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!!

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Fantasy in White

A Fantasy in White (18" x 24" / 46cm x 61cm) is my latest painting. A little different from my usual subject matter!

tropic,tropical,rain forest,rainforest,tree ferns,bromeliads,rabbit foot's fern,white peacock,morpho butterfly,green,dark,misty,humid

Although I've never gone to any tropical areas, I'm familiar with the overall look as well as many plant species from my studies in ornamental horticulture many years ago.

The scene was inspired by a spot in the Los Angeles County Arboretum -- a "jungle" planting that includes a cluster of tree ferns that formed the basis of the painting.

L.A. Co. Arboretum,tree ferns,palm trees

I visited there in 2012, saw this view, and I knew I would have to paint something similar to it. In addition, the Arboretum has peacocks running around loose. No white ones that I've seen, just the usual (but stunningly beautiful) India blue peacocks. I've never seen a live white peacock, only a taxidermy specimen in an antique store.

Incidentally, peacocks can be white either because it's their coloring (their skin and eyes are pigmented), or they can be albinos, with pink skin and eyes. I painted a white, not an albino, critter.

The painting depicts a rain forest typical of the lowland tropics of Central and South America. Normally I work to keep my painted habitats "pure," but this piece has non-native (to Latin America) species in it: the Hawaiian tree ferns (Cibotium chamissoi), the rabbit foot's fern in the lower left (from Fiji) and, of course, the peacock.

I've included some details from the painting, some intentionally easy to miss if one views the original piece.

tree ferns,bromeliads,morpho butterfly,rabbit foot's fern,white peacock,tropics,tropical,rain forest,rainforest,fallen log,moss

It's hard to say if I'd ever again do another painting like much detail to paint!! Maybe next time, I would create a view where I (the painter) am standing further away from the scene rather than standing IN it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


I first started doing "real" outdoor art shows in February, 1989. The first was in Palm Springs, CA followed by several others. The best part of those shows was getting to know some of the other artists who, like me, returned to do the shows as they came along.

One of the artists I met was a photographer who sold small framed prints of his pictures. I often wondered how well he did with his enterprise. He was a Seventh-Day Adventist, a Protestant Christian group that believes the traditional Sabbath day, Saturday, should continue to be the Sabbath and not Sunday as most other denominations believe.

The art shows were typically three-day shows...Friday - Sunday. Well, this fella was ready to sell on Fridays, closed up his booth on Saturdays, and returned on Sundays for more sales and to take it all down at the end.

I have to admire him for his dedication to his convictions, but I always wondered how well he could do by missing out on an important sales day -- Saturday.

Maybe he had retirement income going for him and selling photos was not his #1 source of revenue. Obviously, he felt it was more important to attend church than to be present at the art shows, in spite of possibly missing out on filling his wallet a bit more. Perhaps God would reward the guy in non-material ways than are much better than money.

I suspect the photographer is no longer of the earth -- he was already along in years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I'd guess he is in the Lord's presence now, reaping the eternal benefits of his commitment to God.


Friday, December 30, 2016

2017 Is Coming!

Well, no matter what we might try, 2017 is coming...for better or for worse.

I'd guess that 2017 will be a time of healing for me. I'm not going to do much to promote or sell my art, and for that matter, I'll be slowing down the painting production as well.

Not that I don't have ideas in my head for images I want to get painted. Landscapes, surrealism, figurative (maybe). It's just hard to get motivated right now. 

I know I've worked REALLY hard for many years, and I think I've just HAD it! The year 1981, my senior year as a microbiology major at Cal Poly, Pomona, was the start of a strenuous time where I worked days, nights, weekends...with no time for play or leisure. That continued as I entered an internship in Medical Technology at the City of Hope Medical Center -- an incredibly stressful time of cramming information into my walnut-sized brain and learning lab procedures of clinical technicians.

Then came grad school, a time-intensive period of spending almost all of my time in the lab doing research.

Finally, the job searches and working when I DID find jobs AND trying to develop a career in the visual arts, first as a photographer, then as a painter. I expected science to support my wife and me while working toward the goal of painting full-time.

Eventually I left the science world and the unreliability of grant-funded jobs and went to work for a Christian ministry (and, of course, still painting and entering shows). Then in early 2001, I embarked on a full-time painting career.

So here I am -- 15 years of painting and trying to sell at galleries, outdoor and indoor art and museum shows, website... and I'm no closer to my goal now than I was 15 years ago. I've had a few successes here and there, but mostly, we lost a lot more money than I made. For 15 years.

Enough. I'm throwing in the towel. I'll still paint, keep the website up, still blog. But at the very least, I need a long break from trying to sell. Maybe a permanent break.

And maybe an adjustment in some of the meds I take, too. I'm too low on energy and motivation these days.

Hopefully by the next time I write, I'll have a new painting to share. Painting, and taking it easy at the same time for a change. I need to find the joy in art again.

Let's hope.

(Revised website: or

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Christmas Bunny

So -- what does one do if one:
  • is an artist;
  • loves Christmas;
  • loves bunnies? paints a Christmas bunny! A lop-eared bunny, in this case.

rabbit,bunny,lop ears,lop-eared,Christmas,green,red,Santa hat,cute,furry,whiskers
A Christmas Bunny               14" x 11" / 36cm x 28cm