Category Archives: Uncategorized

Deserted properties

  Broni goes out for a walk along the beach every morning exercising. She comes back to report that outside the ‘cleaned up tourist area’ of Kalibukbuk, it is very poor and there is rubbish everywhere. She is less keen on walking alone in the early morning than she was in Ubud. But she tells me about the strange deserted properties along the beach, not far past the Bali Breeze restaurant. So I go with her. It is not far. There is a very strange little bridge to climb, with a number of huge steps going quickly quite high, and then just as quickly coming down. Apart from that it is just a track along the beach.

  One of the properties is a deserted looking garden behind a high wall. The top of the wall is guarded by a series of statues of monkeys hiding their eyes. Very strange. We meet a Balinese man with a small child who says he works there. He says we can go in. Maybe at the entrance on the main road. We resolve to investigate the very next day.

  Back for breakfast, then today is the day I discover lying about in pavilions. The one with the yellow and green cushions to be precise. I propped myself against one of the side poles with a doubled up cushion and I was very  

 comfortable to sketch the Ganesha statue beside the pool.
Back to the Global Kafe for more samosas, then down to the beach for another beautiful sunset. Dinner at Warung Apple, a popular place where we couldn’t get a table on our last visit to Lovina Beach. Cumi-cumi goreng -fried squid (in Balinese spices).


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

Tumpek Landep

  Today is Tumpek Landep, a day on the Balinese calendar originally for making offerings to kris and other weapons. Over breakfast we chat with Richard, our host, but he has to go for the ceremony for his car. All cars have ceremonies today now, all scooters too. Plus computers, digital cameras and other machinery. The car park is quite colourful today. 

 We bit the bullet and finally got a driver to take us in to Singaraja. Lovina Beach is on the outskirts of Singaraja, which is quite a big city with strong colonial Dutch influences. The driver was our un-favourite driver. He is one who tries to take you to places where he gets commission and where you have no wish to go. This day however, he took us to Singaraja, to the harbour. In Dutch colonial times, Singaraja was the main harbour where the liners came in. Everyone went OVER the mountains down to Denpasar. It must have been quite a journey in those days. 

Then we had a look around the markets and looked at the colourful shops that sell all the paraphernalia required for the Balinese Hindu religion. Beautiful colourful baskets, bright umbrellas, huge decorations made of palm fronds. But I didn’t photograph any because I knew I was going to Klung Kung market later and it is much easier there.

After a drive around the centre of Singaraja, our driver took us to a road along the beach lined with little warungs and huts. He told us it is a really happening place at the weekends, but this weekday lunchtime it was pretty quiet. The restaurant he took us to handed us a rijstaffel menu. On commission again I expect. Rijstaffel was the last thing we wanted this hot lunchtime. (Rijstaffel is a dish from Dutch colonial times, of many small dishes with rice.) So we ate nasi goreng chicken instead. Back at the hotel, the guilts got the better of us and we sat in the reception area, sketching a car that had offerings from the ceremony that morning.

 That accomplished, we went off down to the beach to watch the sunset. I had thought the beach would point north, but it must point west at Kalibukbuk, because the community and the tourists go down to the beach for sunset. Bintang beer and pancakes at Santhi Bar. 



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

Men who stare at fans

  A morning of swimming and walking around the market led us to Ibu Rai for lunch, (satay) where I sketched. On entering a restaurant, we always pause looking for sketching opportunities.  It makes the restaurant staff anxious. It’s the same everywhere. They want to get you seated quick smart. And on this day we were hustled into sitting down before we were ready. I need to become more ruthless about this. So I sketched what was in front of me. Beautiful soft blues and greens there with touches of magenta.

During our morning in the market we went for a ‘hangover cure’ drink. We had no hangover, but these drinks are delicious. The colour comes from the dragonfruit, and a lot of the flavour too, though it also contains banana and strawberries.  We have a list of cafes and restaurants obtained from the Ubud Community Page on Facebook, written by an ex-pat who lives here. So in the afternoon, after another swim, we decided to locate the video shop for once and and for all, and to try to find one or two of the cafes.  A highly successful trip to the video shop in Jalan Dewi Sita, then up Jalan Goutama where we came across Kismet Cafe (on our list for a good place for ice blended coconut latte with coconut milk.) The cafe, though up some steep steps, through a split gate and up more steps, gave a first good impression with cool towels and ice water with lime and cucumber. It was a very small cafe with display cabinets containing beautiful and unusual jewellery cleverly set into the table tops. Service was a little slow. I ordered the drink above and my friend ordered something similar. 

While we were waiting, a young man jumped up on the wide high window ledge to fix the large fan up there. He had a screwdriver in his hand. He stared at the fan for some time. He held the screwdriver in his hand. He walked to the other side of the fan and stared some more.  And some more. Eventually after quite a wait, my friend’s drink came. Mine did not. So we watched the fan-starer. He assumed various positions around the fan, still holding the screwdriver firmly in his hand at his side. After a very long period my drink had still not come, so my friend enquires (I was sitting with my back to the counter). Just coming! Just coming! But it didn’t come, and it didn’t come, and the fan-starer was still staring at the fan.  Finally, finally, it came, just as it was a starting to get dark (and we still had to get down the steps in the dark. ) and then it was only a frappé. A long icy drink that couldn’t be drunk quickly. So we got to see the fan-starer admit defeat.

Just on dark we resumed our walk along Jalan Goutama, failing to find another recommended restaurant, but coming out on Jalan Raya (the Main Street) right by Cafe Nomad, an old favourite from the year dot. We had an early dinner while marvelling at Ubud peak hour traffic. We are going back to video it.


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

Rumah kedua – back to Ubud

cendana_shrineSo here I am back in Ubud, my second home. My friend still has the dental problems and wants a quiet morning. So I head off up the Monkey Forest Road to check out Ubud Market. But first I run the gauntlet of the old friends and the drivers I have known.

For those who don’t know Bali, you might be getting confused by the names shortly. There are only four first names in Bali (on the whole) so one knows a whole lot of people with the same name. They are birth order names. First born is Wayan, second is Made (pron Marday) then Nyoman, and then Ketut. Child number five will be called Wayan and then you go round again.

I seem to know mostly Nyomans, and a few Mades. So I ran into the Made who calls me Mama (silly boy…though I have known him for almost 30 years) and another Made, a driver I met last visit. I have been emailing a lovely Nyoman who was our driver last time, became a friend and really touched our hearts. I wanted him to pick us up and bring us to Ubud. When I got no reply from the email, I texted, then called and got no reply. I had a bad feeling about that. I found out from his friend Made, that he has got sick and died of cancer in the eighteen months since my last visit. I am really sad about that.

So, off to the market. A look around and a tiny bit of shopping, then back for lunch with my friend. A heavenly mango mint smoothie and lumpia again at Dian Restaurant.

It was very hot and humid, so a long long swim and sketching by the pool. Out to dinner at Rai Pasti, just down the Monkey Forest Road.


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

Urban Sketchers lunching and sketching

griya_lionMy first full day in Bali and a day alone…except that it wasn’t. Bali Urban Sketcher Peny Senyowati, very kindly gave up her lunch break to come and sketch with me.

I am running very late with blogging as my travelling companion had not been to Bali before and we have been out and about at all times. So now I am trying to catch up.

imagePeny and I had lunch in the restaurant of the hotel. Right on the beach. I ate lumpia, which are like huge spring rolls, but much more delicious. Peny had soup, which looked amazing. Peny and I met in 2013 when I came to Bali the last time. I went sketching with the Bali Urban Sketchers at the Museum of Bali.

Quite soon them rain came, but we moved to another table that proved to have an even better view of the statue I wanted to sketch. I want to sketch things that are a reminder of Bali, not just trees and flowers. Though, sketching every day, I must sometimes compromise. But I have sketched every day, I have.

NOTE: I badly need lipstick in this photo.


Filed under Uncategorized

Making travel journals with a friend

karens_booksI have been a bit slack about blogging recently. I have been making books more than sketching. These are two recent ones I made with a friend one rainy Sunday. She had looked at my travel sketchbooks a while ago, and although she doesn’t sketch, she decided she would love to have a book to keep all her souvenirs and to write.

karens_endpapersWe took a big plastic rubbish bag up to the art shop in the rain to keep the paper dry. We bought three sheets of Canaletto paper  which made two books.   I bound one and she bound the other.  One is for a previous trip that she has kept a lot of collage bits from, and the other is for her next trip.

She had quite a selection of papers to work with. The one that looks black is dark navy and has leafy bits in it. It has this beautiful marbled paper for the endpapers (inside the covers).

So now she is ready to roll with her travel journals.



Filed under book art, Travel, Uncategorized


cahersiveenThe Virtual Paintout for October is County Kerry, Ireland. I went to Ireland in 1975 and travelled around by public transport. We went around the ‘Ring of Kerry’ and stopped off for a night at Cahersiveen. A strange old-fashioned place in those days, unlike anywhere else we went in Ireland. Totally changed now, I’m sure. It looks more modern, walking around the Google maps street view with the little yellow man.

But I remember going to a bar that was the front ‘parlour’ of someone’s house. Did we eat there too? I don’t remember. It is too long ago. We stayed in a B&B that was also someone’s house. There were holy pictures everywhere and containers of holy water too.

Ten years later, when I was living in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald Saturday edition had a huge article about a scandal centred on Cahersiveen after the stabbed body of a baby found on a beach. It  resulted in what seems to have been a witch hunt centred on an unmarried mother completely unrelated to the baby whose body was found. You can read about it here. It didn’t really surprise me that such a thing would happen there. Ireland has changed a lot since 1985.


Filed under Uncategorized, Virtual Paintout, watercolour