Painting the Sea at Evening Time

It’s warm enough now to paint sea scenes and I am fortunate in being only 10 minutes from the sea by bicycle.

I only paint such scenes when it is cloudy; without clouds seascapes simply look too empty whereas with clouds you get some very exciting and dramatic effects.

Unfortunately, I arrived just after the sun had set. But being a persistent person – and besides I was there – I did a painting anyway.

That painting turned out too faint and so will not be shown here – after all I have a reputation to build (for when readers actually come to this site and I am not just writing to myself) and then there is vanity.

So today in my ‘studio’ I had another go using the faint painting done on location as a guide and was much happier with the result; the boats were not actually there but supplied by my imagination and from my sketchbooks.

It was quite a strange experience cycling to the sea this year because of the changes along the way.

In Japan, perhaps because of tidal waves, they have built huge concrete sea walls along the shoreline and put piles of concrete blocks in front of them – I think they call them tetrapods or something like that. If they’d built the Berlin wall like this it would never have come down.

Last year, though, due I think to the huge tsunami that hit Fukushima they have made the sea wall even higher along the side of the river and the changes are quite dramatic. 

It almost feels like being in a sci-fi movie as I cycle by this really high pristine white concrete sea wall.

I must add that on one side there is this sea wall that now blocks out a view of the sea and on the other side there is a drop consisting of a series of very steep concrete steps going down to a road. 

There is no barrier whatsoever. 

And the drop is very steep. I reckon about 3 meters or more. So if you cycled off it would be the last mistake you ever made.

I must do a painting of it sometimes because it is kind of interesting although not particularly beautiful.

Anyway, on my way to the sea, I also cycled past a small harbour which used to have a sloped grass bank. This has now become a sheer concrete wall about 7 meters high (don’t trust me on this figure I’m just giving my best guess).

Although I can understand the need for safety, these changes have made this area even uglier than before and it just seems that the future is ugly especially I think in Japan where they are just covering everything in concrete; however, I continue to look for beautiful scenes to paint.

That’s all for now.


This story was originally written in May of 2014. I am editing it in April of 2021. The painting at the top is another evening sea scene that I painted this year and I thought this would be a good place to share it. I’m also quite proud of 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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