Gareth Naylor

Atmospheric paintings of Japan

This is a painting of rays of light passing through trees in a Japanese park. This is a painting by Gareth Naylor. This place is Ueno park in Oita prefecture, Japan.

Painting rays of light passing through trees in a Japanese park

A few years ago I went with my wife and daughter to a family walking event.

It was at a park around the art museum in a district called Ueno.

The park is situated on a hill.

And it has a path that leads you through a densely forested area with some open glades.

When we arrived we found a small group of dads, mums and excited children.

I noticed that even though we were only going to walk around a small park, many of the parents were fully kitted out with professional hiking gear.

Having the best gear and the whole set, is something Japanese people like to do.

Anyway, it was a nice day out.

And along the path there were various interesting things to see.

The most interesting of which, at least for me, was the pond.

This seemingly innocuous pond was full of crabs.

I was told there were about a 1000 in it.

Which was impressive because it was a small pond.

I was further told that these crabs had come from America.

They are called “zarigani” in Japanese.

In English, they are called crayfish. 

And these crabs are nasty as they like to pinch.

One man took one out and showed us.

As you can imagine the kids were thrilled.

And then he did what we all wanted to see.

He let the crab pinch his finger.

And he couldn’t completely conceal a wince when the crab pinched him and drew blood.

He had a bit of a tough time getting the crab off his finger but at last managed to do so and put it back in the pond.

It was a nice day out.

However, the day after that outing, I got a mark on my arm.

It was an ugly mark and it was really itchy. 

It took a few weeks before it went. 

I guess something unpleasant had bitten me during the outing in the park.

In Japan, you have to be very careful what you touch in natural areas. 

They have a tick in my prefecture that can even kill you.

 I guess that’s why even in the middle of the hot and humid Japanese summer the Japanese farmers cover their bodies completely. 

The only part of them you can see is their nose and eyes.

But me, the foolish romantic artist, am often prancing around the countryside in sandals and shorts. 

What I’ve learnt though is that it’s a good idea to copy the local yokel.

Anyway, I did no paintings of this place on this occasion. 

But a year or so later in November of 2020 I was looking through some photos on my cell phone and came across one from this outing. 

And when I looked at it I suddenly got the inspiring idea of rays of light shooting through those dark trees and lighting up a small group of people.

Luckily I acted on such inspiration, which you should always do, and immediately started to paint it.

I am delighted with the result.

This beautiful effect of light passing through trees is called “komorebi” in Japanese.

And this is how it is spelt in Chinese characters “木漏れ日”.

木 (pronounced ko) means tree, 漏れ (pronounced more) means light passing through and 日 (pronounced bi) means sun.

That’s all for now,