I used to think that I had to travel quite far to find beautiful places to paint. However, after 16 years of painting, I have found that some of my best paintings have been done within a short distance of my house.
This week I went to the sea. It’s only a ten minute bicycle ride from my house. I didn’t know how it would go though as it was one of those hit or miss days when the sky is very cloudy and dramatic which would be wonderful to paint and yet there is a big chance that at any moment it will rain and I’d have to quit painting and go home.
These spectacular cloud formations are one of the positive side-effects of the heat and humidity in a Japanese summer. During this season I wake up in the morning feeling 90 rather than 43. I have a dry throat and I feel weak, tired and too hot. I start feeling better about six or seven in the evening.
Today was “Marine Day”. It’s called “umi-no-hi” in Japanese and it’s a national holiday. And we, the family, even went to the beach and it was wonderful. But before we came to the beach we stopped the car on route and the family had a sleeping break. While they slept I got out of the car and did a painting.
So today I went to paint by the river. When you paint outdoors you never paint alone. There’s always something that happens. Often some kind of annoyance or discomfort. It could be a freezing cold wind or it could be an insect such as a mosquito or little flies that want to explore your nostrils. And of course there are always people.
In 2014 I often got on my bicycle and went to the sea. Here I would paint the sunset. I always hoped for a spectacular sunset. But sometimes it wasn’t so spectacular because it became very cloudy. On this occasion, although it became quite cloudy and the sunset was not very spectacular, I still thought it was beautiful.