Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.


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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

A quick travel sketch report

imageI have to go and catch a train in 25 minutes, so just time for a quick update. I am running about two weeks behind actuality, with my blogging.

One thing that was holding me up is that I have been in hotel rooms with no access to the open air to photograph the sketches. On Thursday morning (May Day in Italy, very quiet, public holiday), I found a fairly deserted piazza I front of a big church. There was shade but the light was good, so I photographed everything I could, out there in the open.

Once I get home I will scan and replace all my sketches. Part of the problem is that the pages are a bit curled from the dampness of the watercolour and also there is a breeze, so it is difficult to get the photos straight under these conditions.

I am using Snapseed to improve the images, otherwise they would be much worse (and I do know they are not good). During my last trip I used PIXLR on the IPad, but once you use more than about two processes, it starts to degrade the image. Snapseed does not, and it has more flexibility. Thanks to Rob Sketcherman in Hong Kong for telling me about it.

I have sketched almost every day, except for some long travelling days, yesterday when it surprised me with thunder and lightning, and one day when we were totally exhausted and gave ourselves a day off. We carry the sketchbooks and materials every day and they get heavy on a long day out.

My sketchbook is getting full. I have another unbound one with me, but I am not sure what to do about that at the moment.

Today I go to Arezzo from Bologna. I have has wifi here as good as at home, but who knows what Arezzo will be like. That is why I thought I should post quickly now.

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Filed under sketching, Travel, Uncategorized

The flight from Australia

qantas_loungeI’ve been in Hong Kong. Several days with no wifi, except sometimes in a cafe. Flew up late on a Monday night on Cathay Pacific and slept in the herringbone formation. On Broni’s instructions we had to sketch what we ate and drank at the airport . As you see, it is red wine and a salad. It seems salads were less plentiful in Italy when I was there last year, and anyway, it’s still going to be cooool.

We arrived at 4.30 am Tuesday morning to a deserted Hong Kong airport, and rainy streets. Off in a taxi to the hotel and sleep. By late morning the rain had almost stopped so we went walking to get our bearings. I hadn’t been in Hong Kong for more than 30 years. We were staying in Kowloon, where I stayed both times before, but this time in an even more convenient hotel and spoiling ourselves with a harbour view. Found our way to the shopping centre nearest the Star Ferry. That was where I once spent a whole day during a Typhoon Warning No.3.

I belong to Sketching Workshop, on Facebook. It’s a fairly small (150) friendly group that is truly international. The previous week we gained a few new members. One was Rob Sketcherman from Hong Kong. In my welcome comment on FB, I said, well, I’ll be in Hong Kong on 1st April, and it’s not an April Fools joke.

So I got a Hong Kong SIM card, phoned Rob, and we were off on a whirlwind few days around Hong Kong with him. But first, to the art shop…..


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Säntis and Appenzell

imageDue to the complications of travel sketching, and being in the company of non sketchers, though I have sketched almost very day, I haven’t always had time to add colour on the spot. This sketch of the restaurant where we had lunch in Appenzell in Switzerland is one,of these. It is a very rough and ready sketch, and the colour added in the same way, because by the time I had spare time to catch up, I had four to catch up on, plus a sketch for the day. This is why this post from Switzerland is being done after we have already arrived in Italy. Time for blogging is limited, as is time for catching up on sketchbook things. We are out most of the time.

After leaving Switzerland, where we went most places by car, I found that I had Too Much Stuff, so that if I am having a long day out, I don’t even take my paints as they are heavy. I wish I had brought my tiny box as well.

Back in Switzerland, this was a huge day out. My friends took us first to Säntis, to the mountains. We didn’t go up in the cable car; as I said before, I don’t like heights. However we had a coffee and admired the beautiful mountain scenery.

Then we went off to Appenzell, where the houses in the town are all painted in bright patterns. We lunched there (schnitzel) and took a walk through the town to the beer factory. We shopped there, but for our host, not ourselves.

Home by the scenic route, along Lake Constanz, where our hostess swam and we joined our host in drinking some wine.


Filed under collage, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, Switzerland, Travel, Uncategorized, watercolour