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

"You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea..."
― Pablo Picasso

Video | How I Painted "A Chair in the Sun"

 

[responsive_youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkMdonuFaQU?rel=0]

 

There isn’t any audio in this, just the progression from photographs I made of the painting at the end of each session. Each progression shows for six seconds. This starts with the photograph I took to capture the light across the chair.

I’m curious as hell about process, especially my own. I document my painting as a matter of course. I photograph each evening after finishing a session on a painting. I watch the process and the ritual I use to get painting to occur and to find the Flow and the Zone that makes art not just a workmanlike activity for me, but magical and wondrous. It’s very much conscious, the process and the ritual, but the decisions made as a painting comes together are so quick and sure and unseen entirely at a conscious level, that to me, even under my hands, it’s extraordinary magic.

Whether it’s great or good or not is separate. It’s that the painting is right first, that it’s an accurate bringing into being of the concept and the emotion and the moment I had in my mind. Once it translates into the world, those other criterion and judgements are separate and apart.

 

— spence

 

muse-ic: Halie Loren

Halie Loren

Halie Loren’s voice is ethereal, deep, classic, classical, sensual, soothing and jarring in turns.

I was listening to Aaron Neville, who feels the lyrics and then expresses that feeling directly in the gestures of his voice, many that do not follow the tune, but create rhythm or space in a way that works. Halie does this too. Brilliant stuff.

 

— spence

 

Easel Panel – Three to Four Painting Surfaces At Once

 

easel

 

I wanted a way to efficiently work with multiple canvases at the same time. After thinking about it and sketching several versions and measurements, I defined requirements…

    I wanted:

 

  • able to handle 12″ x 16″ canvases or panels in either vertical or horizontal placement
  • able to handle 9″ x 12″ canvases or panels in either vertical or horizontal placement
  • remove the need to add wood struts to inside of top and bottom of canvases or panels to elevate and paint edges
  • handle seven canvases or more at the same time
  • hangable on the wall in the space I have (better painting handling for smaller canvases)
  • sufficient space around each individual canvas on the panel to work with edges and top and bottom without feeling cramped

 

I love wood, and I have some Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) wood scraps left over from a furniture project. I build and built cabinetry and furniture and I have tools… To do this I used a Porter-Cable plunge base router, a 1/4″ straight carbide bit, a Ryobi cabinet table saw system for dimensioning lumber, a Dewalt 12″ Surfacing Planer to smooth and clean and dimension hardwood, a Porter-Cable pancake compressor and a Porter-Cable 18 guage pin nail gun and hose, 5/8″ nails, Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue, spray clear satin lacquer, a paint respirator (lacquer is EXTREMELY toxic), a Milwaukee Cordless 3/8 drill and batteries, Milwaukee drill bits, a General Drill Guide. That last drill guide is often useful – I build a block jig that holds the material in place, screw the guide onto that block jig, and can drill consistent centered holes over and over, in this case through the blocks that hold the canvases in place.

The panel itself was pre-cut 1/2″ birch 24″ x 48″ panel. Pre-cut because I didn’t want to handle a full sheet, I thought it would be faster to do it pre-cut this time, it probably would have been about the same in hindsight.

Here’s the easel panel (Klopfenstein easel NOT built from scratch for this project):

 

 

—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

xmind

xmind logo

Xmind is a mind-mapping software I found through a serendipitous train of thought and action.

I was working through Ariane Goodwin’s Writing the Artist Statement. She talks about clustering or mind-mapping as loading your right brain – or left brain. I can’t remember which – I am left-handed and right/left don’t work for me without conscious thought. She talked about working through it on paper. I’m a computer-oriented rather than paper-oriented process person. I went looking for mind-mapping software, preferably open-source, preferably free, and preferably running on Linux and Windows, since I find my self using both.

To quote from a section of the book “Writing the Artist’s Statement”:

“Clustering is a right brain, learning technique pioneered in the 1970s by Tony Buzan in Using Both Sides of Your Brain. Instead of using linear outlines and sequential data, he theorized that learning works best when we organize material the same way the brain organizes information, with neural pathways branching off of central points. The idea caught on, and now we don‘t think twice about dividing learning strategies into right and left-brain styles. Clustering has also been called spider webbing or mapping, and is often used to order ideas generated in a brainstorming session.”

Do’oh. Right brain… I knew that.

That willingness to see if I could find a tool for the computer to work with the technique led me to Xmind. It worked brilliantly for the exercises from the book, pushing them forward quite a bit. I am close to an artist’s statement that actually communicates effectively what I am doing right now. Once I got beyond those exercises, I continued playing with Xmind and the mapping techniques, creating a map of tasks, basically a map of my life and purposes. From that, I started using sections within the map. It has separate sheets, like in Excel – where you have a workbook and then at the bottom you can present data differently on tabbed “sheets”. Same metaphor, but without a rigid cell structure in each sheet.

The Xmind map allows a non-linear presentation – like brainstorming, but with the ability to place order intuitively as you discover or realize pieces of the process.

xmind workbook

I work this way, fluidly. I am not disorganized, if anything, I am more organized in process. Without the process, following trains of thought creatively never results in actual painting, actual product. But within that process I require a constant adjustment, re-evaluation of importance and direction, a maintaining of mementum.

The rigid structure of Excel never worked for me, and endless lists ala Getting Things Done or before that 7 Habits worked, but were heavy and ponderous, even with a computer. Re-ordering and rediscovery or adding newly found tasks wasn’t flowing even in a text editor on a computer. Xmind allows that discovery. It allows changing the whole map structure on a whim to a tree or a logic chart and then back, coloring for emphasis or intuitive grasp of importance. It’s become a favorite tool.

I would highly recommend Ariane’s book as well.

spence