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

Painting-a-Day… Or not. 365 Paintings.




The game would be to complete, write about and offer for auction one painting each day. That’s the concept.

<p.It's been valuable as hell to look at painting from the viewpoint of targeting a specific production. It has meant focus, streamlining the time spent making art to result in more work completed. It forced me to look in detail at the ritual and process I follow right now to produce paintings that work for me as art. To make faster where possible, but also to dig in in my own mind and refuse to change that which is important to making the art I want to make.

I could certainly produce a painting a day each and every day, but if I measure only against that, and not also against the quality of communication and emotion that is why art has impact and importance, none of those paintings-in-a-day matter.

I looked at tools and process and I found some changes that work. The multiple easel panel works. So does the single tripod easel for working through an individual painting where more isolated attention and focus is needed to bring a painting through to the other side and completion.

I also looked at Painting-a-Day practitioners, for style and content and consistency. There is some beautiful work being done daily. It’s direct, it’s detailed and it follows process that fits within Painting A Day.

What am I doing as a painter, and what is part of that ritual and process and what is not? Where can I make streamlined and efficient without affecting that, and where does it break for me if changed at all?

If Painting-A-Day is the intention to produce a painting a day but not necessarily the actuality, or if Painting-A-Day is painting every day, but not necessarily a completed painting each and every day, cool. But, I don’t think it is, really. That’s not what it says it is. Both measure a day against a clock and not against the work itself, and if the work takes longer, then it fails to meet that test. So… Instead of making time the delimiting power, and falling short with paintings NOT showing up against that external measure, how about counting a year as 365 paintings… Outside of the time click of the clock.

My next “year” will be 365 paintings long. Each “day”, at the end, I will have a painting. Period. The day does not end without that. Thus, a Painting, a Day.




Paper Camera (IOS App)

Paper Camera. Best app ever. “Comic Boom” creates a beautifully simplified comic-book version of a photo, really well executed.


Paper Camera, Comic Boom effect, airport (bag)





This was at the airport boarding a plane. And then we have domestic scenes (cat):


Paper Camera, Comic Boom effect, Cat & Kitchen











The app is simple, occasional crashes seem resolved by restarting and don’t happen very often. I can do the same thing in light room, but it takes way more computing power and Topaz Labs Simplify plugin to do it. This is a brilliant simple conceptualization of seeing…




pay me or the painting gets it…

Blazing Saddles, Cleavon Little’s Sheriff Bart threatens his own self with his own gun, holding himself hostage while he drags (himself) out of a confrontation with the townsfolk…

Sheriff Bart

Blazing Saddles, Cleavon Little

[Townspeople drop their guns. Bart jams the gun into his neck and drags himself through the crowd towards the station]
Harriet Johnson: Isn’t anybody going to help that poor man?
Dr. Sam Johnson: Hush, Harriet! That’s a sure way to get him killed!
Bart: [high-pitched voice] Oooh! He’p me, he’p me! Somebody he’p me! He’p me! He’p me! He’p me!
Bart: [low voice] Shut up!
[Bart places his hand over his own mouth, then drags himself through the door into his office]

I had a thought. From the pattern I’m following to create work and make it have a market, I could have several hundred paintings, all of which have been offered for sale, and none of which have been bid on as yet. I held an artistic practice, and nobody showed up. Not impossible at all, and a deep fear.

What do I do? Keep painting, ignore the complete lack of sales and watch the paintings mount up in storage? Or threaten to destroy a painting a week until someone buys one. At a specific number of accumulated works – say, 240 paintings.

Just like Sheriff Bart…




Painting is movement, rhythm…

I uploaded a background image to twitter today. I was struck by the movement and the flow of the eye across the suddenly abstract forms and shapes of the painting.


twitter background

spence munsinger twitter background

I know what the painting looks like from further back. All of my work lately loses definition and becomes much more abstract as you get closer. Each painting is an assemblage of gestural forms that at distance align and create an image, but up close they drop back to simplicity and color and movement and, well, gesture.

Here’s the painting on its own:

Sunset #23 | Off State Street

Sunset #23 | Off State Street

There’s line and form present, but up close it gets lost and dissolves into simpler forms.


Painting-a-Day | easels and travel

Painting-a-Day will require re-thinking my studio setup and daily ritual, and add an artistic practice capability even when travelling.

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

Ideally I’d like to go anywhere and effectively be able to keep up a consistent continuous artistic practice.

I’ve been using a Klopfenstein Pro 100 Metal Easel since 2007, and it has been outstanding. It weighs about 80 lbs and is rock solid with just about any size canvas. It doesn’t travel, it stays in the studio.

I’ve had a Stanrite #500 Aluminum easel, since about 2009, as a more portable option. It folds down, but it is still long for putting into a piece of luggage for travel. And it is wobbly, in the way it supports canvases. Useful for varnishing, not for painting. I find the instability distracting and disconcerting.

I had a Julian French Easel. I set it up once, put it aside, set it up when I photographed it to sell, and mostly found it too cumbersome and space consuming to actually be useful. I don’t want to paint in the open air – I want controlled lighting and air-conditioning or heating and no insects sticking in the paint and music, lots of music. But i do want a setup I can take with me on an airplane, if I’m going to paint a Painting-a-Day.

I have a Manfroto studio tripod and a very good Benro MeFoto travel tripod – so pochade or plein air eseal seems to be a good fit for me. I need both an easel to travel and a couple of easels to set up in the studio to make the painting process more flowing.

I looked at Guerilla Boxes, the Coulter Plein Air System, the Craftech Sienna Plein Air Pochade system, table top sketchbox easels, Open Box M, Alla Prima Pochade, and the Soltec easel, with a view toward portable studio rather than plein air paintings.

I love the design of the Coulter Plein Air System – with exceptions. It looks like the tripod attachment is a 1/4-20 T-Nut – the stress on that small point is huge, better would be a plate with a 1/4-20 thread, similar to that used on the Craftech Sienna and the Guerilla Box Pochade. I would also change the support to have a wedge “V” shape toward the inside and a sharp trapezoid point on the outside – the trapezoidal point would grab the interior frame of canvas or wood support, the “V” would grab and support panels of varying thickness. And I would (will!) make the supports to be wide, say 5″. The hinges on the palette box should be through-bolted (can’t tell from the photos), and the latch would need to be more substancial… I would (will!) also make the tripod leg support section, that wraps around the tripod legs, adjustable. Sigh. I think I’ve talked myself into building a couple of these to try out these ideas.

I sent back the Craftech Sienna – nice, very pretty, but too much like furniture, not substancial enough to survive over the long haul. I will use the tripod leg support design (adjustable) for my home build easel palette table.

And if all of this works out I’ll need another Benro tripod


peace to paint

It takes a certain amount of peace and a sense of tranquility and stability to work over time on a painting…  

I’ve recently finished three paintings. The fourth and fifth are in progress, but I’ve been somewhat consumed by remodeling our home. First by a contractor who made my life much harder rather than easier, and then by the remainder of the project as we contract out smaller pieces of it, and do quite a bit on our own.

I love tools and I love the creativity of envisioning a piece opf architecture and then bringing it into being. The smell of sawdust is amazing, brings back many many memories.

My first connection with my father was supposed to be washing the car when I was 7 – but I leaned over the hood of his charcoal grey Porsche 356 with a belt buckle on to polish the middle of the hood. I revealed the original baby blue paint. I didn’t wash that car again.

In my teens I worked with my father on his home, rebuilding kitchens, discovering that mechanical systems were not that difficult to grasp conceptually, and discovering stresses and structure and design and tradition. Most framing carpenters don’t necessarily grasp the full depth of the structure they are building to plan – they get it when they have seen a structure fall over or fail in some way – but they basically follow the plans and fill in the gaps with tradition. Spacing studs at 16″ on center. 4″x4″ for a 4′ opening, 8″x8″ for an 8′. Fireblocking. Many, many of the items not explicitely covered by the architects plans are resolved by the builders and the framers and the inspectors by tradition and hard-won knowledge.

When you are the homeowner, you have to deduce what the arhcitect envisioned and what the bulder filled in. You discover where, 80 years later, the design fell short. That remodeling was my first bonding with my father.

The last few months I spent with my brother before his sudden passing was remodeling a bathroom. We sorted out plumbing that my then-brother-in-law endangered the house with, and moved the small room at the end of the hall to a fully functional and to-code bathroom.

So I love building. But – there aren’t enough hours, and with the disruption caused by the construction and the demands of other peoples schedules, there just isn’t the space to move a painting forward. There’s a continuity of vision, a flow of production and feeling that has to occur. It hasn’t. It will.

Here’s the painting on the easel, viewed, waiting:


7th Street Access

7th Street Access