Thursday, September 20, 2018

Snowline


Another painting with snow!! My latest effort is Snowline, 24" x 36" / 61cm x 91cm.

desert,Sonoran,Arizona,saguaro,cactus,sunset,snow,desert bighorn sheep,great horned owl,winter
Snowline                                                                               24" x 36"

Snow is rare in the Sonoran desert regions of southern Arizona, but it does occur. It's sunset, and I chose to place the snow higher up from the desert floor, and even then, it's a light dusting that, soon after the sun rises again, it will be gone.

I included some critters typical of Sonoran desert fauna -- two desert bighorn sheep and a great horned owl who seemed to have taken each other by surprise.


desert,Sonoran,Arizona,saguaro,cactus,sunset,snow,desert bighorn sheep,great horned owl,winter
Snowline -- detail
Frankly, the owl was the most difficult thing to paint. On the painting, the owl is less than 1" / 2cm tall, and it's hard to include enough detail to make the owl look like an owl with its head turned! But I'm happy enough with it, so there it is!

Snowline is another in a small series of paintings that will feature light amounts of snow, mostly in desert settings. They will be offered for sale at the 60WestGallery, due to open next month in Wickenburg, AZ. Maybe I'll see you there!

Mark Junge
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com
www.Fineart America (for prints)



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

First Snow


First Snow is the title of a painting that spotlights Maroon Bells, probably the most photographed and painted mountain in the US. Maroon Bells is located near Aspen, Colorado and is especially spectacular in the fall. A light snowfall adds nice contrast to the scene.

Maroon Bells, Snowmass, Colorado, CO, fall, autumn,aspen, blue spruce, grass, snow, dusting, clouds, blue sky, Maroon Lake
First Snow                 24" x 30" / 61cm x 76cm

Maroon Peak, slightly right of center, and North Maroon Peak (to the left of the "main" peak) are both "fourteeners," meaning the elevation at the peaks is over 14,000 feet / 4.3km. In autumn, the scene features my favorite color harmony: yellow, green and blue. Grasses, trees and rocks poke through the frozen stuff, while the higher elevation mountains are totally coated with snow.

The aspens are either yellow, green or barren (meaning -- they've dropped all of their leaves). If you've ever been in the high country where aspens flourish and show off their fluorescent coloring in the fall, you may notice not all of the trees are golden-yellow. The hillsides look like a patchwork quilt, as I've depicted them here.

Why, you may ask? Because aspens send out underground shoots which develop into trees. Thus, we end up with sets of aspen groves, each tree being a clone of the original aspen. The trees within a grove are genetically identical and behave the same way -- one grove turns brilliant yellow which is next to a grove that remains green, then drops their leaves. Some groves are already done with autumn and have dropped all of their leaves already.

And when the first heavy snow comes along, autumn is over and all of the trees drop leaves and go dormant.

You may also notice most of the evergreens (Colorado blue spruce, mainly) are on north or west-facing slopes -- the trees like the coolness and moisture there. Aspens prefer more sun and warmth, and tend to grow on south and eastern hillsides. (Note: standing in the spot depicted, you are facing southwest).

The Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness is an incredibly beautiful area, although getting there when the weather is good (i.e., not cloudy, raining or snowing) can be challenging. Also, so many people understandably want to go there in the fall that one must catch a shuttle bus in the town of Aspen to get there. That, or walk the eight miles uphill from the gates to Maroon Lake!

If you haven't already been to Maroon Bells, I hope you get to see them. In the fall.

Mark Junge
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com
https://www.fineartamerica.com/artists/mark+junge (prints)
 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Arches in the Snow


Arches in the Snow is the title of my latest painting -- one of a series of snow paintings that is destined to appear in a new gallery in Wickenburg, AZ.

Arches National Park, Double Arch, Parade of Elephants, Elephant Rock, red rocks, snow, clouds, arches, blue
Arches in the Snow                        24" x 36" / 61cm x 91cm
The image depicts my favorite place in Arches National Park in Utah. The formation is called the Parade of Elephants (the reason why is obvious when viewing the formation from the other side), and Elephant Rock is the "star" of the painting -- when seen from the correct angle and with the right lighting, it appears to have the head of an elephant complete with ears and a trunk. I managed to include a little of that effect here.

Double Arch appears in this view, too. Oh, yes -- I included a critter in the scene, too. See if you can find it and identify what it is!


This area seems wonderfully mystical to me, and I try to depict that feeling in the numerous renditions I've made of the Parade of Elephants. I hope a collector out there will feel the same way I do about the magic of Arches National Park.

www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com


 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Desert Snow


One normally does not put "desert" and "snow" in the same sentence. Deserts are thought of as hot, dry places...snow is the last thing you'd expect to find out there.

But it does happen -- in the true deserts, and in places that are not deserts but that look desert-y.

The Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs, CO is a place that looks desert-y. And it typically snows there in greater or lesser amounts.

I posted on Facebook the following image of a painting I did years ago showing the Garden of the Gods in the snow:

snow,landscape,Colorado,Garden of the Gods,Thanksgiving Day,clouds,red rockevergreens,junipers,pinyon pines
A Snowy Thanksgiving                             22" x 28"
(I should mention the image was scanned from a 35mm slide. Sorry about the huge copyright symbol!)

Meanwhile, an artist friend from Oregon -- one of the artists I met years ago at an art show -- is now teaching painting classes in Wickenburg, AZ. He has included gallery space, mostly for his own artwork, but then he saw A Snowy Thanksgiving. He loves it and asked me to exhibit it, along with 5-6 others (all with snow) in his gallery. The gallery would have just his and my art.

I have seen other red rock areas with snow (i.e., Bryce Canyon National Park) in addition to Garden of the Gods. And the Mojave desert sometimes gets snow, and -- more rarely -- even the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona gets snow on occasion (which disappears quickly afterwards).

So -- we'll see what I come up with in the months ahead. The gallery opens in October, and the grand opening is in November. I'll let you know exactly where and when things will be happening.

I'll continue to be in touch, and thank you for your support!

Mark Junge
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com
www.FineArtAmerica (for prints)
 


 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Deep Canyon View


Deep Canyon is a place south of Palm Desert that includes a research center. Deep Canyon View is my latest painting of the area. I love the view, the sweeping vista, the overlapping mountains and the ocotillos and brittlebush that grow there.

California,desert,Palm Desert,Deep Canyon.Boyd Research Center,mountains,ocotillo,brittlebush,wash,washes,sand,gravel,lizard,zebra tailed lizard,flowers,wildflowers
Deep Canyon View                                                             30" x 40"
This piece was a commission I recently finished -- 30" x 40" / 76cm x 102cm. I've painted this view many times -- you'd think I could do it from memory!

Nowadays, with the knee problems I have, it's unlikely I would ever go hiking out there again. Besides that, this entire area, including the ground I was standing on, is all part of the Boyd Research Center -- by being here, I could unintentionally impact the research findings one way or another. So that's another reason I wouldn't go back again.

I did take many, many pictures of this place that I can use as reference material for years to come if need be. Someday this scene could become my opus magnum -- the largest and best desert painting I will ever have done! We'll see. 😃

Mark Junge
www.SouthwestSpaces.com
www.MarkJunge.com
www.FineArtAmerica (prints)

 

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