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

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for."
― Georgia O'Keeffe

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.

 

hoppermovie

 

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.

 

vermeer_soldier

 

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.

 

Le-Mysere-Picasso-Clouzot

 

 

—spence

 

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…

photograph: chicago roof landscapes

chicago_roof_landscape_1_200.jpg

I stayed at the Palmer House hotel in downtown Chicago for several weeks.   The first night, my room was a 10′ x 12′ closet with a view of the ventilation shaft through the center of the building. I put up with that until, at 4:30 AM, the pipes in the wall started rattling and banging. The person next door or upstairs turned on the water, and I awoke after 5 hours of sleep.

I complained bitterly. I was moved to a suite at the front of the building, with a view across the rooftops.

Edward Hopper painted views like this, industrial cityscapes. Geometric forms and patterns, staircases and fire escapes, vents and windows, turrets and columns.

Photography is for me a way to capture ideas and forms and shapes. These aren’t crystal clear perfect photographs, but they are the forms and ideas for a (possible) painting or series. They were shot with a Canon 300D with an 18-55mm zoom, through a very dirty window, which I’ve compensated for.  The reflection of the glass is not entirely gone.

chicago_roof_landscape_2_200.jpg

I also shot another photograph looking out and down the side of the building…

chicago_street_below_200.jpg

At the corner below is the Dick Blick Art Supplies brick-and-mortar store, from which I had ordered for years over the internet.

The Palmer House hotel is right up the street from the Art Institute of Chicago.  The Art Institute has Edward Hopper’s oil painting Nighthawks.  The painting was displayed behind glass, in a room where there were reflections in the glass that made it difficult to see.  Still there was something connecting about seeing the original, seeing the canvas, the brush strokes in detail, feeling Hopper’s presence in front of the painting as he worked on it.   A print doesn’t capture it.  

Hopper's Nighthawks

 

—spence

artist@spencemunsinger.com
spencemunsinger.com