Thursday, April 25, 2019

Dioramas in Progress

Besides working on my fine art paintings, I've also been busy with a commission from the local Hi Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley, CA. I'm making two habitat dioramas showing some of the wildlife and overall look of our Mojave desert!

So far, I'm still painting the background image which I hope to finish within a few days. I have to say, this is the largest painting I've ever done (86" wide x 67" high / 2.2m W x 1.7m H). And I'm working on the painting on site -- not in the studio, where I would use an easel and all my paraphernalia laid out where I'm used to having it. Oh, well.

Here's how it looks so far -- a slightly modified scene from Joshua Tree National Park:

art, painting, habitat diorama, natural history museum, Yucca Valley, CA, California, desert, Mojave, Joshua tree, trees
Daytime Diorama
From the title, you may guess there will also be a Nighttime Diorama as well. Once the background is finished (with more small rocks and additional plant species), the foreground will be the three-dimensional component with ground, rocks, taxidermy animals and some plants. I'm making the 3-D foreground, too, although I don't know yet if I'll be placing the critters where they belong, or if the museum staff will handle that.

Then, if I'm not too tired, I work in my studio on my paintings, too!

It'll be nice to have both dioramas finished and see what the response is. I hope they will add much to the museum and that the public will love 'em!

Mark Junge (for prints)

Monday, April 1, 2019

MORE Zillions of Flowers!!

The California "superbloom" has been goin' on for awhile. Here are a few photos of the area outside of Walker Canyon, just north of Lake Elsinore, CA. (We didn't go into Walker Canyon itself -- too many people, too many cars parked there, and too many people leaving the trails so they can take pictures of loved ones IN the flowers -- with all the trampling one would expect!)

California, wildflowers, superbloom, super bloom, poppies, Lake Elsinore, Walker Canyon

California, wildflowers, superbloom, super bloom, poppies, Lake Elsinore, Walker Canyon
California Wildflowers

California, wildflowers, superbloom, super bloom, poppies, horse, horses, Lake Elsinore, Walker Canyon
Horses and Wildflowers
I already have a painting in progress of California Wildflowers!

Superblooms are a relatively rare event in southern California; hence, people go a little nutzo when it happens. I understand -- I just wish those people would have a little more respect for the land and the flowers.

OK -- soapbox time is over! Have a beautiful spring day, wherever you are!

Mark Junge
www.FineArtAmerica (prints)


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Zillions of Desert Flowers!

By now, it's common knowledge the southwestern deserts, including the California deserts, are experiencing a superbloom thanks to the many rain storms we've had over the past months. More flowers than usual appear like magic and transform the typical desert browns to carpets of unbelievably zonking color that appears almost fluorescent!

The color doesn't always show very well in photos, but of course, in paintings (such as the ones I plan to do), the color will jump off the canvas or panels!

California, CA, superbloom, yellow flowers, wildflowers, brittlebush, Encelia, desert dandelions, distant mountains, Joshua Tree National Park
Yellow and lavender flowers light up the desert floor.
California, CA, desert, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, flowers, wildflowers, ocotillo, Indian Head Mountain, yellow, desert dandelion
Yellow desert dandelions are in full bloom as
the stick-like ocotillo prepares for a show in a few weeks.
California, CA, desert, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, flowers, wildflowers, barrel cactus, Indian Head Mountain, chuparosa
A barrel cactus blossoms in front of a chuparosa.
California, CA, desert, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, flowers, wildflowers, ocotillo, palo verde, Indian Head Mountain, yellow, brittlebush, Encelia
A stick-like ocotillo, a palo verde tree and
yellow-flowered brittlebush set off Indian Head Mountain.
California, CA, desert, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, flowers, wildflowers, chuparosa, phalecia
A red-flowered chuparosa nestles
in a clump of lavender-colored phalecia.
California, CA, Coachella Valley Preserve, dunes, sand verbena, pink purple flowers, wildflowers
The gently-scented pinkish blooms of
sand verbena color the waves of dunes.

These images, along with many others I made (and may continue to take) will certainly lead me to create paintings that highlight the desert at its blazing best! (for prints)

Monday, March 4, 2019


desert,'amdscape,painting,art,Organ Pipe Cactus National monument,AZ,Arizona,clouds,cloud shadows,dramatic,lighting,flowers,brittlebush,Encelia,rocks,Sonoita,Sonoyta,Mountains,distance,space
Clouds                            8 x 10 / 20cm x 25cm
Clouds is the title of my latest painting, finished -- at long last -- this past weekend. (Sometimes it seems to be harder and harder to work on paintings and to finish them in a timely manner -- so frustrating!)

The size is 8" x 10" ( 20cm x 25cm ) on panel -- a size I've been using lately to make a lot of paintings. Easy to pack up and ship, and for many people, small and miniature art is a desirable size to collect those images of memories of happy times in the desert. Or wherever.

This scene shows my favorite view -- in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona, looking south toward the distant Sonoita (or Sonoyta) Mountains of Mexico and featuring those vast, wide-open vistas that one can see from this spot.

I was actually there when the clouds created alternating patterns of sun spots and cloud shadows on the landscape as I depicted in the painting. However, I have heard from friends that the organ pipe cactus on the right has died since I was last there.

A place of beauty, peace and serenity -- as long as one has water, food, A/C in the summer and heat in the winter! Otherwise, the desert is a harsh environment! But I prefer to show it at its most glorious.

Mark Junge
www.FineArt (prints)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A Prickly Path

As is common knowledge, I love the desert. I love other types of scenery, too, but the desert keeps calling me back. (As it should -- I LIVE in the desert!)

So my latest painting is of the desert -- somewhere in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix, Arizona, back in the days (early 1980s) when I could hike around and scramble up steep hillsides without too much trouble (although The Wiffee would not have approved of me doing so had she been with me that day). ☺

Sonoran,desert,AZ,Arizona,cactus,cholla,saguaro,wildflowers,brittlebush,rocks,view,birdseye view,yellow,,clouds
A Prickly Path    10" x 08" / 25cm x 20cm
I love these birds-eye views of the desert that show the infinite, wide-open spaces of the landscapes that seem to stretch out forever.

I added more space to form a path than there actually was at that time -- but I still wanted a sense of "better watch where you step, or you'll be impaled by cactus thorns."

In addition, there were saguaro cactus there, but none were visible from this spot. So I included one!

I enjoyed making this painting, which I started in November 2018! Unfortunately, the holidays and other stuff slowed me down quite a bit. But it's finally finished! Now I'm ready to move on to the next piece of desert art!

Mark Junge (prints)


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Year's End

Well, it seems Christmas is over (sigh...), 2018 is almost done with, and soon it'll be 2019!

WHERE, exactly, did 2018 go? I know time seems to speed up when you get old, decrepit and dilapidated (like me☺), but... come on!! 

OK, so -- I've been working, on and off, on a small painting. At the same time, I decided it's time to revamp my website to make it more compatible with what search engines are looking for. More on this topic soon.

Also, I seem to have lots of ideas for images to paint, but I've gone back to being kinda unmotivated, which is something I need to work on. I can't be that way. Not if I need to survive financially!

I read an online article claiming that the number one obstacle to making it as a professional artist is: the work simply isn't good enough. It can't compete with all the artwork that's out there. The article went on to describe the misadventures of a female artist whose experiences seemed quite similar to mine.

I'm sure this position is true -- for many artists, and maybe for me, too. But I can't ignore other possible reasons why obstacles exist. This is something I've been contemplating a lot.

So this is where things stand. I'm hoping website sales will increase in 2019, when people are able to find me! Right now, if you Google "desert paintings," my site isn't even in the first 100, although I used to be in the top 5, and sometimes I was even #1!! Gotta fix that, too.

So I hope Christmas was awesome, that this year has been good to you and that 2019 will be a fabulous year for us all!!

Christmas decorations, home for the holidays

Mark Junge (prints)

Friday, December 14, 2018

Hooded Oriole

For a quick flash of fluorescent color in a sometimes drab southwestern desert, nothing can beat a male hooded oriole!

art,artwork,painting,bird,hooded oriole,oriole,desert,yellow,orange,black,blue sky,palo verde,tree
Hooded Oriole                                   8" x 10" / 20cm x 25cm

The glorious color of this little beauty must be seen to be believed! In full sunlight, its yellow-orange and black feathering is a delight to the eye.

They have a sweet "tooth" and will share hummingbird feeders with the hummingbirds -- the feeder we have is where we're most likely to see the orioles. The females visit the sugar water, too, but are colored a muted green. The orioles tend to nest on the undersides of fan palm fronds in basket-like nests that hang from the fronds. (It must be quite a ride on windy days!)

I painted this oriole sitting on the branch of a palo verde tree, another resident of the desert. I considered including the yellow flowers of the tree, but then I decided I didn't want anything yellow to compete with the dazzling yellows of the bird.

Hooded orioles winter mostly in Mexico. So if you ever want to see one in the southwestern deserts of the US, come to the desert in the spring or (gasp!) summer for a striking flash of color!

Mark Junge (prints)