Gareth Naylor

Atmospheric paintings of Japan

Watercolor painting of construction work by a Japanese river by Gareth Naylor

Painting of construction work by a Japanese river

This painting is a little gem for me.

But let’s begin at the beginning.

So I walk by my local river everyday.

It’s something I love to do.

It’s also a place to get away from vehicles of which there are way too many in Japan.

But recently the vehicles have found their way to the river.

There is a lot of construction going on down at the river now.

And it has become quite a busy place where I see diggers, trucks, vans, cars and even an electric bus.

It worries me because they are building a permanent road there where before there used to be just a rough gravel track. 

They’ve already got a road along one section which they recently built but it looks like they might extend this.

It also looks like they are building car parks too, in which case they really have spoiled this area.

It’s some more green space gone from the prefecture that says it loves forests. 

To be honest, I think they only love forests because this is a very rural prefecture.

I have to admit though that the riverside can become very wild and overgrown. 

There are areas with incredibly dense clusters of trees and bamboo trees covered in some kind of creeper.

It doesn’t look pretty.

But there were other areas where there were just a few trees and it looked quite nice. 

In a lot of areas though they removed everything and made it totally flat.

The Japanese don’t mess around when they do something.

One thing I’ve learnt as an artist though who lives in the city is to look for beauty wherever I can or failing that just look for what is visually interesting.

Normally I find the latter in Japan.

So anyways, I was walking by the river and I saw this scene of a digger and a work man and I thought it looked interesting.

I know it’s not your normal painting subject.

I think the soft cool blue background and the warm yellow foreground of the grass made the overall color and feel of the painting nice.

I got that soft background by first painting the objects, leaving them to dry, and then painting a warm wash over the top of them. 

I used a watery mix of yellow ochre and alizarin crimson.

And the road with the digger, worker, cones and whatnot added an interesting element of objects and busyness.

Another interesting feature were the long shadows cast by elevated railway lines.

I really liked the effect of these shadows. 

It may look a little strange but I like it.

Next time I might make those shadowy lines even stronger and have the worker partially disappearing into the shadows. 

I could perhaps also do with another worker figure.

I now have a small collection of paintings of construction workers.

I might at some point make a mini-gallery of construction workers on my website.

That’s all for now,

Gareth.