Gareth Naylor

Atmospheric paintings of Japan

Painting of car headlights on a country road at dusk by Gareth Naylor

Painting of car headlights on a country road at dusk

I live next to a busy road in a Japanese city called Oita.

I hate it.

I want to escape this place and go and live in nature. 

And the best thing to do in nature is farming.

Or rather, that is probably the only thing I can do there.

So recently, I traveled to a place called Nakatsu to meet two women who were going to teach me about organic farming.

They live in a big house at the bottom of a hill and next to rice fields.

The rice fields were a golden yellow color.

And the rice was being harvested.

It was a beautiful place.

As is the Japanese custom, I gave them a gift – which was some cakes.

We had a bit of a chat.

And then the two women gave me some interesting compost to take home with me.

It was light, dry blocks of rotten wood upon which mushrooms had been grown.

They told me that it was excellent compost.

And they gave me a lot of it.

After that the two women took me to their field.

I thought it would be next to their house, but it was actually quite far away and we had to go by car.

Here they are growing green peppers, sweet potatoes and bitter melons – which they call goya in Japanese.

I helped them pick some vegetables.

And aftewards, they generously gave me some of their vegetables.

I was delighted to receive this organic produce.

This place though was very remote, very empty of human life and very quiet. 

And I wondered if I would be able to live here by myself and be okay. 

I could see myself becoming terribly lonely.

However, I still want to try living in the Japanese countryside.

Anyway, after that they took me to a roadside station.

Here they recommended vegetable plants that would be good to grow in my garden.

I bought these plants and some vegetables.

I also bought some locally produced pickled plums and stick-shaped cheesecakes for my wife and daughter.

My daughter loves salty foods like pickled plums and sweet things like cheesecakes.

Coming home I had the good fortune to see a beautiful scene of car headlights on a winding country road and a beautiful evening sky in the background.

I took a photo and later at home I did the painting above.

The photograph though didn’t capture very well the brillance of the scene.

At least in my mind, in the actual scene there was a very strong contrast of a warm orange evening sky against blue gray clouds. 

So in the painting, I did my best to emphasize that contrast – even perhaps exaggerate it.

I’m quite happy with the result.

But one day I might have another go.

That’s all for now,