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

"What I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house."
― Edward Hopper

In Progress | Sunset #12

This is the underpainting for Sunset #12. Two routes this will end up going – I’m thinking that working with the texture of the canvas I might be able to scrape away and get the translucent canvas feel of the umbrella, the changes in light behind it. The other alternative would be to layer on the thread texture on top of thicker paint bringing through the sunset.

sunset #12 IP

Each painting presents its own problems – this one is communicating the coolness of shade, the heat just beyond in the sun, the sand and reflected light, and a sense of space despite the fabric in the way.

— spence

just do it, really, and a flyer

I followed an art newsgroup four or five years ago for about three weeks. This would be Usenet gathered by (which was purchased by google and morphed into google groups). I stopped following it. There was a HUGE amount of thought going into relatively little actual art. One girl was asking for opinions on a piece, and from her originations and replies, it sounded like she might produce three works in a year if she was extraordinarily productive. She had unbelievable angst and worry about this single piece, in which she had sold out for nudity, and was concerned about commercialism in it and the selling out in general.

I read newsgroups for writers and I find some of the same. Circle around the painting, the blank canvas long enough and it’s mimicking circling a drain. Circle around writing words on the page and there are no words on the page. Pro’s do stuff. They write or they paint. Angst and struggle and emotional terror, all of that is process, what comes up from the doing of, from placing paint on a surface, or words on a page, anyway. Wait to feel the urge or think and don’t do, nothing happens or much less happens.

I stopped following the artist group in fairly short order, because it concentrated on solving problems surrounding making art, rather than solving actual artistic creations, directions. There are distractions. They exist. I mostly paint or write anyway. If I produce art I am an artist. If I think about producing art, waiting for inspiration, that’s time that could have been more usefully spent putting paint on canvas.

I have one canvas in progress right now, three more set up to work, all three are blank canvases, but a commitment is made to what each will be. I’ll work Sunset #11, then once I reach a point where paint needs to dry, or where I feel like I have totally ruined the painting, go to Sunset #12, which is a sunset seen through and around an umbrella. That will be pastel drawing and fixative to airbrush undercoat to paint on canvas, and then sequences of problems to solve to get the painting through to done. Each painting is a refuge from the one before it, in case that one before stalls either from process (drying) or from process (discovering that it is NOT the worst thing I’ve ever committed to canvas, and actually works out well…).

One instructor, a pro painter, recommended not working on anything longer than a couple of hours, and to stay productive as an artist, painting many canvases in a process like this. I’ve altered that a bit – some sessions run hours longer, but only up to that moment of where the next actions are not obvious, and the painting needs to dry, and/or I need to step away. It works.

One of the-step-away-from-the-painting-before-you-get-hurt cycles I’ve been working through is a flyer to send out to galleries. Here’s the first draft…

flyer page one

flyer page two

The next problems to solve are paper stock – I used to have a custom paper house nearby, owned by a printer who dearly loved paper and rag content and linens and glossy stock were his passions. Staples somehow doesn’t match that, but I have a clear picture of the finish, surface, color, and quality of the stock that this should be on to make an effect.

Go forth and paint and solve other artistic issues. Make life and emotions solve themselves.

— spence

NEW WORK | Sunset #10 Along the Strand

Acrylic on canvas painted impasto and painting knife over airbrush,

Sunsets is an ongoing series. I am an Expat. Californian. These paintings come from a sense of immediate distance, of separation, of childhood for me. They are born from a clarity of color and light along warm sand and asphalt hot enough to burn the soles of the feet.

see About Sunsets for more detailed writings.

Along the Strand


— spence

NEW WORK | Sunset #9 | Manhattan Beach

This is acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 24″ x 1.5″. see about Sunsets

Manhattan Beach


— spence

NEW WORK | Sunset #8, Venice CA

Sunset #8. Wind blowing through the palms at the edge of the beach in Venice, CA.

see About Sunsets

sunset #8 Venice CA


works In Progress


A painting is very different from a photograph. I’ve read artists complaining that the images of their work don’t impact in the same way as the original painting. Nature of the medium. A photograph is a different view of the work.

I take promotional and documentary photographs on film of pieces as I complete them. Film give a resolution that when scanned allows prints at actual size without stretching the image capture. The roll holds ten shots. Two paintings only use 6 to eight of those. I usually try and take In Progress shots of some of the other works as possible.

Sometimes this changes how I see the work – the urban/abandoned moscow #3 below – that is much closer to done than I had realized.

And Venice (Sunset #8) – a photograph of that shows me what I have, and several areas that don’t work as yet. But in some ways better than I had in mind.

Some artists seem to think that only the final product should ever be seen and HOW should remain a complete mystery – I think the decisions are more mysterious – ANY of the decision points could go any direction – different color, different texture, different feel for it – and those are the mysteries.

sunset #8


moscow #3