I often go to my local river. It is called Oita river. And it is only a few minutes from my house.
This river provides a wonderful choice of painting subjects as well as being a wonderful place for painting sunrises and sunsets.
And in 2014 I painted many pictures of this river.
My favorite viewpoint
The painting above shows my favorite view of the river. Here are two more paintings I did from the same viewpoint.
This viewpoint is particularly good for painting dramatic skies as well as sunrises and sunsets.
Also, from this viewpoint, the figures look very dark and dramatic as they contrast strongly with the bright sparkle of the river.
In this painting, I love the soft wispy clouds and faint touches of rose in the evening sky. The sky imbues this scene with a feeling of beauty and peacefulness.
Below is a different viewpoint of the river that I often find more challenging to paint but on this occasion worked out very well.
I particularly like the bright colors of the trees in this painting and the delicate texture of the grass.
There are many bridges across this river and although none of them are particularly beautiful I find them an interesting subject to paint.
In this painting of a bridge, I like the fishermen in the foreground. I often see them by the bridge and they help to make this scene much more alive and interesting.
I also like the dramatic shadows that the bridge casts and I do my best to emphasize that feature in this painting. And once again the fishermen help to make this scene more alive and interesting.
And this painting shows the view from the top of a bridge. On this occasion, there was a beautiful reflection of the sky upon the surface of the river.
One of the things I least like about the river is the artificial embankment. Nearly all Japanese rivers have them.
I have done my best though to turn the embankment into something interesting and even beautiful.
I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that. And I think this challenging subject has turned me into a better artist and led to some very interesting paintings.
An extra attraction of the river other than as a painting subject is some of the joggers I see there and their unhealthy pursuit of health.
And here is something I wrote about them in July of 2014.
It was hot and humid and there were people jogging past me who were desperately gasping for air.
I felt like telling them to stop and just walk. It would probably be healthier for them.
Besides what if they suddenly collapse from a heart attack. Then I’d have to try and do CPR and this would be extremely stressful for me as I can never remember the ratio of breaths to chest presses.
However, the gaspers are not the strangest kind of jogger. This spot is reserved for the sweaters.
This kind of jogger puts on a lot of clothing despite the heat. And I saw one such person today. He was wearing a jacket in summer in Japan and he was soaked in sweat. I saw quite clearly drops of water running down his hands and hanging from his fingertips.
And there is one jogger I occasionally see who is the champion sweater because he wears a full tracksuit – all black of course – and a hood up so that you can’t even see his face.
I have to add that these people are not fat either.
Of course, being an artist and hoping to become successful from it is perhaps one of the maddest pursuits of all.
That’s all, Gareth.
I originally wrote this anecdotal story in July of 2014, I am editing it in 2022.
Sadly it has no painting to go with it. But when I saw how many paintings I’d painted of my local river during that year then I had the idea of showing those paintings as a series and adding on this story at the end.