Painting by the River and Encountering Human Flies

So today I went to paint by the river.

When you paint outdoors you never paint alone. There’s always something that happens. Often some kind of annoyance or discomfort. 

It could be elemental like a freezing cold wind or it could be an insect such as a mosquito or little flies that want to explore your nostrils and of course there are always people.

Most people are okay but some are strange.

Today I had a boy cycling around me while I was painting. He was making a circuit with me at the center. 

I admit it, I felt a little irritated. Well, I’m quite an irritable person to be honest. But I also know that you can never be sure about people and it is essential to suspend judgement.

In fact, no judgement is probably the best judgement of all as you never really understand other people and this was the case here.

 After circling around me about ten or more times, I lost count, he sat down on the steps behind me and started sketching. The pest had become a fellow artist.

It was great to see this young boy sketch and he spent a good hour I think sketching. He must really have the passion like myself.

I didn’t speak to him but when he left I did a bow (I’m so Japanese on occasion) and yet he didn’t even acknowledge me. Fine, no problem. It was just great to see someone so young with a passion for art and to even be drawing outside.

And I myself had a great time and managed to do three paintings.

The rain was constantly threatening to come down and there were a few drops. But luckily it held off until my last painting when it started to rain a little. It was, though, just a brief shower and by the time I had reached home it had finished.

That’s all.


This story was originally written in July of 2014. I’m editing it in February of 2021. There was no painting with this article so I added a painting without a story of its own to go with it but which was of the same river and which I painted during the same year this story was written. It also shows a sky, like in the story, where there is the threat of rain. I have to admit too, that I like this painting very much and am glad to be able to show it.

Gareth Naylor

I am an Englishman living and painting in Japan. I have now been here for over 17 years and have been painting for all that time. I love to travel around the Japanese countryside and find beautiful places to paint.

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