Monday, March 5, 2018

New Painting of Joshua Tree National Park

At long last, I finally finished another painting of Joshua Tree National Park, CA: one of my favorite places on earth!

Mojave,desert,California,CA,Joshua trees,Joshua Tree National Park,gneiss,mountainsunset,sundown,clouds,cloud shadows,orange,blue

So far, the painting is untitled -- but I hope to remedy that situation soon. Size is 11" x 14" / 28cm x 36cm.

The hill-mountain in the background is one of the many formations in the Park that was never named. But I love all of the many peaks it has, and it seems to be my favorite mountain there. I've painted it before from various angles -- this version is the frontal-most I've done so far. More to come I suspect.

The rocks are made of gneiss ("nice") which often look like a HUGE dump truck came along and unloaded rocks and boulders into an enormous pile. Little large plant life occurs on these hills except for some grasses and such. This mountain has a few Joshua trees on the very top of the hill toward the right -- there must be some loose soil there for the JTs to take root and grow.

And, of course, I included a desert cottontail bunny-rabbit hiding in the shadows.

This is one of those scenes that, frankly, was kind of pain to create -- lots of detail. But in the end, I couldn't have done it any other way!

Mark Junge

Monday, February 12, 2018

Glen Eyrie, Garden of the Gods, Colorado

Glen Eyrie, Garden of the Gods, Colorado is both the title of this blog post and, more importantly, the title of a painting by my #1 art hero, 19th century artist Thomas Moran.

art,painting,Thomas Moran,Glen Eyrie,Colorado,CO,red sandstone,red rock,classical realism,landscape,Echo Rock
Glen Eyrie, Garden of the Gods, Colorado
The painting is an impressive 36" x 50" (91cm x 127cm).

I had several opportunities to see it when we lived in Colorado Springs, CO in the 1990s. The piece was acquired by someone who made a deal with the city to make improvements in Garden of the Gods park in exchange for exclusive rights to operate a gift / souvenir shop.

Glen Eyrie is privately-owned and includes the view in the artwork. The Garden of the Gods appears in the distance, with Cheyenne Mountain forming the backdrop. (I believe the spire is called Echo Rock).

The painting was displayed in a couple of sites in Colorado Springs, and I made it a point to visit this gem as often as I could in April, 1999. I fell in love with the painting immediately, and the effect hasn't worn off after all these years.

Echo rock,photography,Glen Eyrie,Garden of the Gods,Colorado Springs,CO,Colorado,red sandstone,spire
Echo Rock, Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Then, just recently, I stumbled across a photo of the area, shown above. Comparing this image with the painting, Moran essentially rendered the scene accurately, but with a few changes. Ol' Tom also added his magical lighting and colors, making the end product irresistible to guys like me!

I expect it's just a matter of time before I paint my own version of this special place -- hopefully without making it look like I totally ripped off Moran's treatment of Glen Eyrie. But it'll be similar, I'm sure.

Mark Junge


Friday, January 19, 2018

"Jurassic Mark"

Who, you may ask, is Jurassic Mark?

Why, that would be ME, of course! It's a name I created for myself after the movie, Jurassic Park came out, and I couldn't resist the play on words. It's even more appropriate when I talk about how incredibly OLD I am! I love to talk about what a Jurassic-aged dinosaur I am, that I'm 150 million years old, and that I love to chase after humans to catch and eat them.

It's fun for me, and I guess the scientist in me enjoys it, too. But as an artist, there's another, additional reason for the dino-handle.

Compare and contrast these two images.

Joshua trees,Joshua Tree National Park,goldenbush,rock formation,monzogranite,flowers,blue sky

The top image is one of my paintings of Joshua Tree National Park. The lower picture is of a poster that was obviously intended to promote the Park.

I work in a very traditional, 19th century style -- I'm not sure if I can honestly call the look "classical realism" or not, although that is my goal in the artwork I make.

On the other hand, the poster has a much more contemporary look, with zonking bright colors and less detail. I've seen paintings by living artists who produce paintings even more colorful and "loose" than the poster.

If you were to go to Google Images and search for "joshua tree paintings," you would find lots more colorful, impressionistic paintings than you would find traditional works like mine. Not that I'm the only one who paints like this, but we seem to be in a vast minority of artists who prefer that look.

Thus -- another dinosaur metaphor. I often feel like I live and work in the past and am somewhat outdated by painters who create in a more colorful, popular way. I know it ain't as simple as that, but it does make me feel like I don't belong in this century, at least as far as art is concerned.

I think I'll go foraging for humans now. You critters aren't the best-tasting meat source around, but you're easy to catch, and I love the way you scream and though that's going to help you. 😄

Mark Junge


Monday, January 8, 2018

Yucca Valley

Yucca Valley is the name of the town where I hang out a lot, and it's also the title of a new painting (the last from 2017):

Joshua tree,Joshua trees,desert,;andscape,flowers,wildflowers,jackrabbit,Mount,Mt San Gorgonio,Yucca Valley,Mojave,desert
Yucca Valley              18" x 24" / 46cm x 61cm
This scene is close to, but not in, Joshua Tree National Park in southern California. Yucca Valley is a small community -- but not as small as it used to be -- and still has areas of "wildness" that are suitable for paintings. ☺

All the wildflowers are courtesy of the heavy rains we received in the winter of 2017 -- it's rare that we see this much color concentrated in a small area. Mt. San Gorgonio looms in the distance.

And I actually did see a jackrabbit out there, although I brought him/her in closer and is running to the left instead of the right. Apparently, I got too close to it, and it ran as fast as it could to escape my questionable "deadly" clutches and flee to safety. Then it stopped to see if I was following. (I wasn't!)

Sadly, this spot is within a 55-acre parcel that has been for sale for a number of years. I expect it's only a matter of time before some developer will buy this land and convert it into housing. And everything you see in the painting will be gone except San Gorgonio, which will be hard to find through the haze of rooftops.

For now, all I can do is paint special places like this. And to remember that "this, too, shall pass." As everything does.

Mark Junge

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Party's Over (for Me)!

Well, I guess the party's over.

For me, it starts sometime in September as we edge into fall, then it's reinforced by Halloween and
Thanksgiving. Then Christmas is the climax of the entire season. And when Christmas is over, I tend to drop into sort of a funk.

All the decorations, the excitement of the fall and Christmas seasons, the music and imagery -- all come to an end. New Years isn't a big deal to me -- I'm not a party-er, and nowadays I don't want to go anywhere on New Years Eve anyway -- there are too many drivers who haven't heard not to drink and drive. If life is survival of the fittest, maybe nights like this select out the humans who just don't get it. Harsh, but true.

There was so much I wanted to get done while doing them at a relaxed pace. Didn't happen. If I want to make any paintings depicting the autumn and Christmas holidays, I probably should paint them during the first 8-9 months of the year and be done by the particular holidays I'm showing.

So I'll begin 2018 thinking about medical and dental procedures that need to be done fairly soon -- YUCK! But I'll continue painting, too, and I may even get some commissions for artwork showing the beautiful Morro Bay, CA and the central California coastline.

Maybe 2018 won't be so bad after all!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Here We Are in December!

Well, Christmas is just a few weeks away, and Hanukkah is next week! It's almost time to wrap up another year.

So -- what have I accomplished/

Not much, as it turns out. I'm still running on low energy, and if it wasn't for the fact that I'm a painter, I think I'd be content just to stare out the living room window at our little piece of the Mojave Desert.

But I am actually working on a painting! Not very fast, mind you, but I AM working on one.

It's a scene of a place close to where we live, with Joshua trees, spring flowers (it's winter, and here I am working on a spring landscape -- it figures!) with the snow-capped peaks of Mt. San Gorgonio in the background.

I keep changing my mind about how I want the finished painting to look, which makes me stop painting and just look at the painting and think about it. Visualizing it in my head.

But it is coming along, and I should finish it this month. And then? Another landscape? A surreal image? A post-apocalyptic nightmare?

Who knows? Let's see how the mood settles when the time comes.

C U L8R!!

Mark Junge


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Two Months Overdue!!

Wow, oh wow!! It's been two months since I've written anything!!!

Well, it's just been...strange, lately. September just sort of got away from me, and October was Health Issues Month, with two stays in the hospital because of heart flutter (I think that's a less severe version of atrial fibrillation, but I'm not sure). AND dealing with a strained arm and a knee that hurt so badly I couldn't walk on it at all. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) to the rescue -- but those drugs are kind of bad for me.

So now I'm on blood thinners until the cardiologist can do an ablation procedure on me -- zapping tissue in the heart to cut off some misfiring nerve impulses that are causing the flutter.

I've also been finding that some of the meds I take -- like for high blood pressure --  must be the cause of the fatigue I feel constantly. (I suspect the after-effects of taking OTC sleeping pills was doing that, too -- I'm giving those up!)

But I need to get going somehow because there's an art show next May I'd like to enter. It's near Pasadena, CA, where blurry-looking paintings are more popular than the detailed works I do. I'm trying to come up with a good compromise -- maybe a scene with fog or something. Haven't decided yet.

So -- I hope I can put out some good paintings that will work in the Pasadena environment and that will still be true to the style I love.

Stay tuned. I'm sure gonna try to write more often!