Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wotta View Mr. Keys Had!!

I love Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park. Lots of potential for doing paintings!!

Keys View is named for Bill Keys, a pioneering type who settled and worked in what is now the Park. The distant mountain is Mt. San Jacinto, part of makes the desert a desert by blocking rain-carrying clouds that come from the west (which is to the right).

Someday, I need to paint this place. Many times over!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

eBay Paintings

Sometimes I paint small (8" x 10"/20cm x 25cm) paintings for the express purpose of putting them on eBay and seeing how they do with this online auction. Most of the pieces I put there do sell; a few do not.

In general, autumn landscapes (like the one to the right) and desert scenes do reasonable well. The few Colorado views I've painted haven't sold at all!

It's hard to figure out what collectors might be interested in, so I try to follow the old artist's adage -- just paint what you want, and don't think about the marketplace when you do. That can be a hard bit of advice to follow, but I try!

As a sidenote: it's likely I'll stop placing paintings on eBay and sell them directly from my Website (which just happens to be I'll need to create a page just for this purpose -- it's on the agenda! Someday. When I have time. (Yeah, right!!!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Art Rocks

A Thing from space! An uncouth being, risen from the dead for Halloween!

No, it's just another petroglyph. Like the other petroglyph I shared, this one is also in Joshua Tree National Park, not far from the previous one.

But as before, how do we know what this rock art means? How accurate is the depiction? What if the ancient artist simply rendered what s/he saw? Does the thought make you wonder what else might exist among us, possibly unseen by our modern-world eyes?

Welcome to rock art, where art rocks!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Portrait in Rock? Or...?

Whoa!!! It's autumn, and here's a picture of a football!

No, wait -- maybe that's a mask, with a big frown, furled eyebrows and faint eyes and nose.

Maybe it's a portrait of an extraterrestial.

Hard to say. It's one of the petroglyphs in Joshua Tree National Park. I doubt that the ancient ones who made this rock carving knew what a football was, and we today can only guess as to its meaning -- if it has a "meaning" at all. Maybe it was simply the equivalent of a modern-day doodle, as we might scribble on a piece of paper (a much easier process than chiseling into rock!) when we're feeling a little bored.

I'm sure I'll say this again, but sometimes I wish I had a time machine. There are SO many things I'd love to know. Of course, having a TM would open up the possibility of changing things in the past that could affect the world today.

Maybe it's safer just to guess about the past ... and keep alive our wonder and amazement about things we can't really know about.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Art in Cyberspace

Ahhh...I finally got around to updating my Website (which, in case you missed it, is

I now have "Add to Cart" and "View Cart" buttons beside the paintings, making it easy for N-E-1 to acquire one of my desert or western landscape paintings. I'm always excited about the idea of someone adopting one of my paintings. For a small adoption fee, of course!

Doing all this has definitely cut into my painting time, but in these economic times, I realize I need to spread the ol' eggs around into as many baskets as possible.

So the next step might be to figure out how to increase my presence in search engine results, which won't be easy. If you Google "desert paintings" or "desert art," you will get literally millions of hits -- and I'm not even in the top 100 pages of hits! It may be too late in the Internet game to wiggle my way closer to the top, but I gotta try anyway. It'll definitely take time -- that's why I need to get things moving NOW.

See ya in cyberspace!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lotsa Space -- No Time

Here's another picture from my quick trip to Joshua Tree National Park yesterday. As you may know from previous posts, I like to paint scenes like this: lotsa space, overlapping mountains that become more obscured by distance, and the surreal forms of the desert.

You may be asking yourself: "Self -- why does this Mark Junge dude keep posting photos of the desert instead of his paintings"? Well, frankly, it takes a long time to get paintings done, especially when life gets busy (like, for example, going into Joshua Tree National Park instead of the studio). But I've also lost time from having to get some work done on our pickup truck, wedding anniversary stuff, having to convince our mortgage lender we have enough flood insurance (yes -- flood insurance...we live in the desert on a hillside!) and other distractions.

However, you can, of course, visit my Website (, which hasn't been updated in a while, but at least you can see some paintings! And someday, you may see a painting of the above photo.

If I can find the time.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Desert Lizard

I made a quick trip to Joshua Tree National Park today for some inspiration and to see how the fall-flowering shrubs were doing. I didn't see as many flowers as I would have liked, but there were some. Perhaps I can post some pix of scenes that inspire me beyond belief to paint.

But first, I must share a picture I took of a lizard. I think I saw more lizards than flowers. Cute little guy, isn't he? Or she? I don't know how to tell males and females apart. I'm sure, however, they can tell; otherwise, we would soon run out of lizards! Regardless, I expect this little lizard (about 6"/15cm nose to tip-of-tail) to appear in some paintings someday.

I'm not sure of the species, but I believe this is one example of a side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana). The coloring varies somewhat, and this one appears to be banded rather than blotched. But you know--even lizards gotta do it "their way"!

More desert pix to follow.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pumpkin Fairies

I just had to do a painting of a Jack O' Lantern and fairies. As a landscape painter, this is a little outside of my realm, but it's fun to do something different once in a while. Size is 14" x 11" (36cm x 28cm).

I've considered approaching greeting card companies to see if they'd be interested in licensing rights, but I don't know...most Halloween cards are either photographs or cartoon-style illustrations. Not sure if this style would go over with that crowd.

But at least, I got it out of my system!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


My brother sent me this pic. Love it!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Squeaker in Disguise

The Wiffee and I acquired a very cute and adorable guinea pig over a month ago. As with bunnies, we melt at the sight of guinea pigs. Because of their tendency to whistle and "squeak," we often refer to guinea pigs as "squeakers."

The former owner was unable to keep the squeaker (named Gracie) because of changes in work schedule, kids and a pet dog. Gracie has a quieter environment now, and we have time to hold her (she's VERY well socialized!) and give her goodies to eat.

She's a "rough-haired" type, meaning her fur always looks disheveled, and is black and white (the brownish coloring in the photo isn't really there). Sometimes she looks like a skunk without a tail!

A squeaker in disguise!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Coming Holidays

Funny thing about me (well, one of the funny things about me, anyway) -- many people talk about having, or not having, the Christmas spirit when that holiday arrives.

I'm subject to that same malady. But in my case, I also have to get into the autumn "spirit," usually by mid-September. Then I have to get into the Halloween spirit and the Thanksgiving Day spirit before I can get into the Christmas spirit. Without that sequence, Christmas comes and goes, and it's just another day except for all the decorations we have up and the gift giving and receiving. The Christian aspects of the day are still there, of course, but I really like the whole package.

Christmas 2007 ended up being one of those "just another days" that seemed to create a lot of stress and busy-ness. I never "got into it." To add insult to injury, I even got sick that day -- and a few days later, my mother-in-law suffered a stroke and died on New Years Day.

This year, I'm determined to immerse myself in the thoughts, images (especially the images!), sights and sounds of the seasons. I'm even working on my first-ever Halloween-themed painting -- not because I expect to make money on it, but because I simply want to do it.

Since I'm no longer surrounded by fellow employees who decorate their cubicles and do things that remind me of the holidays, I have to work a little harder at it on my own so I can enjoy the times. Already I feel autumn is slipping by me. My work is cut out for me.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

No Dumb Bunnies HERE!!!

I'm a bad boy. I put food out for the wild critters around here -- rabbit pellets for the bunnies and chicken scratch for the quail. There are certain places where I put each of these food items.

Of course, the critters don't always eat just "their" food, and that's especially true of the bunnies. Given the choice, they would rather eat scratch than pellets; however, if that was all I put out, the long-earred varmints wouldn't get much of a snack: they eat one kernal at a time, while the quail rapidly peck and eat the grains, managing to swallow between pecks. The quail would clear the area of scratch while the poor bunnies would get only a little.

But it's fun watching how the bunnies have changed their behavior over time. I put the scratch in an old Cool Whip container and toss the stuff one handful at a time. The bunnies used to run out to get it as soon as I threw it -- and got pelted with grain and corn, which probably doesn't feel very good.

Now, they wait on the side and run out between throws, and they'll run to an area that I've already thrown to. That, in turn, makes it easier for me to avoid hitting them with scratch.

These bunnies ain't dumb!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

MORE Autumn!!

Except this time, it's the Colorado mountains, not the desert; and it's a painting, not a photograph.

As with the last painting I posted ("Cliffs of the Green River"), the painting is not entirely a literal rendition -- I put several different views togehter into one image (guess you could say I "Photoshop'ed it").

The mountains are the Sneffels Range, somewhat north of Telluride, CO; and the peak to the left of center is Mount Sneffels. Mt. Sneffels is one of Colorado's "14ers," meaning it's 14,000 or more feet high. (That's 4.3km to you metric folks). The area depicted is the Dallas Divide, a place that's filled with aspen, spruce and red oak. Catch it at the right time of year (usually mid-late September), and you'll see it in spectacular fall glory.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fall in the Desert #2

This photo was taken a few minutes before the one in the previous post. It doesn't really show seasonal clues, but I like the overlapping mountains -- a common sight in the desert.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fall in the Desert #1

Many parts of the country have definite seasons. You can look at a picture and easily guess the season by the way the natural elements look. In the desert, the seasons have their differences, but the differences are subtle, and you have to know what to look for.

I took the attached photo this afternoon in Joshua Tree National Park. In many ways, the picture could have been taken at any time of the year, and it would look virtually the same as this one. But this photo holds two small clues that reveal what season it is:

(1) the rusty-red seedheads of wild buckwheat dot the landscape; admittedly, these can persist pretty much throughout the year;

(2) the real clue, a little hard to see in this view, but it's there -- the rabbitbrush is in bloom with goldenrod-yellowish flowers. Rabbitbrush is an autumn-blossoming shrub common in many places in the West.

Subtle, huh?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Autumn, Art and Other Kinds of Seasons

Tonight was the first gallery ArtWalk of the season in the desert community where I have a number of paintings. The attendence was low, I'm sure because: (1) tonight was also the VP debate (Biden-Palin) on TV, and; (2) not all of the seasonal/part-time residents are back in the area yet.

However, I did have an opportunity to speak with some of the gallery people I network with. I heard hopeful comments from a couple of gallery directors--sales should be good since many of their clientele are people who are not as affected by the current economic situation. In fact, their art sales seem to be continuing in spite of the financial conditions we hear so much about these days. As a full-time artist whose day job is making and selling art, that's good news for me. I have to remain positive as the season begins in the desert.

Ahhh...autumn and art sales -- two great seasons!