— 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

Ashley Lyn, you are loved and you are missed…

leaf at st josephs by ashley lyn
Leaf at St. Joseph’s Hospital by Ashley Lyn Munsinger

When Ashley was born, on a bright day in July,
her nickname was immediately “Bug,”
as in “cute as a bug.”

I went in to watch her sleep in her crib almost every night after we brought her home.
I watched her very small chest rise and fall.
That was a miracle.

Having this child meant being completely vulnerable to the whims of the universe.

I cast hope out into the future.
I get to watch over her and love her, forever.

When she was about three Ashley got quieter and quieter over several days.
Her doctor said she had pneumonia
and was hours from needing admittance to a hospital.

She got better.
But she scared me.

She rode her bike without training wheels in Lake View Terrace, CA.
She helped me build a coffee table in Boulder CO.
She sledded down the hill with our dog Samantha at the house in Milford MA.

She was golden blonde,
sunshine
and warmth.

She faded the winter she spent in Massachusetts,
so I sent her back to California.

Ashley traveled through Europe when she was fifteen.
She determined that Corfu was her favorite place on the planet.
She talked about that trip for years…

“When I was in France…”

Ashley studied International Business in New York City
She found she hated it.
She discovered space and color and form and balance and function.
She studied Interior Design, and she found she loved it.

She got quiet once again, this time over several months.
She was admitted to the hospital and we got word that she had leukemia.

By the time I got across the country from Boston to Los Angeles,
Ashley was on a ventilator and could no longer speak.

All of us,
all of you,
family and friends,
came together
and somehow we got her through the worst two months ever.

At the lowest point in that February I was holding Ash’s hand,
feeling the warmth of her still presence,
accepting each moment as a gift.

That diagnosis
and then that reality,
cancer patient,
Ash just accepted.

She looked ahead with true courage at each point in her journey
and asked,
“What next?”

Ashley knew she was dying that last week.
She found
the rare gift
in that
rather than the despair of it,
that ending.

I tried to find everything I needed to say to her, as her dad, as someone responsible for her and to her.
I came close enough.

She managed a death
at peace
and without despair or anxiety.

Her passing on was with eyes wide open.
She said “It’s over…”
and she meant this life, this struggle.

And then she asked
“What’s next?”
and she went on.

An expansion of being, rather than in any way diminished.

This breath holds the spirit to the body.

And so it was.
Ash let go
and the breath stopped.

ash at her birthday
July 2nd 1986 – 3rd January 2011

I will always miss her presence here.

koi pond by Ashley Lyn
Koi Pond at St. Joseph’s Hospital by Ashley Lyn Munsinger