Monday, May 11, 2020

California's Central Coast

My latest painting is a commissioned piece that shows Atascadero along California's central coast.

Atascadero,central coast,CA,California,landscape,flowers,wildflowers,rolling hills,green,lake,pond,grass

The client owns a retirement home in the area and wanted some paintings that highlighted the beauty of the landscape there, especially when wildflowers are at their peak!

Southern California is a beautiful place during March and April. When the rest of the country is still enduring snow and freezing temps, winters here are pleasant, and -- except for the desert -- we experience green Christmases, with flowers soon to follow.

A second commission will be coming. It will feature a grove of trees on the client's property.

Mark Junge

Monday, May 4, 2020

Bryce Canyon National Park

Here are two paintings of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah (in the USA) that I was commissioned to do, using photos that the client provided.

Bryce Canyon National Park,Utah,West,red rocks,arch,columns,art,painting,natural color,autumn,fall,maple,sun,sunburst
Bryce Canyon National Park,Utah,West,red rocks,hoodoos,arch,columns,art,painting,natural color,autumn,fall,aspen,aspens,trees 

I've been to the Park several times -- but I've never painted it before. All of those rock formations and hoodoos have a lot of detail in them, and even the above paintings didn't capture all of the ruggedness of the place.

Still, I think they turned out reasonably well, and I was able to use colors and contrast in ways that straightforward photographs can't capture.

And now -- I can concentrate on ANOTHER commission!

Mark Junge

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Dino Drawings

I think I finally finished one set of commissioned paintings, now it's on to a second set of two for another collector.

That doesn't mean I stop thinking about other paintings I want to do, probably for myself, or maybe to post on Fine Art America to make prints for sale.

But in the meantime, drawing is a fast way of making art compared to painting. Like making dino drawings!


Of course, nobody knows exactly what dinos look like. All we've got are bones and, in some cases, fossilized impressions. (And fossilized dino eggs and dino poop!) But the computer-generated image (CGI) critters we see in the movies are convincing enough to get us excited about these ancient animals!

Incidentally, Dimetrodon, a denizen of the Permian era, is not considered a dinosaur, but was a synapsid -- more reptilian (and even mammal-like in some ways) and was wiped out in the mass extinction event at the end of the Permian, before true dinos began to appear. Too bad -- as a kid, this was my favorite "dinosaur."

Back to painting. I'm sure more drawings will follow.

Mark Junge

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A Future Painting


My original intention was to write in this blog at least once a week. But lately, it's been down to once a month!

But, I'm older (as we all are), gotten into a lazy state of mind, not highly motivated, and tired. Stuff that's been going on in the country -- coronavirus, politics and the extreme hatred out there, stuff like that -- has been taking my focus off of what I need to be doing.

So what images are in my head these days?

art, painting,Hudson River School, Frederick Edwin Church, Jamaica, tropics, palm tree,beach, jungle, rainforest, sailboat, village, beach
Jamaica  -- 1871                                                                     Frederick Edwin Church
Jamaica is a painting I've loved for a long time. I plan to paint a scene similar to this, except it will be of Hawai'i or other Polynesian island, and it will combine elements of existing landscapes and some imaginary aspects as well.

I'd like to get started on it soon, but: 1. we're still unpacking from our move last August -- seven months ago!; and: 2. I need to get some commissions finished, hopefully VERY soon!

The time will come, God willing, and it'll give me something to look forward to!

Mark Junge

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Pinnacle Peak, Arizona

Pinnacle Peak is the subject of my latest painting (I haven't come up with a title yet), a small piece I squeezed in between other projects. The size is 08" x 10" / 20cm x 25cm and, as usual, is acrylic on panel:

Pinnacle Peak, AZ, Arizona, Scottsdale, rocks, boulders, mountain, cactus, saguaro, desert, Sonoran desert, painting, art, landscape, ocotillo, palo verde, clouds, blue sky, cloud shadows

Sadly, the desert scenery has been removed and the Peak is now surrounded by streets, houses, shops and golf courses. I'm glad I had an opportunity to see it in its natural glory way back in March, 1983.

(Note: Pinnacle Peak Park is still located on the other side of the Peak, and one can still access the hiking trails that meander across the hill -- only the view just ain't the same).

Mark Junge


Friday, January 24, 2020

Painting Dreams

My earliest days as an artist were when I was deeply into surrealism, especially imagery that seemed to appear like dreams I've had.

I still love those images. Many of Salvador Dali's works were like that, and his realistic technique made the "dreams" totally believable -- a look that I embraced.

surreal, surrealism, Salvador, Dali, dream, dreams
Suburbs of a Paranoic-Critical Town

surreal, surrealism, Salvador, Dali, dream, dreams

(Sorry the detail of the painting isn't sharper).

For the dreamy effect, this is one of my favorite Dali paintings -- in particular, the gal holding the bunch of grapes, looking directly at the viewer, is exactly the type of thing I see in MY dreams.

Yet, another artist made paintings that appear to be even more dreamlike -- those of Belgium artist Paul Delvaux. The people (often women) sit or walk as if they are in a dreamlike trance.

Many of Delvaux's figures are nude, and I don't want to freak out my more conservative readers. So here is an example of a Delvaux painting without too much nudity (or lesbian activity, which he seemed to be into):

surreal, surrealism, dream, dreams, women, figurative
The Retreat - Paul Delvaux

Delvaux usually painted females, a few males, architecture, trains and human skeletons -- often in some combination within a piece.

His realism technique isn't, in my opinion, as nice as Dali's, but Delvaux's images appeal to me more. The latter's art reminds me so much of what I see when I sleep (except my dreams have more variety). I get a kick out of my dreams, but I've rarely painted actual dreams of mine because I often feel like they wouldn't lend themselves to a single image. (If I made videos and had the means to pull them off, THAT might be different!)

I'll continue to paint traditional, classical realism-inspired landscapes. But painting surreal scenes gets my soul into my work in a way that realism doesn't. We'll see what I come up with!

Mark Junge

Saturday, December 21, 2019


Today is winter solstice -- the shortest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere, anyway).

Some people have almost religious-like celebrations on summer and winter solstice days (as well on spring and autumnal equinoxes). I don't do that, but winter (and, to a lesser degree, summer) solstice and the days before and after are great days. Why? Well, for landscape photography, of course! Which leads to paintings!!

In southern California, the sun tends to be low almost all day on winter solstice. I like low sun when I take pictures of the great outdoors -- the lighting and shadows are awesome when the sun hits the land at an angle. (Unlike summer solstice, when the sun is overhead much of the day and gives flat lighting on featureless landscapes).

Summer solstice can be a good day for photography, too, when early in the morning and late in the afternoon. The sun is further north than in the winter, and sometimes this can provide a lighting direction that gives better photo opportunities than in the winter -- it can make the difference between side lighting in the winter and backlighting in the summer, with very different looks.

I didn't have time to go out today and take pictures here in the Mojave desert and in Joshua Tree National Park. But the "pull" to get out there and do some shooting always hits me when winter solstice rolls around.

Maybe next year, huh? 😊

Mark Junge