Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ida River

My latest painting was a commission for someone I know who lives in Washington state. The location is somewhere along the Ida River in Leavenworth, WA. I've never been to this location, but the person sent me a pretty nice photo to work from.

Ida River,river,forest,woods,douglas fir,stones,rocks,bald eagle,mountain,Leavenworth,WA,Washington
Ida River     18" x 24"

Ida River,river,forest,woods,douglas fir,bald eagle,Leavenworth,WA,Washington
Ida River - Detail
I added a couple of items that did not appear in the photograph -- two bald eagles! One is flying low over the river, looking for fish to capture and eat. A second eagle is lifting off from a distant tree, embarking on its own food-finding mission.

I hope the new owner will enjoy the painting for the rest of his life.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Springtime in the Mojave Desert

Springtime comes a little later in the high desert than it does in lower elevations. We're at about 3,000 ft. / 915m, so if you made several trips March - May from the lower desert (where, in some places, the elevation is near sea level) to the Mojave, you would see a progression of flowers working their way up. Except you'd also see different kinds of flowers!

Today for Cinco de Mayo, I took a fast trip through the higher areas of Joshua Tree National Park. I wish the sky would have stayed clear and blue, but sometimes, nature has its own schedule.

Still, the picture-taking was worth it. Sometimes, all I really need are visual notes on what is blooming and where. In some cases, I'll shoot details I might need to paint leaves and flowers up close -- then, the overcast skies can actually be helpful in lowering the contrast of the photos. And I have at least a gazillion or two photos of the Park with the lighting I prefer, but today's pictures add information that I may not already have!

These are a few of the 75 or so photographs I took today:

Joshua Tree National Park,Mojave desert,overcast,desert senna,flowers,wildflowers
Inside the west entrance to the Park

Joshua Tree National Park,Joshua trees,globe mallow,Mojave desert,flowers,wildflowers
Desert mallow in Lost Horse Valley

Joshuaa Tree National Park,Mouont San Jacinto,Mount San Gorgonio,Keys View,overcast
Near Keys View

Joshua Tree National Park,reptile,side-blotched lizard,rockMojave,desert
Side-blotched lizard

Joshua Tree National Park,horned lizard,desert,Mojave,horny toad
Horned lizard

Joshua Tree National Park,horned lizard,horny toad,Mojave,desert
Horned lizard, same specimen as above

Joshua Tree National Park,nolina,parry nolina,Mojave,desert,flowers,wildflowers
Parry nolina

Joshua Tree National Park,desert senna,Mojave,desert,flowers,wildflowers
View into Twentynine Palms

Joshua Tree National Park,Joshua tree,desert senna,hills,flowers,wildflowers
Near Twentynine Palms
I had a good time in the Park, but I simply MUST get me a walking stick -- probably a bamboo rod with rubber caps on each end. Unless I'm hiking on a mostly flat trail without lots of little ups and downs and having to step over things, my ancient knees tend to give out, and down I go!! This time I got a little more scraped up than usual, and I have a swollen area on one of my shins. NO MORE!! Walking stick, or give up hiking!!

Anyway, I hope your Cinco de Mayo was fun. Overall, mine was!


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day Celebration!

Today is Earth Day -- 22 April 2017. I'm glad this tradition has found an ongoing place for people to reflect on what we need to do to save the planet...and ourselves.

Every Earth Day, our little town has a celebration in the town's community center, with arts and crafts vendors, displays and info from environmental groups, music, face-painting and other fun and educational stuff. I decided I would do a little experiment and paint a bunch of little landscapes (6" x 6"/15cm x 15cm; and 4" x 4"/10cm x 10cm) and sell them with mini easels so they would be considered tabletop art instead of wall art (a common excuse is: we're out of wall space, no place to hang more art). And they would be very low-priced -- $25 for the 4x4s, $45 for the 6x6s.

This was how my setup looked at opening time:

Earth Day,paintings,miniature art,tiny paintings,art show

As you can see, I brought along a few framed wall-art pieces, too. Here are images of what the miniature paintings look like:

art,paintings,desert,landscape,Southwest,Joshua Tree National Park,wildflowers,flowers,desert cottontail rabbit,bunny,ocotillo
6" x 6"
art,paintings,desert,landscape,Southwest,Joshua Tree National Park,wildflowers,flowers,moon,moonlit,Arch Rock, Skull Rock
4" x 4"

Thankfully, the fee for showing was not very high -- selling just one 4x4 would cover that. Turns out -- I sold TWO 4x4s.

Another artist friend and I agreed -- this is why we don't like doing art shows anymore. Doing them can be quite expensive, one works one's rectum off getting ready, the artist can go through a lot of exhausting work just setting up and tearing down -- and the return for all this may well be zero or close to it.

So -- for whatever reason, these types of venues just don't work for me. I really don't understand why, and I don't feel like wasting the time or money on trying to figure out why.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Pastoral Landscape

I've sure gotten behind in my blogging!! Between being sick in March, finishing a painting, putting my 3" x 5" note cards together (see the previous post) and now preparing for a show next weekend, it's been a little crazy!

Well, here is the latest painting:

art,painting,meadow,trees,green,cattle,cows,Herefords,Black Angus,Hollsteins,river,creek,water,cow parsnip,wildflowers,clouds,distant mountains,traditional,classical realism
Pastoral Landscape                                18" x 24" / 46cm x 61cm
As you can see, I've depicted a small herd of mixed breeds of cows. One managed to cross the shallow river and is hoping others will follow her to the other side. The scene could be a pasture in the high country of Colorado; in fact, the painting was loosely inspired by the way the Double RL Ranch (Ralph Lauren's spread) looks near Ridgeway, CO.

I couldn't resist including some cow parsnip with the cows. This is the plant with the clusters of tiny white flowers. Apparently, some people are sensitive to this plant which can cause a severe poison ivy-type rash if one brushes up against it. (Apparently browsing herbivores can eat the stuff without toxic effects). Also, insects tend to avoid munching on cow parsnip, too.

I've been wanting to do a classically-styled landscape like this for a long time, and I've finally done it!


Mark Junge

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Note-able News

I just got over a cold that seems to be quite, uh, "popular" these days -- seems like EVERYone's got it!

But before I contracted the pestilence, I did manage to produce and deliver a set of 5" x 3" / 12.5cm x 7.5cm note cards to the Joshua Tree National Park Association that are now being offered in at least one of the Park's visitor centers. The cards feature an image of one of my paintings, Sentinels, include an envelope and are currently selling for $3.95 each. One of the park rangers informed me the cards are selling well!

notecard,note card,greeting card,Joshua Tree National Park,monzogranite rock formation,Mojave,desert,blue sky

The image features a painting I made in the early 1990s. This is a typical iconic view of what the Mojave desert portion of the Park looks like...I figured this might go over well with visitors to the park.
notecard,note card,greeting card,Joshua Tree National Park,monzogranite rock formation,Mojave,desert,blue sky

This is the display rack that holds my note cards in the Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms. For now, it's nestled among jars of scented candles!

I think -- but I'm not sure -- that all of the visitors centers will have the note cards available. That would be nice -- Park visitation has been increasing over the years, and the peak have just arrived with the profusion of desert wildflowers thanks to the generous rainfall we've received over the last few months!

GREAT news!!

Mark Junge

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What to Do, How to Do It

Whenever I start thinking about making money with art, I sometimes consider other styles I could pursue that may be more saleable in southern California while continuing with the ultra-traditional look I really love -- but painting those works for myself.

California impressionism is big in the Los Angeles area. Or: I could try a more abstract version of the desert scenes I love.

Then again, I've always liked the traditional Chinese watercolors of the huge mountains and forests, while somewhere in the view is a tiny human and/or shack, dwarfed by the magnificent scenery surrounding him or her.

I made some mockups of a painting I made years ago to see how it might look if painted in these other styles. My photo-editing software couldn't replicate the look I would create, especially as a Chinese watercolor. So I included an image of an actual watercolor that I would attempt to do as a desert landscape.

Joshua Tree,National Park,realism,impressionism,abstract,expressionism,traditional chinese watercolor
Sentinels in Various Computer-Generated Styles

Example of the Real Deal!

I haven't even mentioned the possibility of doing desert scenery as a surrealism image!

So -- which look would YOU most like seeing on your wall??

Monday, February 6, 2017

Bunnies Bunnies Bunnie Bunnies Everywhere

Most people I know have learned by now that I love bunnies. (Guinea piggies, too!) We have a pet bunny, but I love the wild desert cottontail bunnies that live outside, too. They're so cute. And adorable.

I do put food out for them every evening before sundown, along with chicken scratch for the quail (and other assorted birdies). I also give the bunnies sliced carrots or apple and some romaine lettuce.

The wild bunnies sort of / kind of trust me, but only to a point. When I go outside to feed them, they gather around, but they keep a safe distance from me -- usually. Normally, they "freeze" until I walk past them, then -- supposedly when I can't see them -- THEN they may move a bit away from me.

On occasion, a bold bunny will show up and take food from my fingers, then run off with the goodie to eat it.

In one case, I was able to help a critter I called the notch-eared bunny. S/he had a long cactus thorn stuck in its forehead. There were times it would get into a "boxing match" with another bunny -- common among disagreeing rabbits -- and the bunny with the thorn would scream because its opponent often hit the thorn and made it hurt more.

But because this particular bunny came up to me to take a goodie, I was able to pull the thorn out!

This is the notch-eared bunny (no thorn) coming to get an apple goodie:

desert cottontail rabbit,bunny,wild,hand-feeding

Sometimes it's fun to see how different bunnies interact with each other. I had missed an opportunity to get a picture of a blacktailed jackrabbit touching noses with a desert cottontail, but at least I did manage to take a pic of a baby (left) and adult (right) bunny together.

Desert cottontail rabbit,baby,adult,bunny,bunnies

I'll leave with a portion of lyrics from an old (1949) song by Spike Jones and His City Slickers, Ya Wanna Buy a Bunny? about someone with a Shirley Temple voice who apparently didn't know that bunnies totally understand multiplication:
Bunnies bunnies bunnies bunnies everywhere.
There's bunnies on the table and there's bunnies on the chair.
Bunnies on the sofa and there's bunnies on the floor.
And there's some new ones coming through the door. MORE!!