Thursday, September 7, 2017

What happened to August? I just realized I didn't make a single blog post in the month of August! Now it's September. Wha...???

Well, I'm here now! Just in time to show you my latest surreal painting, Semblence of Artificial Humanity, 16" x 20" / 41cm x 51cm.

Semblence of Artificial Humanity                               16" x 20" / 41cm x 51cm
The only real thoughts that come me about the piece are actually questions: why is the shadow of the female being cast against the sky while all other shadows retreat into the distance? What are those green things growing out there? What's up with the bubbles?

As usual, I can't explain what it all means. Its meaning is in the eye of the beholder: YOU, dear viewer!

Keep watching for I hope to have that site up before year's end. 


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ambiguous Strangers

Ambiguous Strangers is the mysterious name I gave to my latest mysterious and surreal painting.

art,painting,surreal,surrealistic,surrealism,Mojave,desert,Joshua Tree National Park,yellow,figures,London Bridge,dream,dreamscape,hands,interlock,interlace,clasp,hands
Ambiguous Strangers       18" x 24" / 46cm x 61cm
As usual, I prefer not to try and explain what's going on here. I like it when viewers read into it their own experiences and viewpoints.

I'm simply painting the ideas and images that pop into my head -- dreamscapes; lands that seem like they could exist, but don't -- except in an artist's mind.

Enjoy, and contemplate!

(This piece and others will appear on a yet-to-be-launched website called I hope to have it up later this year).

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Surreal Side of Mark Junge

I didn't realize it has been almost a month since I last wrote about what I've been up to lately. What's wrong with me??? 😁

OK, since I wrote about the redwood painting I finished last month, I've decided to spend some time working on surreal pieces that I've been wanting to do. (I also worked on a logo design for someone, but that's another story).

surreal,surrealistic,surrealism,art,artwork,painting,weird,strange,dream image,green grass, maroon curtain,blue sky,girl,woman,people
Art Show                                 11" x 14" / 28cm x 36cm
This image, Art Show, is something I saw in a dream many years ago. I still remember it because as soon as I woke up, I sketched it in a little sketchbook I kept beside the bed. I therefore remembered it all these years. And finally, I got around to painting it.

Simply by looking at this, you're getting a peak into my subconscious. I have no idea what it "means," if anything. It was something my brain conjured up while sleeping. But it was supposed to be an art show I visited, with paintings hanging on a long maroon-colored curtain, people looking at the works, and a young woman who is gripping "hands" with the curtain, fingers interlaced. Again, I have no idea what it all means.

I decided to paint the scene as I remember it, ignoring some of the formal elements such as composition. I doubt I'll be attempting to sell this work, anyway -- it's really just for me.

More surrealism to come!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

In Paradisum II

In Paradisum II (Latin for In Paradise #2) is my latest painting.

art,artwork,painting,paintings,redwood,trees,Redwood national Park,Lady Bird Johnson Grove,sunbeams,shafts,light,sunlight,fog,foggy,fern,Douglas fern,ferns,Sequoia sempervirens
In Paradisum II       20" x 16" / 51cm x 41cm

art,artwork,painting,paintings,redwood,trees,Redwood national Park,Lady Bird Johnson Grove,sunbeams,shafts,light,sunlight,fog,foggy,fern,Douglas fern,ferns,Sequoia sempervirens
In Paradisum II (Detail)
The title comes from a song, In Paradisum, written and recorded by Sarah Brightman. The music is, to me, an aural interpretation of what heaven might sound like, but listening to it puts images in my head that hopefully go with the music. To hear the song, click HERE.

I can't say that this is my Tour de Force of redwood forest paintings, but I'm working toward it. Hence, the Roman numeral I for the first piece I did, and this is the second. I expect there will be at least one more that will be my best redwood painting ever!

The first time The Wiffee and I were in the redwoods was in June, 1982. We visited Redwood National Park; in particular, Lady Bird Johnson Grove in early morning. I planned on taking lots of pictures but was disappointed when the sky was clear and sunny. It's difficult shooting photos in an old-growth forest because sunny patches next to shadowy patches exceed the range of film. So the sunny spots wash out, and the shadows turn completely black.

But we continued hiking in, went around a hill, and all of a sudden, like an answer to prayer, we walked into a section of forest that was enshrouded in a light fog, with sunbeams breaking through the trees and the very air luminescent. With the tall coastal redwoods and ferns, with rhododendrons and Douglas irises in bloom, it looked like we were in heaven! I had never, before or since, felt like I was standing in the cathedral of God's own making.

Lady Bird Johnson Grove is on a ridge at about 1,000 feet / 305m, so instead of peering into a deep, dark forest of overlapping redwoods, the sky is visible beyond the trees. Thus the sky appears blue, lightly foggy or densely foggy (as it was the second time we were in LBJ Grove in 1984).

I decided not to paint any critters this time. No hidden bunnies or birds, just a group of irises that may not be noticed by the viewer right away. (In Paradisum III will have critters, I predict!)

I've wondered which I would enjoy living in more -- the desert or the redwoods. Still, I don't know if I would ever again feel the way I felt that day in June, 1982, when I rounded a corner and entered the glowing mists of heaven.

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.