I can’t say I like this painting very much.
It’s not particularly well painted.
But it was painted around 2011 when I was still learning watercolor painting and struggling very much with this mercurial medium.
And this painting reminds me of how I would cycle around the city looking for beautiful or interesting scenes to paint.
Normally I was thoroughly disappointed.
But occasionally I would find something beautiful or interesting and this was one such time.
I was cycling through a dense cluster of unremarkable houses on the edge of the city when I turned a corner and came to this street of old-fashioned Japanese buildings.
It was such a surprise.
I’m not sure if this street is beautiful but it is very interesting and I enjoyed the surprise.
I wonder if many people in Oita city even know about this street.
Older buildings are interesting because they are full of ornamentation.
I see a lot of new houses being built in Oita city and although these houses are okay and I think very nice to live in, they have no ornamentation.
It seems that ornamentation is anathema in modern building.
But perhaps the reason is that it would be too expensive nowadays to have such ornamentation not unless it could be quickly done by a machine.
For me, there is a kind of poverty in that.
This is not to say I like all older buildings in Japan.
I think many of the buildings in the Showa period are very ugly.
But the Taisho period and earlier produced some beautiful buildings.
And as I look at the buildings along this street I feel a love for the interesting surfaces and patterns they used on the walls of these buildings as well as the heavy tiled and ornate roof tops.
Distinctiveness, beauty and craftsmanship have disappeared in the bland modern world.