What Does it Mean?

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“It’s a Jungle Out There,” acrylic, 18″ x 14″

Have you ever looked at an abstract painting and wondered what the artist was thinking when it was painted?  It is sometimes hard to tell.  Often there is just a vague general title with a number after it, which makes me think the artist has as much trouble as I usually do thinking of names for my creations.  But the painting above is an exception.  I knew immediately what I would call it.

This painting came about from both a sketch and a photo taken on our recent trip to New Zealand.  I was sitting in the visitors’ center at Mount Egmont on the North Island.  The day was cold and overcast.  The students in our group were hiking part way up the mountain.  Hiking any distance uphill does not appeal to me any more so I sat inside at a table drinking a mochachino and waiting.  When I looked up at the window I was amazed.  The temperature outside must have been about 40 degrees–it’s winter in New Zealand in May–but here was brightly colored tropical foliage.

I took out my sketching supplies, which included colored pencils.  I also took a photo with husband’s camera.  When we returned from New Zealand the first painting I did from my sketches was the one pictured above.  I knew right away what I would call it, “It’s a Jungle Out There.”  If you watched the TV series about a detective named Monk, you might remember that phrase from the program’s theme song.  Mr. Monk was a man who was afraid of many things.  To him the world around him was a scary place.  In my painting the woodlike frame is painted as part of the composition to show that the jungle is “out there.”  But in my painting “out there” is not scary.  With its bright colors and interesting shapes it calls us to come out and explore.  Who knows what we might find?

 

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