Tag Archives: Bali

Balinese book cloth

imageMost mornings, for over a week, the first thing I have done is make book cloth. It needs to dry overnight and the only place I can keep it safe from the cat is on top of the washing machine, so it’s one sheet at a time.

Three of these pieces are from silk scarves bought in Bali in May for this purpose. I previously used this beautiful red and gold, and another similar fabric of a vibrant purple  from fabric I had  bought about ten years ago. After much searching, and a visit to the fabric market at Klung Kung, I found that although there are many gilded fabrics that look similar to these, they are all polyester, and not suitable for bookcloth. One must use pure cotton or silk, which is then laminated to kozo paper.

imageAt Klung Kung market in February I found a navy and white pure cotton man’s headcloth  from which I have  made one piece of bookcloth so far. It will be very robust and look good too. When I got home, it occurred to me that I could make bookcloth from the silk scarves that are available everywhere in Bali. So in May, I bought these three scarves. The blue one at the top is not as blue as it has photographed. More a burgundy/tan colour with some blue and magenta. I think it is my favourite.


The pink has photographed true to colour, though the one with the peacock green pattern is brighter.

peacock_scarf Three scarves (and a headcloth) make a LOT of bookcloth. Each scarf has used a whole sheet of kozo paper. The silk is not very robust. When I made my first piece of bookcloth, I thought I had damaged the silk in the process, but once I went on to make the others, I saw that the silk, which is finer than silk I have used for bookcloth before, has many small flaws and I am not making them worse. See close-up. peacock_scarf_flaws

I’m not sure how the silk will last  ‘in the field’. The books are intended for the 30th anniversary of my first trip to Bali in 1986. We have enough bookcloth though, that should it become too ragged, we can make new covers.



Filed under artist's book, Bali, book art, sketchbook, Travel

The turtle fountain

tortoise_fountainIn the garden at Cendana Hotel are many wonders. Among them is the turtle fountain. Not far from our room, we walked past it a number of times before realising that it was inhabited by quite a number of turtles. Three or four big ones and two babies. This one with the colourful shell is one of the babies.

Having turned over two pages at a time in my sketchbook, I needed to rectify this by doing extra sketches to fill the empty space, so one hot afternoon I sat in a pavilion and sketched the turtle fountain.

imageSo much wildlife at Cendana! Turtles, cats, Bird and two other caged birds, plus wild swallows flying over the pool at the back of the hotel. In the ricefields right next door  ducks and herons, and dragonflies, both orange and green. No monkeys. Although it is in the Monkey Forest Road, we are well up the road from the forest itself.

rambutan_umbrellaThe umbrella was sketched on a different day at Rambutan hotel, to fill the other empty page. Ceremonial umbrellas are such a feature of Bali. It’s good to get one or two in the sketchbook to capture the flavour of the place.


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

Gate at Tirta Empul

tirta_empulI did this one before my May trip to Bali. It was from a photograph taken during my February trip, and it was experimental.  The gate is at Tirta Empul, where there are holy springs, but I think it was a private gate. Two men came out and looked at me strangely while I was taking the photograph. The light was falling beautifully on the different levels on the fence and I may well use this photograph again.

Holy springs at Tirta Empul

Holy springs at Tirta Empul

I sketched it with my Hero pen with water-soluble ink. I thought I had green ink in the pen but it turned out to be brown. Then I threw a lot of watercolour, allowed it to dry, then a bit more with the pen.


Filed under Bali, Hero pen, inks, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Light entertainment in the lounge

rat_orchidSad to leave. Tempted to stay. Nevertheless we caught our flight that evening. A late departure around midnight. A visitor before we left. My friend Nyoman who I have known for over twenty years. He brought us a farewell gift…….the wonderland KRUPUK with peanuts that we had at Mumbul. And now we know what they are called. ……REMPEYEK. Now we can ask for the by name. Write it down!  They’re yummy.

A quick meal at Cafe Wayan after checking out of our room, then into the car and off to Ngurah Rai airport.  Through all the usual trials of check-in and  immigration, but quick, with our priority pass. Then we settle in the Garuda business class lounge. Still the same underwhelming area, screened off from the main concourse.  Food – abysmal. However we asked for a glass of wine and got one . ONE. I said ‘What about my friend?’.

I settled down and started on my sketch. But there was something going on behind me. What’s happening? I asked Broni. There’s a RAT in the lounge, she said. Some passengers told the girl who had brought our drink. She squealed and ran away. The two girls from the reception desk came next. Some Aussie women in front of me, giving a bit of a running commentary said, “They’re holding hands ….THAT’LL be useful.”

By this time there was a buzz of very much suppressed mirth from the passengers. We continued munching our delicious rempeyek.  The girls came back accompanied by two boys with a shovel and brush. They chased the rat a bit, cornered it for a minute but it broke away. Came nearer to us. But the passengers weren’t upset – they were enjoying it too much. Finally the boys cornered the rat, killed it, and carried it out on a shovel. There’s a case for cats at Ngurah Rai airport, I think.

I believe the new Garuda business class lounge opens this month. Or maybe jam karet.

Yes, I will be flying Garuda next time.



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

The big tree at Mumbul

Woke up to rain on our last morning in Ubud. Stuck around the hotel waiting for it to stop. Packed the bag, then sat on the verandah to sketch the garden in the rain. Our flight was not leaving till midnight.

We decided to go back to Mumbul to have the same lunch again. Very friendly staff there. It is the main street of Ubud. It runs back from the street along the side of a huge ravine, with a terrace looking out over the ravine.

IMG_5065It was always a favourite in the past, due to Best Lemon Juice. We used to sit there and write postcards on hot mornings. Broni remembers going there on her first trip to Bali, twenty years ago. We sat under a huge tree and watched squirrels scamper about in the branches.

We mentioned to the waitress that it was a shame the tree had gone.. She said, yes, we had to get rid of it. We have accommodation at the back, and sometimes at night pit vipers would drop from the tree, because the ravine is full of them. We needed to stop that happening to our guests.    Over the other side of the ravine, some quite tasteful development is going on. I don’t think I will visit those places. I will stick to Mumbul and have more of their delicious prawn crackers with peanuts.


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


bird It was getting close to when we would be going home, so I decided I couldn’t leave without sketching Bird. Situated on a corner between reception and the pool, though there are two other birds, this bird is the one in the most prominent position. He is also the one that talks the most. He has a piercing wolf whistle and an even more piercing screech. He can say selamat pagi (good morning) and apa kabar? (How are you?). Broni was trying to teach him to say “I’m a very silly bird” but I don’t think she had a lot of success.  Everyone talks to Bird, but after close observation we realised that the gardener is the main tutor. Bird sleeps hidden in the top of his cage, but he will sometimes come down if you say goodnight to him.

IMG_5063After Broni was a little better we had started swimming before breakfast, and we did that also this morning. But we had to have a fairly early breakfast, because we had decided to go to Ibu Oka for lunch. I have been meaning to go to Ibu Oka for a very long time. It is famous for suckling pig.  The thing is ,they say you must go at 11a.m. Eating suckling pig quite that early isn’t something for every day, but today we were determined. We had a slightly smaller breakfast too. Popped into the market for a little more panic shopping for friends then lunch.

Ibu Oka was a pleasant surprise. There were a number of menu options, but the choice was obvious. The menu option I chose gave a small amount of various things.  It was delicious and not too large to face at 11 a.m.  The restaurant is quite modern. It was more traditional for a long time and I am sorry I missed going there when it was like that. 

Then back for a swim and it was time to draw Bird.


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

More food…and an exhibition

cendana_poolSwimming before breakfast. What a great way to start the day. However it ended up a messy morning with various boring banking things we had to do. Mostly it was Broni embroiled on that, so I went down to the little pavilion overlooking the ricefields again to sketch.

I think my brain may have been elsewhere. I had a headache. I opened my sketchbook and changed my mind about where to sit. Without realising, I reopened my sketchbook upside down and began to sketch. Once I had made a big enough mess, I realised the problem. It wasn’t recoverable, so I decided to abandon that drawing and move on.

HOWEVER, then I moved on two pages! It’s the first time I have mentioned this, but not the first time it has happened. I am using a handmade sketchbook from Fabriano Artistico 200 gsm. My sketchbook at home is the same paper. I had this problem with that book too, so I left home well aware of the problem. It is one thing in your ordinary sketchbook at home for things to be not consecutive, but in a travel sketchbook it’s a disaster.  Even though I was aware of it, I did it three times. The other times it was recoverable, because I went back and did extra sketches on the same day. This time no. So I have glued together the two pages of the upside-down sketch, and in the blank pages I have glued business cards I wanted to keep.


Cendana breakfast

For previous travel sketchbooks I have used Canaletto paper, which is 300gsm. I have NEVER turned two pages at once. I like the way that the paint moves on the Fabriano, but for travel sketchbooks I am going back to Canaletto. A shame really because a book of 200gsm paper is a lot lighter to carry.

So, after our boring business type stuff was done, we treat ourselves to a driver to Bali Kopi House. I tried the Green Bubble Tea and Broni tried a drink with crunchy bits in it. After that sustenance we walked back up the Monkey Forest Road (including the steep bit – it’s getting easier now) to the hotel. Almost immediately we went right back out again, also walking, up through the market for some more panic buying. This time I was buying a couple of extra silk scarves to make book-cloth for sketchbook covers.  I got GORGEOUS ones.

On we went to Mumbul Inn which has a new name but is the same place I have always loved. We had a late lunch of duck pancakes. Sensational. And BEST KRUPUK (prawn crackers). More about these tomorrow.

That evening we went to the opening of an exhibition of our friend Michael Paris. Michael is the American photographer I met at Villa Kitty back in February. Do have a look. His portraits are wonderful. Michael had the exhibition because he was leaving Ubud the same day as us, and to raise funds for a disabled schoolgirl who is a volunteer at Villa Kitty. I now am the proud owner of this photograph

In a sub-plot, my oldest friend Nyoman texted me early one day that week to ask if I could help him. He had found a wallet in the streeet and he wanted me to help him trace the owner. He came over on his motorbike as soon as he finished work, and I emailed the lady and sent her a Facebook message also.  It wasn’t long till she was in touch, and because of our busy social calendar she ended up picking up her wallet from the reception in the hotel while Broni and I were out. We had exchanged details of our whereabouts hoping to catch up. It turned out that she was a photographer from South Australia, so she decided to come to Michael’s exhibition, so we met both her and her husband. Elizabeth from Villa Kitty also came, and the editor of the Ubud Community magazine was there so it was an opportunity to meet him too. That’s also Michael’s photograph on the cover of the May magazine and I have a postcard size print of that too. If you were to read the magazine, you would even find my name hidden in there somewhere.  Quite a social gathering.

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