Trip to Yufuin and a Painting of the River in Yufuin at Evening time with a Glorious Sunset


On Sunday, the 7th of February we went on a family trip to Yufuin. This is a popular tourist town in my prefecture. And I am also lucky in having some paintings on display here in an art gallery called Dordogne.

On the way to Yufuin, my wife called the gallery owner to see if I had sold any paintings. I was expecting to hear that I hadn’t, especially because of covid and no doubt a big decrease in the number of tourists.

However, I was delighted to hear that I had sold a painting. So when we arrived in Yufuin the first place we went to was the gallery. Or rather my wife dropped me off near the gallery and she went to find a carpark. She didn’t want to drive the car directly to the gallery because the road was so bad. It’s an old country road full of big stones and potholes. So while she was looking for a place to park the car I went to the gallery through a maze of small paths. I did a video just to show you what it was like. I’ll put it at the end of this painting video just in case you’d like to have a look.

The gallery is a beautiful, traditional Japanese building and it is full of artworks. The gallery owner herself is a passionate artist and nowadays is into making wooden sculptures.

Her name is Urasan and she is a very pleasant woman. It was also lovely to receive some money from her for my sold painting. I couldn’t, however, remember what that particular painting looked like which was a bit frustrating. I probably gave it to her a year or more ago and I do paint a lot of pictures so this possibly explains why I couldn’t remember it.

And then I heard music to my ears. For I also learnt that the buyer wanted to buy another painting. However, because of covid and worries about her job she is being careful with her money.

I further learnt though that she can’t even sleep at night because she’s worried that somebody else will buy that painting.

Below is that painting.

My wife said that I should paint lighter paintings like that one because those are the ones that sell. And I must admit I do often paint a bit on the dark side. Here is one of my dark ones.

But here is another dark painting and this one sold. I must admit it is a bit of a strange painting too and the strange ones do tend to sell quite well.

Anyway, let’s get back to the story. As an artist, who has been painting for 20 years, and has experienced some really hard times, really hard!, it was wonderful to hear this. I felt valued.

My wife was also happy and told me that I had to treat the family to dinner.

I didn’t mind at all. Although later that evening at the restaurant when she ordered a small glass of wine for 10 dollars I felt like saying something but I kept my mouth shut – fairly shut. 

And I guess that I should be happy because I am making money, even if just a little, at a time when many people are suffering because of the virus.

And covid has seriously affected business in this tourist town.

The gallery owner told us that 300 workers in Yufuin had left and gone to Oita city to find work. And I noticed, as we walked around the center of Yufuin, that it was not the bustling hive of activity that it used to be.

In the center of Yufuin there is a space that is normally crammed with buses that are unloading tourists. On this day there wasn’t even one bus. There was just a large, empty space. It felt strange.

And normally the narrow roads are packed with tourists and cars trying to get through them. But now the narrow roads were not packed with people and there was only the occasional car. 

Only the main street was a little busy, the other streets were quite empty. And I must admit that it did feel a little lonely.

I was also very surprised to see many shops by the river closed. And they were permanently closed. You could look through the large, dark windows and see completely empty spaces.

On previous trips to Yufuin, I have often walked past these shops and they were very busy. I am surprised that they had to shut up completely. I wonder if they or new shops will come back again in a few years time.

Anyway, we were walking through Yufuin to reach a cafe at the other end of the town. It is next to the train station. The last time I came to Yufuin we went to this cafe and it was rather nice so I wanted to go again.

But it took us a long time because we got delayed. My daughter saw some animals. She loves animals and she just had to feed them. It was funny because she tried to feed the ducks but they just waddled away. I guess they were stuffed. It’s amazing to see animals refuse food. 

However, the goats and the squirrels were interested in food and so she could feed them. The squirrels were really cute. 

And after feeding the animals, she was running in and out of shops as we tried to make our way across town. But she was happy and having fun so it was good. And for me it is lovely to see the exuberant energy of children.

Eventually we got to the cafe. I didn’t actually know the name of the cafe, just the location. But when I saw the name, I think it was Milch or something, I felt so foolish because this cafe is one of several by the same name which we had passed on the way to this one.

I guess we got some exercise! I had a cappuccino and a pudding.

My wife and daughter had a donut each. But I was still very hungry because I hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch. 

Then we walked back across the town to get to the car. Except this time we went by the river. This was my suggestion. At first it seemed like a great idea but I was worried at one point that I’d led us off into the middle of nowhere. Luckily I hadn’t. And as we walked back by this river we saw a beautiful sunset.

I was very happy because there had been nothing else I’d seen to take a picture of and use for a painting.

Later at home I did three paintings of this sunlit river. And in the video I am showing you me painting one of these sunlit river paintings.

That’s all for now. I hope this video brought you a little joy and inspiration.

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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