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.
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.
I went to a small tourist town called Yufuin. I intended to help my friend take down his exhibition and to collect two of my paintings that were in his exhibition. But, this didn’t happen. And at first I thought that my trip had been pointless. However, whilst there I saw the next exhibition and it was amazing. And on the way back home it was raining and the atmospheric scene inspired a small series of paintings.
The hot and humid weather forced me indoors. But this was not a bad thing. Because in my studio, also known as the kitchen table, I did some watercolor sketches on scrap paper. I did sketches of a wet beach with soft reflections. In the process I struck a creative vein and ended up painting a series of pictures upon this subject.
I live very near a river. It is called Oita river. And I love to paint this river. I have done many paintings of this river over the years but most of these paintings were not very good and I binned them. Here though is a small collection of early paintings of this river which I didn’t throw away because they are quite good. I think that I did these paintings around 2013.
In 2012 I had one of the best experiences of my life. My daughter Anne was born. So during this year and the next few I had very little time to go outside and paint landscapes as I was very much house-bound looking after my baby. But I took advantage of this marvellous situation by doing a lot of sketches of my daughter. And here are a few of those sketches.
During 2013, I would often get on my bicycle and cycle to the sea. It was just a 10 minute cycle ride. And at the sea, I had a spectacular view of Beppy bay. I would usually go at evening time and paint the sun setting over this bay. It was a wonderful experience. And when I was looking through my artwork I found 9 paintings of Beppu bay from that year.