An early start to catch our flight to Bali. Taxi came 5.30 a.m. Everything ran as smooth as silk. We had great seats on the aircraft and lunch was served soon after our 9 a.m. takeoff. So early in the morning we had one Bintang beer with lunch to celebrate the commencement of our holiday. And of course we needed the can for the sketch.
The rest of the flight we spent doing our “Learning Indonesian” lessons. We couldn’t do the audio because we would have felt forced to repeat after the instructor and we wouldn’t want to frighten the horses. As well as audio, they come with PDF files so we worked from them. It is such an excellent course, and free. We asked the cabin crew for help with our pronunciation, though there was some fairly quiet hilarity between ourselves at our efforts. Well, we thought quiet, but when I stood up to let BB out, a friendly passenger in the row behind us said “you two seem to be having a good time”.
I started off Every Day in May this year, but I knew I couldn’t keep it up. I have had tradesmen here and been camping in the spare bedroom. I had some medical appointments and even more important, I am going travelling.
First trip, starting in less than a month. I am going to Bali. I decided to sketch this frame as I wanted to get my hand in, sketching Balinese patterns and textures. this is a raw wooden frame, one of many I bought a lot of years ago. Most of them I have painted and then gilded.
I bravely went straight in with the pen, even knowing that the pattern should be reproduced on each side, and as for the perspective…. So my solution, after being comparatively satisfied with what I had done was just to swoosh watercolour onto the back corner. I think I have learnt a useful trick for when I’m actually in Bali.
First I am going to Kalibukbuk and the place I am staying has enough to sketch without leaving the garden, so I am looking forward to a nice relax (and the cooking course.)
I’m going travelling with my friend BB who i have known since the 1970s when we worked together in Christchurch in New Zealand. Yes, the place where the earthquakes were.
At Easter I made a largish Coptic bound sketchbook for each of us, using my own paste paper for the covers, and Canaletto watercolour paper for the signatures. Then I made an ox plough book for BB from Fabriano Hot Press paper, using some Balinese fabric I had turned into book cloth. I had previously made a reverse piano hinge book from this book cloth and I found there was enough left to make a book for BB too.
We are going to Bali in June and I can’t wait. This will be my twelfth visit to Bali and I am looking forward to seeing my friends there. It will be a bit of an adventure though, because we are going to Lovina Beach, up on the north coast where I haven’t been since the1980s. We are staying at Rambutan Boutique Hotel. If you look at the photos on Tripadvisor, you will see that there is enough to sketch without leaving the gardens. It’s at Kalibukbuk. Don’t you love the name of the place?
After a few days there we go to Ubud, my second home, and because Ubud Village Hotel is full we are staying somewhere else. That will be a change for me. I have always stayed there since it opened but they are renovating right now.
Then in late August we are going for a longer trip to Europe. Starting in Switzerland, then spending most of the time in Italy and finishing in Barcelona.
Currently I am working on my Indonesian language skills, then after that trip I have to brush up my Italian. As far as getting in shape for sketching, I am planning to sketch some of the Balinese things around my house, starting now.
I used to go to Bali every year and stay in Ubud. I haven’t been for a few years and I’m longing to go again. I have huge numbers of silver earrings that I bought over the years. I used to buy for the girls at work too – many of them would give me $50 to spend for them. You could get a lot for $50. Silver earrings used to be about $5 to $8, from memory. I made a long-term friend of a Balinese woman, Wayan, in a silver shop, who said to me ‘you dealer?’
So I had quite a collection to choose from. I have brooches also, that I used to wear on the corporate wardrobe. None of them ever get worn now, not the earrings or the brooches. I hadn’t sketched these ones before. They have some sort of crystal in the middle and they are quite large. I used a Derwent Dark Wash pencil to get the main lines in. Then I reserved the highlights with a clear Sakura Glaze pen. I continued with the drawing, then got out the waterbrush. An unexpected effect of using the Sakura Glaze pen, is that as you look at the finished sketch on the page, the Glaze areas catch the light and shine, just as the silver does.
Today, as I write this we are having a major storm with strong winds. There are trees down all over the place and people having difficulty getting home. It was already pretty much dark at 4pm. Being in Bali, strolling down the Monkey Forest Road as it is getting dark, smelling the woodsmoke, looking forward to a bintang besar sounds rather nice tonight. (It’s a large beer).
I went to Batubulan to buy this little statue. I don’t know which of the gods of the Hindu pantheon it is supposed to be (if any) because the people didn’t speak English well enough to understand my question. Anyway he has a benevolent face and very strange hands and feet. I carried him back on the plane from Bali in my hand luggage wrapped in my beach towel. He’s not much more than a foot high but my golly he is heavy. He lives in my courtyard now & is getting up a nice coating of moss in some places.
I drew him with a Tombow pen then put in the shadows by wetting with a waterbrush. The pale green is a little watercolour to show where the mossy areas are.
I bought this cloth in Ubud Market last time I was in Bali. I bought some red as well, but I’m saving that for an artist’s book. This is a little sketchbook from Fabriano Hot Press paper. The structure is Reverse Piano Hinge like this
one, but I’ve left the spine unsupported so the purple concertina that holds it together shows on the spine. The endpapers are also purple. It is fun making your own bookcloth. I’ve done it quite a few times now. Next time I go to Bali, I’ll be going to Denpasar to the fabric market to see what else they have.
Filed under Bali, book art