Tag Archives: Bali

The Owl from Bali

bali_birdI was in Ubud Market with Broni last year when I was in Bali. She was bargaining for something and taking her time. It was raining outside. I spotted this little owl and there was something about it that appealed to me, so I bought it. I have been going to Bali for so long that I am long past buying souvenirs for myself, but this…I had to have it.

My house doesn’t have places for ornaments on the whole. It is a terrace house and there is not much space. It has been in the kitchen and I have recently moved it to the hall. I have to find a better place for it.

Today it is dark and thunderstorms are predicted. I wanted to sketch and this is one of the few things in the house that hasn’t been sketched at all. So here you have it. Now, what else have I got to sketch?


Filed under Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

The Creative Commons – Day 3 of ODAD

gamelan_playerODAD – One Drawing a Day. I had to draw a person with a bamboo pen. I don’t have a person right here, unless you count the cat, and he is not the most co-operative.

I decided to use a photo from the Creative Commons. Follow the link if you need to know what it is. I believe strongly in respecting artists’  copyright, but I believe just as strongly in never talking about copyright on the net. Too many entrenched opinions. Too many people telling me what the law is, when they don’t live in Australia, which is the country whose law I need to follow. Don’t talk to me about copyright. I won’t answer. Enough said.

But there are a number of sites where there are photos that you can use. I have had a document for my painting students for a long time. I have just re-checked the links to make sure they are current, and put it on my resources page. You are welcome to use it. Many of the links came from a NAVA newsletter, an extremely reputable organisation representing Australian artists nationally.

So, this man is a gamelan player from Bali. The first ‘people photos’ I came across in my search were Balinese, and why not! I love it there. I also love Balinese music and degung music, which they also play. It is from Java. You can listen here. I have many CDs.

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Filed under Bali, inks, sketchbook, sketching

From my travel sketches – solar plate etchings

barberini_solar_prOh, Sunday was the last day for this year of my opportunity for printmaking. I enjoyed it sooooo much. I only go three days a year, and I missed one because of travelling. I needed to make some new plates, but what with the rain…it wasn’t easy.

One drawing had been transferred to drafting film for a week or so, but the other (the Bali one) was only finished on Friday. Saturday was, to put it mildly, changeable. I waited till after ten oçlock for enough strength in the sun to expose the plates, but then the clouds came over. I did the one of the Balinese carving from the gate at Kalibukbuk first.  While I was exposing the plate to the sun, raindrops starting falling on the glass, and I would quickly wipe them off with my apron. (I wear an apron so that I can put my timer in the pocket).

kalibukbuk_solar_prAfter some rain, finally it stopped and I exposed the Barberini door drawing anyway, though there wasn’t much sun. As you see, it is fine. While you are exposing the plate, you just have to make sure you are not holding it anywhere where shadows might fall. Once the plate has been put through various processes inside the house, it is time to post-expose it in the sun. Hmmm, yes, the sun came out but the whole courtyard had trees dripping on it. Water ruins solar plates. so I had to wait till the late afternoon when the sun comes to the front of the house, put the plates outside and sit just inside the front door, guarding them.

Luckily, it was all worth it, both plates were fine.  I am really pleased with both of them. Of course I can’t take credit for the beautiful Balinese carving, but my interest was in rendering the way the light fell on it.


Filed under Bali, Italy, Print-making, solar plates, viscosity printing

Monkey Forest Road map

mf_rd_mapMy map is a bit garish, but Bali is a colourful place. This map is just a small section of the Monkey Forest Road in Ubud, below the football field, for anyone who knows it. The paving is pink. I remember when it was unpaved with watercourses gouged out if it after the wet season. The first time I saw the sparkling new pink pavements I nearly cried. It was the first time Broni went to Bali with me, about 19 years ago. It looked like a town, instead of a village.

We always walked on the road, because the footpaths were too dangerous. mf_pavementsThe pink pavements only stayed pristine for about a year and then we were back walking on the road. Too much traffic now! That is why the road has ‘hati-hati’ written on it. It means ‘danger’.

This is ‘my’area of Ubud. Over on the top left is Ubud Village Hotel, where I have stayed since it first opened in 1986, but it was closed for renovations this year. There is a river gorge behind the buildings on the left side, and my ashes will be going in that river.

This year we stayed at Sri Bungalows on the right side. The ricefields used to come right up to the Monkey Forest Road in the early days, but not for many years now. Still, one row of shops, and there they still are. Many of the restaurants on that side have a beautiful rice field view, as did our bungalow. I explained previously about kaja and kelod, so I have a ‘kaja-indicator’ instead of a compass rose. heliconia_garden

This is the heliconia garden (its a long panorama – click on it). There were no heliconias at our hotel in Kalibukbuk, and it was a wish that we would have a few at Sri Bungalows. There was this whole garden and we walked through it to our bungalow on the ricefields. The ‘prisoner shop’ doesn’t sell prisoners. It is a silver jewellery shop where they sell unusual pieces with traditional themes, but modern styles. They train the prisoners in silver-smithing. I bought a number of pieces there.

kalendar_baliThe border is the same style of border that is used on Kalendar Bali. Kalendar Bali is a whole story, all of its own. They are in every hotel, shop and office. Here is what they look like. So this is my map….still restricted by the size of the sketchbook. But it is relevant to me and this holiday.

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Filed under Bali, Copic Multiliner, map, Travel, watercolour

My Bali map

bali_map_2Before I went to Bali, I bought Jill K. Berry’s book Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking for my iPad, hoping I would do some maps while in Bali. In the interest of making my mistakes before I went to Bali, I did this map at home. Since I got back I have put our route over the mountains and on one or two other trips we did.

I started by copying the map freehand, then put in the three volcanos.The one on the right is the most important, because it is Mount Agung, Home of the Gods. All direction in Bali is taken from the mountain. It is either ‘kaja’ towards the mountain, or ‘kelod’, away from the mountain. That is why, instead of a compass rose, I have four little kaja-kelod indicators, all pointing to and away from the mountain. The design on these is based on  some old Bali silver earrings I have, with a typical Balinese design.

ubud_lotusThe cartouche has a pattern around it taken from a handpainted box I bought in Bali, years ago. (This was my 12th visit to Bali.) The checked border is related to poleng cloth, which signifies balance, and can be seen draped around statues everywhere in Bali.  You can read more about it here and see photographs. Interestingly enough, this time I saw a lot of red and black poleng cloth. I wonder if it is still poleng if it is red and black.

I found it more difficult than I thought to do a map. Two things working against me here: the size of the paper and the size of ‘my Bali’.  The sketchbook is too small to fit in a cartouche, a legend and a compass rose. Need bigger paper. ‘My Bali’ in reality is where that pink lotus is, denoting Ubud. (The lotuses weren’t flowering this time but here is the lotus pond) . So my map needed to take in a smaller area. Now I am working on one of a small section of the Monkey Forest Road.

ulun_danauSo from the airport we went up over the mountains to the north coast. You always see monkeys up there. Then we stopped five days at Kalibukbuk, where you can go out at dawn to see the dolpins, but we didn’t this time. We sat on our verandah and watched ‘Dick’s Ducks’. (The hotel belongs to a man called Richard, so we decided they must be his ducks.) Coming back we drove along the coast going west, then up to the top of the ridge and east along there. Joined up with the main road just before Bedugul (famous for the temple on the lake).

There is another trip we did from Ubud, off to Sobangan and Tanah Lot, but I havent written about that yet. So, there you have it. That’s my first map.


Filed under Bali, map, watercolour

Kalibukbuk gate in Derwent Wash Pencils

kalibukbuk_gate_4Finally back to my sketchbook to do another sketch from my Bali photos. Ever since I did the earlier drawing of the gate at Kalibukbuk I have wanted to do another in pencil. I decided to use the Derwent Light Wash and Derwent Dark Wash. I do love these pencils. Once I had completed the drawing I scanned it before I put the wash on. I wasn’t sure how successful it would be. I have used these pencils before but mostly to sketch the cats. I hadn’t used them for something where tone would be so important. The top one is the one with the wash.

It is amazing to think that someone designed this carving, and executed it from a two dimensional drawing. At least, I assume that’s how it would have been done. kalibukbuk_gate_2There are carvings everywhere in Bali, and I have seen them doing the bas-relief ones into concrete. I will pay more attention next time. At one hotel years ago, we had a huge verandah with the Ramayana carved around two sides. So many things to love about Bali.


Filed under Bali, Derwent sketching, drawing, graphite pencils, sketching, Stillman & Birn

The gate at Kalibukbuk

kalibukbuk_gateOh I am home now and it is coooooooold. I have finally done all my washing and paid the bills and now it is time to sketch again. I sketched this one from a photo, as I am finding it too jolly cold to be outside sketching. This sketch was mostly done with a Derwent blue-grey watercolour pencil, then finished off with various orange wc pencils, all Albrecht Durer. It is taken from an area on the left hand side of the gate.

The day of our cooking course I wandered around the hotel and the area nearby taking some photos of Balinese patterns and textures. This gate was on the footpath where the street of our hotel met the main road. Nearby were a couple of shops – the s20130714-110952.jpgort with the roller-door front.  It just sold Bali clothing and bags. We both bought bags from this shop, though I can’t remember what else, if anything. The seller was a friendly lady so we spent some time chatting to her.

This is the top of the same gate. An amazing gate, just placed nowhere-in-particular. That’s what I love about Bali.


Filed under Bali, sketchbook, sketching, Stillman & Birn, Travel, watercolour pencils