Gareth Naylor

Atmospheric paintings of Japan

Watercolor painting of Beppu bay at evening time

Watercolor paintings of the sun setting over Beppu bay

Watercolor painting of Beppu bay at evening time
“Misty Bay”

Beppu Bay is in Oita prefecture, Japan.

This place is just a 10 minute bicycle ride from my house.

This is wonderful for painting but a bit of a worry if we ever get a tsunami.

From my side of the bay at evening time you have a perfect view of the sun setting behind the distant mountains.

Around 2011, when these paintings were done, I often cycled to this coastal place and painted the sunset.

It was a wonderful experience.

Although the enjoyment was lessened by my struggles with trying to paint a sunset scene in watercolor.

There is a big concrete sea wall here that I would sit upon and where I would paint. 

It was a very wide and flat surface and ideal for painting. 

The concrete was also warm because it had soaked in all the heat of the day.

And in the evening time as the temperature cooled the concrete would release the heat.

Between the wall and sea is a huge pile of concrete tetrapods.

The tetrapods appear to have been just thrown on top of one another. 

It is so ugly.

And when I first saw them I felt so disappointed.

But I can’t change that.

Normally, though, I don’t include them in my paintings.

Fishermen stand on these concrete tetrapods. 

They are very quiet.

And I am always surprised to see fishermen arriving when I am leaving and it is becoming cold and dark. 

I very rarely have any interaction with them.

But I find them an interesting addition to my sea paintings.

And one time, I remember a fisherman catching a very big fish.

He was so happy and he wished to give me the fish. 

But I had no bag to put the fish in so I politely refused his generosity.

The only drawback to this wonderful painting spot are the funamushi, or sea roaches. 

They are harmless, but who wants a black bug with lots of legs crawling up the leg of your pants.

And I should add that they are crawling up the inside of your pants.

But nothing is perfect.

And they are harmless.

Anyway, I should talk about the paintings.

So in the first painting, you have the mountains partially covered in mist. 

I was very happy with this painting and have since done several more paintings based on this one.

I obviously used too much yellow and yet in some ways I like that excessive touch of yellow. 

I think it is good to be excessive in my artwork.

Because I am too timid.

Also, being excessive increases the excitement and gets the creative juice flowing.

Watercolor painting of a dramatic evening sky over Beppu bay
“Enchanting evening sky over Beppu bay”

The second painting is a very dramatic evening scene of Beppu bay.

I’m happy with the variety of colors in the sky.

And I’m happy with the strong contrast of warm and cool colors in the sky. 

I think that I managed to express an epic feeling to the sky.

And you can see the warm lights of Beppu city at the bottom of the distant mountain. 

These soft and twinkling specks of light appear almost magical as the evening sunlight disappears.

Watercolor painting of a small fishing boat on Beppu bay at evening time
“A peaceful evening moment”

The third painting is a much simpler and less dramatic image of Beppu Bay.

But I like the feeling of calmness in this painting. 

The original painting had no boat in the foreground.

I added that boat later.

It was from a photo I had taken on another occasion.

I remember being surprised by how well this addition worked out. 

And I further remember a person who liked this painting very much.

She was very interested in buying it. 

But in the end she never did. 

However, she did buy another painting so it worked out well in the end.

But it didn’t work out well for this painting because one day I threw this painting away.

This is because although I thought it was quite a good painting, my later work is so much better.

Also, I have too many paintings and it’s a big problem.

Luckily I still had an image of this painting so I could show another one of my very few early paintings of Beppu bay. 

That’s all,