Jungle Elephant is a new painting in my jungle animal series for my Heni’s Happy Paintings Etsy shop. He is a royal white elephant walking up through the bamboo forest in Northern Thailand. The white elephant is considered sacred and a symbol for royal power there.
Years ago when my husband and I were hiking in Northern Thailand we kept noticing large round holes on the trail, after a while it dawned on us these holes were elephant tracks. The sun filtered lush bamboo forests are lovely and it was quite an adventure even though we never saw the elephants. I put in a full moon in this painting, as a fun memory of an experience we had in Chaing Mai. One evening we were eating at an outdoor cafe when I looked up and noticed the full moon that was being eclipsed, a large shadow was crossing it. I tried to motion to our server to let her know and she smiled and said “moon” probably thinking that I was pointing out the full moon, not realizing that a lunar eclipse was happening. The area was filled with people eating and strolling and it seemed we were the only ones aware of the eclipse. It was such a magical evening.
I painted this royal white elephant for my sister who has a collection of white elephants. She was the one that inspired us to travel to Southeast Asia. She had traveled through Thailand after her stint with the Peace Corps in the Solomon Islands. I’m so glad she gave us the idea. The year we spent traveling was such an enriching experience. It helped me view life and art in a more holistic way. Thanks Melissa!
My new painting, Jungle Crocodileis the second in the jungle series for my Heni’s Happy Paintings Etsy Shop. I wanted a sunny river’s edge scene with the crocodile heading into the water that would contrast and compliment the moonlit tiger scene painting. There are many scary jungle stories of having to cross a river filled with hungry crocodiles, Tarzan episodes come to mind. One of my favorite books from early childhood was Serafina the Giraffe by Laurent de Brunhoff, a story about a young giraffe who goes to visit her grandmother in the jungle. She has various adventures with her friends which include a rabbit, kangaroo, frog and crocodile . My favorite page is shown below, that tree house seemed so amazing to me at the time. Later in the story the nice crocodile friend saves them from the mean crocodile with help from the kangaroo. All these years later I still remember the nice crocodile friend and how the story inspired me to want to visit the jungle some day. I hope you like this crocodile; I think he is a nice one.
Here is my new painting of a tiger in the night, it’s another child friendly painting for my shop. I chose the tiger for a couple of reasons. When our girl was ready to enter prekindergarten, two local public schools were just starting Montessori programs. We were very fortunate to get our girl into one of those programs, a wonderful elementary school where she received a solid Montessori foundation. The school mascot was the tiger. Large blue tiger paw prints were painted on the walk to the school entrance. Tiger murals went up, the children wore tiger t shirts on special tiger spirit days. They really tried to make the school a fun and happy place to learn. We still live just a block from the school and I want to donate some of these tiger prints to the PTA for the yearly silent auction.
My husband and I also have a special tiger memory from our travels in Southeast Asia. We were in northern Sumatra staying in a small guest house on the edge of their National Rainforest Park. It was late in the night when suddenly we heard an animal squeal and then dogs madly barking. It was quite unsettling and took us a while to fall back to sleep. In the morning at breakfast we were trying to ask our host who didn’t speak English what happened, he motioned for us to come with him. A short walk later he showed us a humongous paw print of a Sumatran tiger in a muddy spot next to a spring. The tiger had killed one of their goats in the night. That day we hiked up into the lush rainforest vegetation where we saw monkeys and large fruit bats. The highlights of our day were watching a mom and baby orangutan as they foraged for fruits and taking a dip in some hot water springs. But I must say we made sure to get back to our guest house by night fall.