Gareth Naylor

Atmospheric paintings of Japan

Painting of a Japanese shrine from my long-ago bicycle adventures

Painting of a Japanese shrine from my long ago bicycle adventures

Painting of a Japanese shrine from my long-ago bicycle adventures
“Picturesque Japanese shrine”

I know the place in this painting very well.

But I don’t know when I painted this picture.

It is a very old painting.

I could have painted this picture as far back as 2010.

At that time I was getting on my bicycle and cycling deep into the Japanese countryside.

I was looking for scenes to paint.

I had many adventures.

And at that time of my life I could cycle all day.

And sometimes I would cycle all day and find nothing to paint.

I’ll always remember the route that I would take.

It led from Oita river path to a big road.

This road went through a very long tunnel that slanted downwards.

That tunnel was like an echo chamber.

And the engines of the vehicles reverberated loudly throughout the length of the tunnel.

And this road led to a very long and wide river called Ono river.

It was a great river to cycle along.

And following this river, I could go deep into the Japanese countryside.

I call this period of bicycle painting adventures my wilderness years.

It was a period of exploring the Japanese countryside for beautiful scenes to paint.

And it was a period of improving my watercolor painting skills.

I experienced a lot of frustration in those years but it was also exciting.

Anyway, it was on one of these trips that I discovered this shrine.

I was so delighted because I thought this shrine was very beautiful.

And the painting above was done on the spot.

I used to take all my painting equipment with me in those days, even my easel.

I was so serious!

At that time, I was pleased with this painting.

But nowadays I don’t think it is such a good painting.

And you are lucky to see this painting.

Because I would like to throw away this painting.

I only keep it because it is one of my few remaining paintings from my bicycle painting adventures.

That said, I think there are some good points about this painting.

The composition is quite interesting.

And the buildings look good. 

I like the combination of warm orange and cool blue on the roof.

That is particularly good.

But the trees and bushes don’t look good.

They look messy and overcomplicated. 

If the trees and bushes were simplified then this might be a very good painting.

However, I feel no strong desire to improve this painting.

At one time I would have forced myself to paint the picture again.

But nowadays, I think that it’s important to paint something only if I feel a desire to paint.

This is because desire contains energy, excitement and interest. 

And in my opinion when you have energy, excitement and interest then there is much more chance of painting a beautiful work of art.

That’s all,

Gareth.