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)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Autumn in the Mojave

Autumn in the Mojave is my latest painting (although lately it has felt more like winter in the Mojave!)

Mojave, desert, landscape, painting, art, joshua trees, Joshua Tree National Park,clouds, fog, wildflowers, rabbitbrush
Autumn in the Mojave           11" x 14" / 28cm x 36cm
The scene is based on a view in Joshua Tree National Park in southern California, USA. It's rare to see the desert like this even when it rains, but it certainly does happen. The landscape is brightened by autumn-blooming wildflowers -- the larger rabbitbrush and the smaller desert marigold in the immediate foreground.

The desert is an amazing place with many different moods, visible to those who spend lots of time here and are fortunate enough to catch the land during its fleeting moments of magic and mystery.

Mark Junge (for prints)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Tropical Paradise (?!?)

When I was much younger, single and foolish, I was very much into "The Polynesian Look" -- not so much the little grass shack look, but with some remnants of life in that tropical paradise known as French Polynesia, particularly Tahiti Nui and the surrounding islands, especially Moorea and Bora Bora.

I used to drive by places (like apartments) that featured tropical/Polynesian landscaping. At night, some of them lit up tiki torches and, in one case, a small, natural gas-powered volcano. My favorite area at Disneyland was Adventure Land with the Enchanted Tiki Room, and -- in time -- the Tahitian Terrace Restaurant where they featured Tahitian dances and drumming at night. I loved listening to Martin Denny -- music with bird and animal sounds, as well as exotic musical instruments.

I even joined a Polynesian song and dance ensemble which I really enjoyed, but the funny thing is: I seemed to lose the romanticized images I had of the Islands. Maybe it all became too realistic, and even today I've never recaptured the romantic visions I had of being in Tahiti, or Hawai'i, for that matter. (Now, I'm into the Southwest and the deserts).

Today, as an artist, I would like to paint a landscape that will be somewhat imaginary but based on photos I've seen. (I've never been to these places I used to dream about). It will take time to paint all the vegetation and leaves and stuff, and I probably would not want to sell it. But who knows -- maybe it will resurrect the passion I used to feel for French Polynesia.

art, painting, Polynesia, polynesian, island, Tahiti, tropical, paradise, mountains
A View in Otaheite Peha                                                 John Webber

This painting is NOT by me, but it should serve as inspiration for the mood-inducing piece I'd like to create. This piece is A View in Otaheite Peha, John Webber (British), 1785. Beautiful, isn't it?

My painting will be a view looking down a white-sand beach around sunset, with a young lady walking across the sand and (maybe) some dancers in the background. It'll be a lot of work, but I think I can do it.

I know I'll never get to Tahiti -- it would be too much for me these days to deal with on a number of levels, plus we're too poor for that kind of stuff! But a painting of an idealistic Tahiti might be tropical paradise enough for me!

Mark Junge (prints)

One last thing: I now have some small paintings on check 'em out and see wotcha think!


Sunday, November 11, 2018


Sedona is the title of my latest painting. It depicts Cathedral Rocks just outside of Sedona, AZ. The size is 8" x 10" / 20cm x 25cm.

Sedona, Oak Creek, Oak Creek Crossing, Cathedral Rocks, red rocks, AZ, Arizona, clouds, cloud shadows, autumn, fall, water, reflection, blue sky, Southwest, southwestern
Sedona                                                8" x 10"

Besides being a beautiful area, Sedona, Arizona is reputed to be a place of mystical energy and vortexes and such. I won't pretend I understand all that, but I'm hoping I captured just a little of that mystery.

I'll soon be sending this to the gallery in Wickenburg, AZ. In case you'd like to visit this and other paintings of mine, here is the address and telephone number:

60WestGallery Fine Arts
220 E. Wickenburg Way
Wickenburg, AZ

Maybe I'll bump into you there! Thank you for your support!

Mark Junge (prints)

Thursday, October 25, 2018


It's less than a week until Halloween, a day I enjoy even though Christians aren't supposed to. 😇

I do all kinds of things to "get me in the mood," so to speak, and I decided to watch some videos of movies that -- if not Halloween-themed -- at least touch on the supernatural and afterlife.

Today, I watched Ghost -- not exactly scary, but a very moving love story. Patrick Swayze, as Sam, spends most of his time as the deceased -- a ghost who continues to love Molly (Demi Moore). A beautiful story!

Ghost, movie, Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, afterlife, death, eternity, love
Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze

Movies like this make me wonder what life after death is really like. The Bible and other religious references don't go into much detail, but Near Death Experiences and sightings / interactions with alleged "ghosts" imply there's more to being deceased than meets the eye.

The movie raises some questions that we science geeks tend to ask. Sam the ghost can pass through walls, doors, even people; yet, gravity apparently still affects him and the other ghosts in the movie. He doesn't float away, doesn't sink into the floor or street (even when he falls), and is able to run, walk and move along on subway cars, so friction must be a quality that affects ghosts, too.

Do ghosts exist among the living on the planet? I can't say -- there's no experimental evidence one way or the other to say they exist or they don't. But some people have had experiences with poltergeists, and at least one gal I know says she hears the voices of the departed -- and I have no reason at this time to think she's pulling my leg.

I do believe in a heaven and a hell, but maybe there's a "limbo" state where certain souls of the deceased wait until Judgement Day. Or maybe everyone who dies goes straight into the limbo state, awaiting the decision to allow them to enter heaven or be cast into hell.

There's only one way to find out, but I suspect I would be unable to blog about what's "on the other side," or behind the veil, or whatever, as Sam learned to do as a ghost. So I'll just keep wondering!

Mark Junge (prints)


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Joshua Tree Rocks!

I don't know if Joshua Tree Rocks! is a phrase that would be understood a hundred years from now -- the whole double entendre thing -- but it's the title of my latest painting!

Joshua Tree National Park, wildflowers,clouds, boulders, monzogranite,afternoon,blue sky, skies, cloud shadows
Joshua Tree Rocks!                   16" x 20" / 41cm x 51cm

The title refers to a site located in Joshua Tree National Park in California, USA and the many collections of monzogranite rock formations arising out of the otherwise flat earth. Joshua trees, the Park's namesake, are scattered about, and following winter rains, the place gets wildflowers like these in April or May.

Admittedly, I've never seen many flowers in this particular place. Nearby, yes, but not here. Also, the yellow-flowered shrubs, goldenbush, were once plentiful, but most of them seem to have disappeared even after heavy winter rains. I think the ongoing drought has forced many of them to die, which is unfortunate.

I painted the scene to make the rock formation the center of interest. We artists know how to do things like that, y'know! 😀

In the end, I wanted a beautiful, warm (but not hot) view of a place I love. Enjoy your mini-vacation!

Mark Junge (for prints)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ready for the Gallery

OK -- the five paintings I've been slaving over for months are finished, varnished and framed. They're ready for the gallery.

snow, desert, Arches National park, Four Peaks Mountain, Maroon Bells, fall, autumn, aspen, Colorado, CO, Arizona, AZ, Utah, UT, Monument Valley, Yei Bi Chei, The Totem, red rocks, cactus, saguaro, desert, landscape, mountains, desert bighorn sheep, great horned owl

It may not seem like much, but it takes a long time when one paints the way I do. I paint in transparent layers, so it's like doing the same painting over and over and over again! The results are worth it, but it's not for those who want to get a lot done in a short time period!

I'll repeat the gallery's address plus their phone number which I didn't have last time:

60WestGallery Fine Arts
220 E Wickenburg Way
Wickenburg, AZ

The gallery's "soft opening" is October 11, 2018. If nothing goes wrong, I should have my paintings there in time, along with several other artists plus the owner who is himself an artist. 

I can't come for the opening (or the grand opening in November), but I'll be there in spirit -- and my paintings will be there! I hope you have a chance to drop by and see the offerings.

Mark Junge (for prints)


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Last of the Snow Paintings -- for Now!!

Well, I finished up the last of the five paintings with snow in the landscapes for the new gallery in Wickenburg, AZ. It's kind of nice to have that pressure done with! We'll deliver them to the gallery in time for the "soft" opening and may still be there by the grand opening in November. If they don't sell first!

Totem Pole, Yei Bi Chei Rocks, Monument Valley,red rock, Arizona, AZ, snow, clouds,rabbitbrush flowers, cloud shadows, desert landscape painting, winter
Totem    24" x 30" / 61cm x 76cm

Totem refers to the tall, skinny spire on the right. (The Yei Bi Chei Rocks are to the left and are named for the supernatural beings who bring healing to people during medicinal ceremonies even today).

Four peaks mountain, Scottsdale, phoenix, AZ, Arizona, morning, clouds, cloud shadows, saguaro cactus, snow, winter, desert landscape painting
Four Peaks   24" x 30" / 61cm x 76cm
Four Peaks is a mountain located east of Scottsdale, AZ and north of the Superstition Mountains and Apache Junction. (From this angle, only three of the four peaks are visible). I love being here in March when the wildflowers are going to town and when the Peaks may have a little snow on them yet. (I hope to do a painting of that soon).

But in winter on rare occasions, this area can get light snow on the desert floor and lots of snow in the mountains.

These two paintings plus the previous three will be shown in the soon-to-be-open 60West Gallery in Wickenburg, AZ. I don't believe they have a telephone number or website yet, but the address is as follows:

60WestGallery Fine Art
220 E Wickenburg Way
Wickenburg, AZ

The gallery is far enough away where I don't expect to be there very often, except to drop off paintings. But I hope you'll be able to stop by and see these works in the flesh!

Mark Junge


Thursday, September 20, 2018


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.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 (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.


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.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.FineArtAmerica (prints)