Out of the blue my sister asked me to make some Christmas cards. So I had a go at painting some snow scenes and one thing led to another and soon the studio was littered with snow scenes.
These pictures are of a small Japanese city that I live in called Oita. They were painted in 2014. Around this period there was a lot of major construction work occurring around the city center. New roads, a new bridge and a new train station were built. And the area around the train station was completely transformed.
In September of 2014 I climbed up Mt Yufudake. I wanted to paint a picture from the top of the mountain. And I took all my painting equipment, even my easel. However, I stayed on the mountain top too long, watching a beautiful sunset. As I descended the mountain my pleasant painting trip turned into a nightmare.
So I was on the train because I went to Beppu. This is the city next to mine which is called Oita. And I went to see an exhibition space in a small hotel. To date, I’ve exhibited in a bank, a green tea shop, a steakhouse, a cafe and a few other places but never a hotel. And this was not a normal hotel. It was a small, old-style Japanese hotel. Such a hotel is called ‘ryokan’ in Japanese.
Last week, I spent a whole day at my exhibition. I don’t think it helped sales but I learnt about what paintings people liked. On the final day of the exhibition, after I had finished and had packed away my work, I decided that I needed some fresh air. So I drove up the mountain, found an interesting place and stopped.
During 2014 I did a lot of paintings around Oita castle. I should add that there is no actual castle remaining. There is though a moat and some beautiful castle walls. There is also a garden within the castle grounds. And these are all in good condition. The painting above shows one of my favorite views around the castle.