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"A Jungle Affair" 16" x 20" Acrylic on Stretched Canvas Copyright Melissa Stinson

“A Jungle Affair”
16″ x 20″
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
Copyright Melissa Stinson

In February of 2004, I took a trip with my aunt to two fabulous countries, Thailand and Cambodia.  It was a trip of a lifetime, to say the least.  Before this trip, I had lived a short time in Germany on a student exchange and spent some time in a couple of places in the States, namely Las Vegas and Disneyland… Of course both Germany (other than the language barrier) and the States are relatively the same as Canada in a lot of respects so there really weren’t any problems with the whole culture shock thing.  Thailand and Cambodia, however, well now THAT was an adventure!  I was so excited to be going overseas to a completely different place and stepping out of my comfort zone.  Obviously, as one does, we did a fair amount of traveling in Thailand (and yes, also a three day jaunt over to Cambodia).  We spent the vast majority of our time between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, surrounded by lush jungles, Wats (Buddhist temples), and wildlife.  Taking in the sights of Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Khao Yai National Park (Yes, I saw the waterfall that Leo DiCaprio jumped over in the movie “The Beach” and it was BEAUTIFUL).  We took numerous tuk tuk rides, enjoyed a couple of jungle treks (both daytime and nighttime), took a million (and by that I mean a couple of thousand) pictures, and did A LOT of shopping (how can one resist the fantastic array of colours and items that one would only find in expensive specialty stores here in Canada? I mean, come on!).  This trip opened my eyes to the glorious world that surrounds us and made me appreciate life, in all forms, so much more than I previously had.  This painting, which took me 150+ hours to complete, is my first (this may turn into a series, we’ll see 😉 ) attempt to honor such an important time in my life and to also honor an absolutely stunning country, Thailand.  Most of the pieces in this painting come from my own photographs. I saw so much lush greenery, many twisty vines, and tree trunks.  I saw elephants both captive *SAD* and wild.  Flowers everywhere, fabulous blue skies, and, of course, A LOT of sun… It… was… HOT.  There was so much more that I just couldn’t jam into this painting, hence my wanting to do another one, or two, or ten paintings about this trip.  I was afraid that if I added too much more, my canvas would literally tell me to get a life and then defenestrate itself…. I made it as insane as I felt was healthy.  I played around with a lot of names, “Thai Jungle Explosion”, “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Jungle Fever”… But finally settled on “A Jungle Affair”.  The secretive meeting of two elephants, moving towards a loving embrace.  My mom and husband both thought that the lines in the painting seemed quite sensual… I guess I can see that.  I will leave it to you to decide how you feel about it all.  In the mean time, may this painting bring you utter joy and inspiration in whatever you may be doing today.  Xo Happy Trails.