Art Journal

Art Journal

Painting Journal of a Watercolor Artist.

Watercolor painting of Kuju, a beautiful national park in Oita prefecture, Japan. I saw this scene in December 2018. It was a rainy day and suddenly the sun came out.


I must have painted the picture above over 30 or 40 times until it worked. I wasn’t sure it would work.


100の都市の風景の絵のプロジェクト。これは9番の絵です。タイトルは "Morning Cyclist".


I intended to do 100 paintings of urban scenes but I only did about 30.


Watercolor painting of a rickshaw on a beautiful sunny day. This is a scene from Yufuin in Oita Prefecture, Japan in autumn.


I focused a lot on rickshaws during this year. They are so difficult to paint.


Watercolor painting of a beach. Treaddur Bay, Wales.


First trip back home to England after years in Japan. And first real holiday. Went to Wales.



I did a series on this beautiful Japanese river in Kumamoto.



Painted Nyudogumo – maybe it’s called a thunderhead. This was probably my best painting of the year.



I got stuck all night on a mountain. 


Dazzling light on a forest path.


Beautiful green rice fields near Inukai – from a long cycling trip.

Why did I start an art journal?

This is probably a waste of time. That at least is the thought that holds me back from doing this – and it could be right. Time will tell. 

So I’m writing this in May of 2019 and I’ve been painting for about 20 years and although I’ve done a blog for the last several years on and off – mostly off – I’ve near been able to keep to a consistent journal. I wonder if that will change this time.

Creativity is messy

So the reason for starting an art journal is because creativity is messy and it can soon get out of control – especially if you are creative for 20 years. So the art journal is an attempt at controlling this chaotic flow of creativity.

I became so swamped by my creations that I felt like I was drowning in them. It often surprises me to see gurus offering courses on developing your creativity – let me tell you now, there is a dark side to being creative.

I have a friend who rents a huge building that use to be a restaurant (until it got flooded, there is still wallpaper hanging from the ceiling) and it is filled with his artworks. Everywhere you look you can see his work. I vividly remember chatting with him and being aware of all that artwork around us – there must have been hundreds of pieces.

Culling my creations 

For me it was time to “cull the creativity”. Or rather “cull the creations”. So I sorted through 20 years of work. I have periodically culled my work but I still had hundreds of paintings. It was difficult, painful and time-consuming but at last I culled about, at a guess, 60 to 70% of my work. I can’t tell you what a relief I felt.

What remains of my work is stored in just 2 boxes now with silica gel to protect it from the intense humidity you get in Japan. Although I might get one more box for future creations!

However, what is left is still a substantial body of work which I hope to show here. It needs though to be organized and that is what I hope this journal will help me to do. Also I have written many blog posts related to some of these paintings that are now scattered over different sites, on my computer hard drive and in paper files that I hope to put in order.

Momentous task 

It’s going to be a momentous task – perhaps I am really wasting my time. But I will devote about 30 to 60 minutes a day. Let’s see what happens. I will stop though if the whole project seems to go sour.

One of the big problems is that I am not very sure when I painted some of my pictures. So I can’t promise absolute fidelity to the time of creation but I will try to be fairly accurate. Also some works got spread over a long period of time and became a series. Furthermore, I was working upon them sporadically so these are difficult to date. And then there are the one offs that just came out beautifully but I have forgotten when exactly I did them. Also the date of when I actually went to a place and when I did a painting of that place can be very far apart – even years apart – I will try to let you know that when I am aware of it myself.

Final hope

My final hope for this project is that it will give structure to my creativity and in such a way that it will improve my creativity and also help me learn more about the creative process.

I have the fear though that creativity and organization don’t mix well. I fear that creativity is messy by nature – we shall see. And so I fear that by trying to be organized with my creativity I might affect my creativity for the worse – again, we shall see.

I hope you enjoy this journal.