Art Journal 2014

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Panoramic Road

I have painted this road many times so it has become a series. This painting might be the first or one of the early ones of this series. It is such an interesting road because it has a panoramic view of the city. The right hand side of the road has been for a long time a waste land and that’s what has give this panoramic view. Such views are very unusual in Japan where things normally feel cramped and clustered. They are now going to change the area on the right into a park. I hope it won’t destroy the panoramic view.


Plum Blossom

I was so delighted with this painting. For some reason I was able to paint the foliage really well. This is a small, quiet village in Wasada, Oita prefecture, Japan. It is next to a very large park that I often visit with my family. Unlike most Japanese gardens that are small, hidden affairs behind high walls the house on the right had no wall and a large, beautiful – somewhat – wildish garden. You can also see the pink flowers which are plum blossom. I find them more beautiful than cherry blossom. They bloom just before the cherry blossom and are an early sign of spring. 


Traditional Japanese Building

This is a traditional Japanese building in Yufuin with a thatched roof. I came to Japan to see buildings like this. I was really naïve when I first came to Japan in 1999 as a 30 year old man. I thought that I would be living in a rice field in some old style Japanese building. Yes, that naïve. The delusions some of us have. It was a while before I got to see some of the old style Japanese buildings, such as this one, and they are really beautiful and so distinctive.


Stroll through the Cherry Blossom

Although the cherry blossom in Japan does look beautiful it is hard to find a place where the surroundings are equally beautiful. This is why in Japan they often show you a close up of a few cherry blossoms because they don’t want you to see the big concrete building behind the cherry blossom tree or the huge garish billboard. This is one of those rare places where the surrounding scenery is beautiful. It is by Oita river bank. It is only a narrow strip but it was enough to create a feeling of a beautiful area.


Yabakei in Spring Time

I traveled to Yabakei which is a very beautiful rural place. I took a long route though via country roads. I often thought during that trip that I would never arrive at his place but I did. I didn’t find quite the beautiful view that I wanted to see but it was still a fun adventure.


Watercolor painting of a Japanese beach in Itogahama, Oita prefecture.

Fisherman at Itogahama Beach

I went to an interesting beach called Itogahama. I’ve now done many paintings of this beach so this is also a series. This is one of my favorites because of the simplicity of colors which I find very beautiful.



A Japanese Festival in the Rain

This is Nagahama festival. It begins every year during the rainy season and I think it is the first festival in the city, possibly the prefecture. I wanted to show this festival in the rain because it looks so beautiful.



Nyuudogumo. What a fantastic name. And what an amazing thing. I had no idea what this was called in English, I didn’t even think there was a word for it, but somebody told me that it’s called a thunderhead. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this in England. This is Oita river and about 5 minutes from my house by bicycle.

A Rough Sea Day

A river is very near my house. Via that river I can reach the sea in about 15 minutes. The route used to have a few tricky bits before you arrived at a huge concrete wall that stretches for a kilometer or more and which you can cycle along. The view is amazing, especially as you can see sunsets across Beppu bay from this position and the sun sinking down behind the mountains around Beppu. I have had many special moments sitting on this wall painting sunsets. On this particular occasion though it was a dramatic and rather stormy sea scene that I could see.


Small, Quiet Fishing Port in Western Oita at Evening Time

I actually took this photo a long time ago. And then one day, I decided to paint it. And it just worked first time off – that’s such a nice feeling. It’s also quite a rare experience for me.


The Beautiful Islands of Sasebo

Once again I painted the beautiful islands of Sasebo in Nagasaki. I am almost in love with this place. It is just so beautiful. After taking a boat trip around these islands we went by car up a mountain to a viewing spot. From there we saw a beautiful sunset.


Yufudake Mountain at Night

A word of advice. Never paint the sunset on top of a mountain and forget to bring a phone or a torch with you. This is what I did. As I started to come down the mountain I never realized how quickly it would go from evening dusk to pitch black. At first it wasn’t so bad because I was coming down a path through low bushes. But lower down it became dense forest and it became pitch black. Also the path was stony, zig-zagging and had big, dangerous drops. At some points I almost lost the path and eventually felt lost. So I just gave up and stopped and waited until morning. I think this happened around the end of October or early November. The painting above was inspired by this experience.

Japanese Haystacks in Shonai

I was delighted when I saw these Japanese haystacks in Shonai. Shonai is a town between where I live and Yufuin a tourist town. I often travel to Yufuin in order to paint, or at least I intend to, as I often never arrive in Yufuin because I see something in Shonai that looks like it will make a good painting, such as these haystacks, and so I end up painting in Shonai and never reaching Yufuin. I don’t mind, though, as long as I make a good painting.


Snow Scene

Now I am looking at images of snow scenes in order to make Christmas cards. I saw a picture I liked and then modified it a lot into my own image and created the painting above.

Japanese Street in Early Winter

I love to the paint urban scenes. And I often used to cycle around the city and paint scenes I liked. What caught my interest with this scene was the contrast between the warm color of the leaves on the trees and their splotchy pattern against the cool gray of the surrounding roads and buildings. Sadly I no longer have this painting. In fact, this is the only image I have and it is unfortunately slightly blurry.