Monday, July 9, 2018

Show and Tell -- My First Painting!


I feel like I'm sticking my neck out....

 
This is the very first painting I did that I would consider a "serious" painting (that is -- it's not finger painting or stuff like that). I did it for a painting class ca. 1970. I'd like to think my technique has progressed a little since then.

I was mostly obsessed with surrealism in those days. I knew -0- about classical realism, the look I prefer today even with surreal works. I think I was making a point about something. Time running out? Time is gonna get those two humans trying to escape?

I never liked the green "vegetation" on the left, but I was way too impatient to do it better. Also, I wanted the sun to pop, so I used a fluorescent magenta. In real life, it definitely popped more than the background colors.

This was scanned from a rather dark 35mm slide -- hard to work with. Oh, well.

Maybe some day I'll be a better, more sophisticated version of this untitled piece!
 
Mark Junge
 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Watch the Birdie(s)


One of the things I love about our home in the desert is seeing all the wild critters that come by -- bunnies and birdies, in particular.

We have a hummingbird feeder that hangs where we can see it from inside the house. Of course, it isn't just hummingbirds that enjoy the sugar-water. House finches and several species of desert-dwelling orioles have a sweet "tooth," too!

bird,hooded oriole,desert,hummingbird feeder

This is probably my favorite birdie to see (although hummingbirds are awfully cute, too!) This is a hooded oriole,  Icterus cucullatus. The males around here are a brilliant, almost fluorescent, yellow with black and white markings. They're so colorful!

One thing I've noticed about these and other birds -- they're incredibly cautious! Whenever they land on the feeder (which is out in the open), they sit there and look in all directions, carefully making sure nothing is going to attack them while feeding. Once they're satisfied it's safe, they'll take a quick drink, then return to looking for predators.

They'll repeat this routine several times until they finally get enough sugar-water, then they fly off.


It reminds me of the advice given to humans -- be aware of your surroundings! With so many human predators in the world, we need to be cognizant of who is nearby and what they may be doing. As the birds instinctively know, it's a dangerous world, and while an attitude of fear isn't necessarily called for, we must be ready to respond to anything that may be dangerous to us.

The birdies know. They woundn't live very long if they don't follow through. We should do the same.

(Someday, I'm gonna have to paint a hooded oriole!)

Mark Junge
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com
 


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Power and the Glory


The Power and the Glory is my latest painting. (I prefer making autumn paintings when it's actually autumn, but...oh, well -- what are you gonna do with an artist like me?)

Colorado,mountain,mountains,Mount Sneffels,Mt.Sneffels,Sneffels Range,San Juan mountains,autumn,fall,aspen,gold,golden
The Power and the Glory                              18" x 24" / 46cm x 61cm
It's a scene of my favorite mountain to paint -- Mt. Sneffels in the San Juan mountains of southwestern Colorado. I did make a few minor changes to the view -- I painted Sneffels to be a little taller and steeper than it actually is. However, the mountain is still a "14er" -- 14,157 feet / 4.3km -- pretty tall!

So the mountain is where the "power" comes from, and the "glory" is in the fluorescent golden leaves of the aspen grove.

The work is somewhat idealized, but I think it makes the point I wanted to make -- a painting of a mountain with the jagged, sawtooth edges that I love. Mt. Sneffels is the perfect example of that type of rock!

Mark Junge
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com
 

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Arts and the Christian - Part I (Maybe!)


Today, The Wiffee and I finally got around to seeing the movie, I Can Only Imagine. It's a surprisingly well-made film that tells the story of Bart Millard, the fellow who wrote the title song after a childhood plagued by an abusive father.

The song touched many people who were in Bart's situation. As a Christian dinosaur, it was obvious God used Bart's experiences to create a healing song.

The movie started me thinking about my own "career" as a fine artist. I've tried for a long time to turn it into a full-time, bill-paying job -- without success. I kept asking myself if painting was something I was meant to do or not.

That's when I have to ask myself what God's purpose is when He gives artistic / creative people the gift of loving the visual arts, music, writing, whatever so much that the person feels a need to create art.

The Bible makes it pretty clear that artistic ability is granted by God (it's in Exodus -- more on that another time). Yet -- the Lord never promised that we as artists would be financially successful at it, or even artistically successful with it.

But I do believe we honor Him by using our creative gifts, whether it sells or not. This is a point I often forget when I'm feeling discouraged and want to quit the art thing entirely. I don't think God wants me to quit painting. Keep creating, even if He is the only One who ever sees it. If it sells someday, great. But for reasons known only to Him, some artists will profit from their skills, and many others won't.

So for now, the plan is keep painting for as long as I can, until I ran out of canvases and panels to paint on. I may retrieve some unsold paintings that I could white out and paint something different on them. When I'm TOTALLY out of paint and / or surfaces...well, I'll have to see what happens next.

The Bible verse for dinos like me to live by is from 1 Corinthians 10:31: "Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do*, do all to the glory of God."

*That includes painting!

Mark Junge
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com



 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Dance


The Dance is my latest painting -- only slightly surreal this time as compared to my other surrealistic paintings.

art,painting,surreal,surrealism,surrealistic,women,girls,fingerlock,interracial,light,beam,rays,girls,hold hands
The Dance                              11" x 14" / 28cm x 36cm




The image was inspired by a Greek folk dance class I happened to be watching many years ago. (The bubbles were not there, of course).

So what does it mean? As usual, I prefer to leave that up to the viewer. Some friends thought it's a reference to togetherness, solidarity among women, women's rights, racial equality, on and on.

Some day, I'll need to find a gallery or show where the public may view the paintings in real life -- for those who need some surreal moments in their lives!




Monday, April 9, 2018

The Dallas Divide


The Dallas Divide (which is in Colorado, not Texas) is the title and subject of my latest painting. It features Mt. Sneffels and the Sneffels Range of the San Juan mountains and seems to be my favorite mountains to paint.

Dallas Divide,Double RL Ranch, Sneffels,San juan mountains, Colorado,cottonwood trees,fall,autumn,snow,horse,cowgirl,green,yellow,blue,clouds
The Dallas Divide           11" x 14" / 28cm x 36cm
It's fall, and the cottonwoods have put on a coat of bright yellow leaves as a woman rides her horse in the morning light.

The Dallas Divide is the name of an area that includes this scene (actually, it overlooks part of Ralph Lauren's Double RL Ranch). Behind where you would be standing is the Dallas Creek, and a smaller wash runs in front of you which -- according to the maps -- is called the Dallas ditch. Typical of areas that receive extra water, the ditch is lined with trees and shrubs.

Autumn in Colorado was always my favorite time of year -- the weather tends to be pleasant, and the colors are phenomenal. In addition, the jagged, sawtooth peaks of the San Juans are what I love to see in mountains.

Fall is yet a ways off, as is the heavy snow fall that is bound to come. For now, I'll simply enjoy the peace and beauty of this special place.


Mark Junge
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com

Monday, April 2, 2018

Classical Realism


Years ago, I totally picked up on the art style referred to as "classical realism." It's a look that sometimes romanticizes a subject, but regardless, the work is executed in a realistic way that also elicits an emotional response.

The painting I often use as my signature piece is an example of classical realism -- or as close to it as I'm capable of getting:

desert,landscape,art,painting,organ pipe cactus,Organ Pipe National Monument,AZ,Arizona,flowers,wildflowers
A Place of Wonder, Mark Junge
  
I thought for a long time that once an artist achieves this skill level, doing something way different or simple -- like abstract expression -- wouldn't even be considered:



 

abstract,abstract expressionism
Morning Fjord, Silvia Vassileva

Yet, I've gotten to a point where classical realism has become almost "too hard" to do...it involves an amazing amount of drudgery and time to execute. I guess I'm getting tired in my old age, and I don't seem to have the energy to make paintings like A Place of Wonder anymore.

I'm not planning on quitting that style, however. Not yet. But I'm finding I spend less time than ever before on painting these days. I don't seem to enjoy painting, although I still love the final results.

We'll see how it goes. But don't be surprised if I start mixing in other styles of painting with the classical realism stuff!


Mark Junge
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com



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
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com
 

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
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com

 

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 run...as 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
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com