A more accurate title might be: “The blinding brilliance of morning sunlight on the train”. But it’s a bit of a mouthful.
So I was on the train because I went to Beppu. This is the city next to mine which is called Oita. And I went to see an exhibition space in a small hotel.
To date, I’ve exhibited in a bank, a green tea shop, a steakhouse, a cafe and a few other places but never a hotel. And this was not a normal hotel. It was a small, old-style Japanese hotel. Such a hotel is called ‘ryokan’ in Japanese.
Built in the Taisho period (1912-1926), this hotel has some beautiful spaces and a traditional Japanese garden.
Personally, I think it could do with a lick of paint but my friend assured me the Japanese like the slightly brownish walls.
I didn’t have a lot of time so I was soon back on the train and heading home to Oita city. During the train journey I was a little bored so I drew the passengers on the train. It was a lot of fun.
And these drawings inspired the watercolor painting above back in the studio – a.k.a – the kitchen table.
The train route is by the sea and in the morning you get a spectacular sunrise that floods the train with light.
I tried to paint just such a sunrise from memory and a dose of imagination.
I love to paint light but perhaps in this painting I went too far.
Still, I like it. In fact, I won’t be able to separate myself from this painting for a while and it will also inspire new paintings.
That’s all for now.
This story was originally written in September of 2014. I edited it in 2022.
The exhibition was a waste of time. I didn’t even sell one painting. But this is the way it can go for an artist. In fact, this is the equation of my art career: a lot of time, effort and hope and nada back – well, very little.
I also missed out on a strange Japanese dance that my artist friend organized at the hotel during the exhibition. I really would have enjoyed seeing it.
The dance was held in the garden and the dancer surprised all the spectators, and purposely so, when she appeared from under the house itself which, like old Japanese houses, is raised up on supports.
She appeared in an extremely slow fashion, like a slow crawl, and I think she crawled around the garden and as she did so she slowly unrolled a long roll of cloth that she had wrapped around her waist.
Below are two more paintings of people on trains.