Gareth Naylor

Atmospheric paintings of Japan

Watercolor painting of a chair in a Japanese apartment

Watercolor painting of a wooden chair in a Japanese apartment

This painting is very old and very valuable to me.

I lived in this apartment with my wife and her two children.

I first came to Japan in 1999 and about one year later I was living in this apartment.

I lived here for about 6 or 7 years.

At some point during that time I painted this picture.

It’s painted on wood pulp paper.

With this paper, the paint seems to stay on the surface rather than sink into it as it does with cotton rag.

Because of this you get an interesting textural effect which sometimes I like and sometimes I hate.

In this painting I like it.

But it’s not a great painting.

The lines of the sliding door are poorly done.

That said, I love the composition, the colors and the reflection in the floor.

And this picture has enormous sentimental value for me.

I have many happy memories of this place.

I’ll also never forget moving from this place.

It was a nightmare.

My wife and her girls had so much stuff. 

Trash might be a more accurate word.

I was frantically trying to stuff all of this “stuff” into boxes while the removal men were sprinting down the hallway, picking boxes up and scooting off with them.

I had to finish packing everything before they got all the boxes.

It was like being in a crazy computer game.

Although you might be impressed by how efficient these removal men were, I was experiencing a strong feeling of pressure from them.

Time was money and they weren’t going to waste their time.

And they were a bit too quick.

In their haste several things were broken.

Anyway, I’m writing this in February of 2021 and we still have the chair in the painting.

Although maybe not for long.

This chair along with 3 more and the kitchen table are a set.

But my wife wants a new table and chairs.

Well there is a permanent and deep mark in the table which I made from painting on it constantly for several years.

I used to call myself the kitchen table artist at that time.

But it is proof that you don’t need such things as a studio in order to paint and I did some great work on that table.

And I had my paints permanently set up on that table at one time.

Anyway, I will be sad to see these chairs go.

But I guess everything goes at some point.

And just because something passes away, just because all that is solid passes into air, it doesn’t mean it is worthless.

It just means it is vital to enjoy every day of having the things (and people) we do.

Luckily, a painting can last a very long time.

And I’m happy that even after all these years I have this painting and the memories it brings with it.

So that is all for now,

Adieu mon ami,