Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kelly Clarkson and Fat-Ness

I came across this and other pictures of singer Kelly Clarkson on a number of Websites. Most of those sites commented on how fat and, therefore, unsightly she's become. One person mentioned that since we look up to these celebrities and they need to give us the best they're capable of, they shouldn't allow themselves to become this out of shape because then they can't give their best.

????? I can't say how true that last statement is, other than saying Hollywood and other "experts" of culture have somehow succeeded in, IMO, brainwashing the public into believing that thinness is the best look for women if they dare to appear in public.

I've mentioned in a previous post: one can look at paintings by the Old Masters who showed what the ideal females of their times looked like. They weren't skinny!

I also mentioned in that same post: I realize being overweight (according to medical charts) leads to conditions that can literally shorten life: heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes and even cancer. But, also IMO, this is an issue entirely independent from attractiveness or even -- dare I say -- sexiness in a woman. For me, a little weight is both attractive and sexy. I know, and have heard of, many other men who feel the same way.

Now, I'm NOT looking for additional female company. I've been happily married for over 24 years. But for my taste, Kelly Clarkson has never looked better! I know, of course, that she will be expected to lose weight because so many people and "experts" expect her to.

Kelly, I doubt you're reading this, but if you are, I say to you: "Girl, you look GREAT!!!"

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I don't know where you stand on this issue, but I've become a little addicted to the computer.

I find I can't wait to get on to see if there are any e-mails, new Facebook posts, new artist forum comments, whatever. And, once I'm on, I'm hesitant about getting off! I find myself just surfin' the 'net, looking at things (or trying to find pages) that are purely for entertainment's sake.

The problem with that is, of course, it cuts into my work time. The type of paintings I do takes a long time -- certainly longer than if I simply shot paintballs at a large canvas and called it Art! (Well, OK, it would probably be art to some, but not for me -- not if I'm doing it, anyway).

So -- what am I gonna do about this? Do I need an intervention? A padlock on the computer? More self-discipline? Sa-a-a-y-y...maybe that's the answer.

But there's always that part of me that says: "Naaah!!! It's fun. Just do it!"

We'll have to see who wins: the little angel by my right ear, or the little devil by my left. In the meantime, I guess I'll see you in cyberspace!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Flash of Color with a Sweet Tooth

Hummingbirds aren't the only birds that like hummingbird feeders!

We have two species of orioles that live in the desert. (I have seen a third species, but it's more of a visitor, not a resident). Pictured is one of them -- a hooded oriole. (It's hard to see because he's facing away from us, but he has a yellow-orange head with a black "hood" under his beak).

While many of the colors here in the desert are muted, some are not. Seeing this flash of bright yellow-orange against a deep-blue sky is breath-taking. A flash of color with a sweet tooth!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Inspiration and the Painting

This is one of the few time I feel a side by side set of pictures is warranted.

The photograph on the left shows a view of an area near Eureka Peak in Joshua Tree National Park, CA. The image on the right is a painting I made from the photo. The size is 8" x 10"/20cm x 25cm.

I made a couple of minor changes when I made the painting mostly in the interests of simplifying the painting and to add a little more color to the scene. This is what I call an "eBay painting" -- one that I do somewhat quickly, without the time-consuming glazes I normally use when I paint the material you see on my Website. Thus, I can sell "eBay paintings" much more inexpensively than I could my Website paintings.

I'll be posting this piece on eBay soon. I also want to try another site someday, Etsy is limited to fixed-price handmade items, unlike eBay which is an auction site for almost anything. Stay tuned...ah, um, I mean, keep checking your computer!

27 May -- Update: This painting is listed on eBay as of tonight. You can find it quickly by searching for the item number: 320376968859.

Monday, May 25, 2009

If You're in Germany, Look Me Up!

I was doing a Google search for my Website after hearing about some sites being infected with a virus and Google places a warning beside the infected sites. No Google warning (so far, thank God!), but I did discover is mentioned on a German Website! Some of the text is in English, and some is in German:

So I appear on a site that mentions a number of Mark Junges (including a writer in Wyoming who contacted me years ago), but I wasn't searching for my name -- I was searching for my Website. Apparently, the two are indelibly linked.

Either way, people in Germany can find me!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Wildlife Moment

Every so often, we hear evidence of cats outside who are obviously disagreeing about something. That's not that unusual for most folks, I guess, although around here, leaving pet kitties outside isn't a good idea. Too many coyotes would LOVE to make a meal out of those furry felines.

Last night before going to bed, I heard that characteristic "whhhaaarrrr!" of cats who were thinking about "gettin into it," except the two cats somehow sounded meaner than usual.

Being a moonless night, I flipped on a spotlight fixture so I could see what was going on out there. I was quite surprised to see not house cats, but bobcats, squaring off and making truly nasty, scary noises. I quickly turned the light off again so, if they decided to turn physical, I wouldn't put the bobcat facing the blinding lights at a disadvantage.

Well, the felines "whhhaaarrr'ed" at each other a while longer, then all was quiet. Perhaps next time (and I'm sure there will be a next time), I'll try to take a picture that might be useful for a painting some day.

But this is one of the things I love about living in the desert. It's still rural enough here for these kinds of "wildlife moments" to happen for us to see. And it provides inspiration for art.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is It Real, or Is It...?

Pictured is one of my favorite species of lizards to "hide" in a desert painting.

It's a zebra-tailed lizard (Callisaurus draconoides), a species that is fairly common throughout the Southwestern deserts. I've seen them a number of times and have even been lucky enough to take some pictures of them before they disappear within the blink of an eye.

This particular individual, however, is a sculpture. It looks real, but it's made of polymer clay. (Polymer clay can be "fired" in a standard household oven, unlike dirt-style clay which must be fired in a high-temperature kiln). He (or she?) was made by an artist friend who for years has been making lizards, snakes, frogs and turtles. Lately she's been adding more colorful/decorative critters to her production.

The artist's name is Sandra Lee, and you can see what she's been up to here:

I have quite a collection of her sculptures, most of which have appeared in numerous paintings. These, plus with the help of the photos I've taken of these desert reptiles, have aided me greatly in adding just a little life to my desert artwork.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cactus Flower -- Future Painting

This little beauty was blooming last week, and I thought I should take a picture of it since this was the last bud. I knew it would wilt within a couple of days, and I wanted to get a photo with the cactus backlit.

Why backlit? I have an idea for a painting that involves a night scene with the full moon in the sky and this cactus in the foreground.

I don't know exactly when I'll get a chance to work on this particular idea. But when I do, I'll already have the materials I'll need when flowers are not available. Since it'll be a night scene, I'll be altering the colors, so an exact color match isn't necessary (although I did some color-matching for these flowers a long time ago when I painted a flower from life).

I've sometimes said in artist's statements: I live to paint; and when I'm not painting, I'm thinking about future paintings. That last point is what I was doing today: collecting reference material for the day when I'll need it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Busy Busy Busy!!!

...or is that bizzee bizzee bizzee?

I'm still working on getting paintings done, of course, but I spend more time these days marketing myself, especially via my Website.

Plus--we're preparing for a different kind of painting: the trim on the house needs to be scraped, primed and painted. Then I need to install rain gutters (which I removed the last time we painted but never replaced). We painted the trim a few years ago, but the paint didn't last -- we suspect water was running off the roof and leaking under the edge flashing. But we had the roof fixed up a year ago, so new trim paint should last longer.

Funny--this kind of painting doesn't give the same satisfaction as fine art-style painting. However, it'll be nice to get it done and the rain gutters put up.

Meanwhile, the promotion continues, and hopefully I'll have enough energy to do the type of painting I need to do!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wine and Sewage

I had to leave an online artists forum recently. I couldn't take it any more.

This particular forum offers quite a wide range of topics dealing with art. But the one I visited the most was the "Art Business" section because, like so many other artists, I'm trying to get answers about surviving financially as an artist, especially in this economy.

One of the "contributors" is a guy who makes little stained-glass sailboats and dragons. Frankly, he seems to be rather full of himself as he over-generalizes, provokes others to anger and can't really respond to disagreement; rather, he ignores it and continues to repeat the same tired comments he's become known for on that forum, or even accuses the disagreer of making personal attacks against him.

Others have already disappeared from the forum, and I'm just the latest. Some of what this guy says may be valid, but when so much of his approach seems counterintuitive or at least unrelated to other artists' experiences, it's hard to know what can be believed.

It reminded me of a pearl I picked up years ago:

If you add a spoonful of wine to a barrel of sewage, you have ... sewage.
If you add a spoonful of sewage to a barrel of wine, you have ... sewage.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Three Paintings at Once

Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm going to try to have three paintings going on at once!

Oil painters have been known to do this because of the drying times involved with oils. In my case, I'm in somewhat of a hurry to get these three particular paintings finished ASAP -- and I can't prioritize them, so I'll just HAVE to work on all three at the same time!

They are:

  1. A Joshua tree scene just before sunset, with a sky similar to the Yosemite National Park scene shown above;

  2. A second scene with Joshua trees, only it'll be done without all the transparent glazes. This piece will be offered on eBay or possibly some other online site other than my Website;

  3. A Christmas image, of all things: not that I'm thinking about Christmas these days, but this painting is intended for a Southwest-flavored Christmas card. I know of several companies that might pick this up, or I may self-publish the design and sell boxes of cards locally later this year.

In the meantime, I've got a lot of chores to do around the house. I've been letting things go because I've been trying to paint so much. But with the economy slowed down, the need to produce-produce-produce isn't as acute right now.

Of course, that doesn't mean I won't be going insane trying to do all this stuff. Wish me luck!

Friday, May 8, 2009

ANOTHER Website Revision!

I spent most of the day revising my Website again. I decided the nine paintings I featured, three under each of the three categories, weren't enough.

So I lengthed the pages so I could show more paintings. Also, on the "Desert Paintings" page, I included some of my works the galleries have on hand right now, along with links to the galleries.

So if you haven't seen the site lately (or especially since Wednesday, 6 May), stop by and pay it a visit: or

If you have any comments or questions, comment me here or send an e-mail via the Website.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Painting of Another Favorite Mountain Range

In my previous post, I showed a recent painting of one of my favorite mountain ranges: the Sneffels Range in Colorado. (I wish I would have spent a LOT more time in that area while we actually lived in Colorado!)

The piece I've shown now is the Sonoyta Range which is in Mexico. I'm actually in the USA, viewing this scene from within Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona.

Besides the rugged appearance, the range features a peak (Punto Sonoyta -- Sonoyta Peak) in the middle and then drops away on either side of that peak. This makes it easy to make the Sonoyta Peak a center of interest, which I normally do whenever I paint these mountains. All of the other elements -- cactus, flowers, shadows -- function to set off the distant symbol of a rugged place.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mount Sneffels in Colorado

Ah! I FINALLY finished updating my Website. I hope everything is working OK. Do me a favor: go there and buy about five paintings so I can make sure everything's working OK. =)

In the meantime, I posted some new paintings on the site besides revamping its look. One of the paintings appears here -- it's a scene of the Sneffels Range near Telluride, Colorado. Mount Sneffels is the tall peak right of center and is one of Colorado's "14'ers," meaning it's over 14,000 feet high (that's about 4.3km for you metric folks).

(That reminds me -- I meant to show both English and metric units for the sizes of the paintings on my Website. I'll have to fix that soon!)

The link in the first paragraph should work, but just in case, the site URLs are: