Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
If you've heard the news today, we had an earthquake today --5.2 magnitude, about 90 minutes drive from here. We received a little shaking from it. But my brother lives much closer to the epicenter. At least all he lost was a plastic model of a US Navy destroyer which was crushed when something fell over on it.
Earthquakes can be surreal experiences, especially if you've never gone through one. Waves roll through the ground like waves through the ocean. Buildings and trees sway and rock back and forth. Items inside the home rattle and clink together as though a truck was passing outside -- close to the house! Sometimes, stuff tips over and falls to the floor. And something I've never had to deal with personally (so far) -- a building collapses, highway bridges crumble, water and/or power delivery fails, roads crack or sink into the ground.
They tell us The Big One is coming -- sooner or later. It may or may not impact our area, and it may or may not happen in my lifetime. It sort of reminds me of growing up wondering if America and the rest of the world might have to deal with nuclear warfare -- never knowing if a cataclysmic event would be our fate. Or not.
Let's hope they're wrong about The Big One and a nuclear war.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Anyway, the professor mentioned that she was brought up Catholic, but that her religion became art and psychology. That thought has stuck in my mind for over 20 years. I learned some good ideas about writing from her, but her comment always bothered me a little.
I think most artists -- all but the most commercially-driven ones, anyway -- would say that creating art is almost like a religious experience for them. Taking one's loves (or hates) and, in a sense, a pictorial expression of one's inner being and putting it on canvas, paper, clay, whatever, can be a cathartic and freeing event for an artist. Perhaps it's a little like going to confession and absolution--getting it all out and feeling so much better afterwards. At least, that's the idea.
I've also heard the notion that art is the output of a neurotic condition. We can certainly see examples of that out there! On the other hand, perhaps art is made in spite of, NOT because of, the emotional baggage we carry.
But returning to the religion aspect -- maybe it depends on what we expect our religion(s) to do for us. For many of us, it has to do with being imperfect beings trying to stand before Perfection -- and falling short. So life is about living as perfectly as we can and seeking forgiveness when we don't. In this case, I would think art (and/or psychology) as religion would be terribly inadequate, as touching and moving as really good art can be.
The above-mentioned teacher moved on to assume an editor position at an art publication and afterwards became the curator of an art museum. I've since lost touch. I hope she's still involved in art and in writing about art. But I also hope she found something more substantial than art and psychology in which to invest her soul. If not, I feel rather sad for her.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
How did we ever survive without eBay?
Seems like we can find anything we want on that online auction site. So it should come as no surprise art is available there, too!
I frequently place small pieces on eBay for bid. These items are a little different from what I normally do: besides the smaller sizes (8" x 10"/20cm x 25cm; and on panel, not canvas), they don't have the transparent layers of color that give my "regular" paintings the appearance of stained glass. But since I know I need to keep the prices low, I can't spend a great deal of time creating them.
However, I still feel pride in what I produce, and sometimes it gives me a chance to try things that I might re-create on a larger scale later.
The attached image is an example of this. It's obviously not a desert scene! But it was fun to do, I want to paint a bigger version someday soon, I enjoy the colors of autumn, and I believe I captured the spiritual essence of the place.
(To find me on eBay, simply search for "Mark Junge." You can narrow the search by searching under the "Art" category).
Friday, July 25, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
One of the classes I took in my undergrad years was Immunology and Serology. Part of the lab work was to inject cute little albino bunnies with stuff (nothing that would make the bunnies sick), then collect blood from them and go through an isolation and purification procedure to get the antibodies the bunnies made against the stuff. When the academic quarter was over, we had a choice of bringing the bunnies home (only catch -- we had to donate some of our own blood for the same class), or leave the bunnies there. If we left them, they ended up in one of the zoology classes' labs where, sadly, they would endure open-heart surgery and then would die. Needless to say, I took my team's bunny home.
Over a period of a few months or so, Bunny had the free run of an enclosed patio. She could hippity-hop around, hide, eat or do whatever she wanted.
The best part was when I called my girlfriend (now my wife). The phone was by a door that led out to the patio. So I'd sit on the doorstep, talking on the phone, often for an hour or more. Bunny would come over, go in betwen my legs and turn around, facing away from me. Then she'd settle down while I petted her until well after the phone call was finished. None of the other bunnies or the guinea pig seemed to appreciate the affection the way Bunny did.
One of Bunny's favorite places to be petted was just a little above her nose. I noticed that when a male and female are together, the male will lick and nibble the female there, and the female seemed to be in bunny heaven when he did.
Bunnies also like being petted and rubbed around the base of the ears. So--if you have a bunny or the next time you're in a bunny's company, consider letting it know how cute you think it is by petting it in those places.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Bunnies are low-maintenance pets. They can be paper-trained, believe it or not. We've had bunnies that have had the free run of the rooms we kept them in and really didn't have to clean up much after them. They always had a cage on the floor where we kept their water bottles and food, and those little critters "did their business" in the cages. So the cages needed cleaning every day, of course, but the room itself was pretty much OK, except when the bunnies were shedding.
I was never creative when it came to naming them. One pair was a brother and sister--they were simply "Girl Bunny" and "Boy Bunny." The third and fourth (we didn't have them at the same time) were both named "Bunny." Our last critter was the only lop-earred rabbit we had, and it came with a name: "Maggie." The previous owner thought it was a female, until a trip to a veterinarian uncovered the truth: "she" was a "he"! But the name stuck.
We once had a guinea pig, too, in between bunnies. They're cute,too. They squeak and whistle and scurry around in their cages. And they always have this expression like they're constantly startled. Cute. Very cute.
Some day we'll probably get another bunny (or guinea pig). But for now, we're too busy to take on the responsibility of having a pet. And we do have the wild bunnies outside. They won't let us pick them up or pet them, of course. But they're still cute!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I'm still working on the smoke tree painting -- frankly, I'll be quite glad when it's finished. That could be as early as later tonight or as late as this coming Sunday night, depending on how much more stuff I need to paint into it and how many breaks I take between now and The Conclusion.
The "mistake" I made (not really a mistake, actually) was in choosing a viewpoint that looks like the viewer is standing right there. Most people like that "I can walk right into it" approach, and it isn't so bad when a painting is smaller or even medium-sized. But when it's 36" x 48" (91cm x 122cm), a ground-level view has an almost overwhelming amount of detail to paint!
Next time (and from now on), I expect larger pieces to have a bird's-eye point of view, which is a look I prefer, anyway.
The photo shows the largest painting I've ever done: 4' x 6' (1.2m x 1.8m). This desert view shows what used to be a lake in ancient times: the waterline from the lake is still visible on the closer mountain. The painting appears in the background behind me on my Website Bio & Statement: