As I walked through the galleries at the North Carolina Museum of Art, trying to figure out which painting out of thousands to write a response on, I have to admit I was stuck. I appreciated all of the art work for its individual style and mood, but nothing specific had spoken to me. Then I turned into the American wing and there hanging on the crimson wall was a vision of tropical paradise. It was Louis Remy Minot's painting, Landscape in Ecuador.

From far away the painting looks like a beautiful indescript landscape. Upon walking closer, however, you first see the giant palm tree in the foreground which tells you that this is a tropical landscape. Although the intended focal point of this painting can be debated, the painting's features include snow-capped mountains, misty plains, a river, a waterfall and copious amounts of exotic foliage. I could almost feel my rain soaked clothes drying just by standing before the tropic heat exuding from the painting.

Upon closer inspection I found myself wishing that I could be transported into the scene. .

I could feel the misty warmth of the air, smell the flora and plant life, and hear the birds flying overhead. But this is not a particularly relaxing vacation sort of spot, it is a dangerous paradise. The steep hills and rough terrain tell of a long and hard journey to the village in the distant background. The clinging vines and reaching ferns almost take over the foreground of the painting and I can imagine how someone would have to wield a mean machete in order to hack their way through. However, the aqueduct bridge in the mid-field of the painting is almost like a beacon of human existence in this wild untamed landscape-it is a mid point in the journey to the village. .

Continuing on my hike of this foreign territory, the journey gets easier, the terrain less rocky and overgrown. Only a few small hills and valleys and the traveler be at the little village, where no doubt since there is smoke coming from a chimney, there will be a hot meal waiting.