Tag Archives: Bali

Boma – paint first, pen later

boma At Darling Harbour on Good Friday I was chatting to Fiona Verity who was painting the cityscape loosely and planning to draw into it when dry.  I enjoy working that way also. So a couple of days later, on a wet afternoon, I decided to paint this statue of Boma loosely, from a photo,  then draw into it.

I took the photo at Pura Gunung Kawi at Sebatu. Not the Gunung Kawi with the beautiful views of rice terraces and all the steps, but a temple tucksebatu_2ed away in a valley in the middle of Bali and not much frequented by tourists.

Boma is a guardian figure. He is son of Wisnu and the earth goddess Pertiwi. Wisnu had turned himself into a boar and raped Pertiwi who understandably, in that form, had knocked him back. Hence the face that looks somewhat piggy (in my sketch). Boma is a guardian figure and his face is often seen above doorways. You can read more about Boma here.

So, my method was to paint first, not too carefully. I allowed some of the colours to run into one another, and others I left a tiny gap of dry paper. Then once the paint was dry, I drew into it with a Copic Multiliner. In hindsight I wish I had splashed the paint around a bit more, although the paint was my guide in all this decorative detail when I started in with the pen.  Maybe I will put a few splatters of bright paint around him.


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

Griya Santrian carving

santrian_carvingI sketched this with my SUPER5 pen, given to me by a friend. I really like this pen. It is currently filled with Noodlers Bulletproof black ink (which I never use with colour because it is not waterproof on may of the papers I use in my sketchbooks).   This is from a photo from my recent trip to Bali. It was taken at the Griya Santrian Hotel and is along the path past the art gallery there.

I enjoy sketching these carvings and statues. I did another one here,  and  here.  Well, there are a lot really. Of course it is someone else’s art. I talked to someone about how the carvings are done while I was there, and yes, it certainly does start with a drawing, then this is transferred to the area to be carved.

The one I like best of all my drawings of carvings is this one from Kalibukbuk, which I also made a solar plate etching of. It is from a previous trip. Of course, the art work still belongs to someone else (such elegance of line!) but my interpretation is about the way the light falls on the carving. So is the sketch in this post really, though I think the media I chose doesn’t set it off best.

This has led me to thinking ‘what is my subject matter going to be this time in Bali?’ I’m going to be there for almost a month. I need a plan. So what is it I love about Bali? Apart from the people, I love the lush tropical vegetation and I love the way everything is so over-the-top decorative.  which brings me back to other people’s art work. Though I do prefer to draw hard-edged things rather than natural things. My main interest in tone and the way light falls on things. I’m still working it out.


Filed under Bali, inks, sketchbook, sketching, Super5 pen, Travel

The journey home

garuda_cabin After being trapped by the rain at Murni’s Restaurant it was time to get back to the hotel and get ready to leave. I needed to change more money, buy one or two last-minute gifts near the hotel, shower, change and eat something.

I managed it all except for eating. They decided to fog the hotel garden for mosquitos, so I wasn’t able to leave my room for quite some time and when it was over it was time to go.

I set off to the airport with Made driving, just about dusk. It takes about an hour from Ubud depending on traffic, but I made sure I had plenty of time. It began to rain again and shortly my friend back at the hotel texted me to say Ubud was in darkness again. This is the first time I have had a Bali SIM card and I made good use of it. The phone was running hot with friends texting to say goodbye.

The rain worsened and the scooters were all stopping for their riders to don rain ponchos. Then it became a violent electrical storm and many places of shelter had forlorn little groups of scooter riders wearing helmets and rain ponchos, waiting for the storm to abate.  The traffic was very slow and as we neared the airport came to a virtual stop. Made was concerngaruda_loungeed, but I always have plenty of time up my sleeve.

I made it to the airport with a little time to spare, so after check-in I went to see the Garuda Business Class lounge. As I’d been told, it was underwhelming. It is partitioned off from the main concourse, with no decor, no toilets, no alcohol and very little food. I had a cup of tea and two dry little cup-cakes. We were flying at 10.30 pm and I had had no food since lunch.  I think Garuda can do better than this. Everything else about flying with them is excellent. Why this? Nothing to sketch, so I sketched the receptionist, her desk and the orchid that was the only bit of decor in the place.

On boarding, people were starting to get ready to go to sleep right away, but I asked for food. Satay, similar to the snack I had on the way up. Delicious, but not before time. Too late to sketch really, as lights were going out all around me.

I was asked if I wanted to be woken for breakfast two hours before landing and I said YES. But after breakfast, there was still an hour and a half to fill. It was 6 a.m. So I gave in and drew the aircraft cabin. Everyone draws the aircraft cabin, so I have resisted this far. This time I needed something to do. Breakfast was over, it was far too early for a drink, so here it is.


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

USK Bali at Antonio Blanco Museum


This was the day that Peny Senyowati had arranged for 25 Bali Urban Sketchers to come to Ubud to sketch with us. I had sketched with  some of them on my previous trip to Bali and they are beginning to seem like old friends now.

This time we went to the Antonio Blanco Museum. I had never been there before, as I had somehow had the idea that his work was ‘weird’. jamu I had found out more recently that it was not-weird, and was very happy to go there. This link shows you the beautiful interior of the museum and some of the paintings. One of the things I liked about them at the not-weird point, was that they are ‘not finished’. They don’t spell everything out. It is since then I have read Gabi Campanario’s advice on that matter.

The reason for the yellow page is   JAMU again.usk_bali_3 At the Cendana Hotel my friend has jamu every morning – a drink especially made for her by the staff. The yellow colouring is turmeric. Being a great experimenter with surface texture/colouring, she asked them to save the pulp and we coloured a page or two of our sketchbooks overnight. The sketch of the palm leaves was done with blue on the yellow turmeric ground while we waited for the Urban Sketchers to arrive.

W2015-02-28 10.54.29e then entered the museum to see the paintings and the artist’s studio,  and after that we drew in the beautiful gardens. I sat on some steps and drew the lion-like creature, while the others ranged around the gardens sketching. On Facebook, you can see ALL the photos here. There was a beautiful Balinese bridal couple having photographs taken in the gardens and I took many photos with my phone, but I feel that perhaps it is not-ok to publish them here.  The bride wore cerise, and the groom a primrose jacket with cerise sarong and headcloth.

Sometime about 1pm, the sky darkened and a few drops of rain started to fall. My friend and I scampered down the drive and across the bridge to Murni’s Restaurant before the rain turned into a torrent. usk_bali_2We relaxed there until about 3pm when the rain eased off.  A good place to be trapped in a storm. Oh yes, cap cay (a vegetable dish) for mains and as a special treat, Balinese caramel cake with ginger sauce.


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

Five Elements

five_elementsMy friend had been telling me about Five Elements for some time, so off we went for lunch.  Please DO click the link on the name and have a look at a picture of this amazing resort. The construction from bamboo is what appeals to me. My friend is interested in the ‘wellness’ aspect of it, but the mere word ‘wellness’ makes me ….well, I won’t say it.

The resort is very beautiful and v2015-02-27 11.31.34ery quiet. It is located off to the west of Ubud, slightly to the south. You would have to know where you are going because it is in an area of small villages and even smaller roads.

Jamu is the word for Indonesian herbal medicine, and in Bali one sees jamu sellers making their way around carrying big baskets of jamu concotions. What we drank was a type of jamu, I guess. You can see the ingredients listed on the sketchbook page, and here is a picture. You can also see a big inadvertent splosh of it on the sketchbook page. I couldn’t work out why I was being so messy.  After a while I realised th2015-02-27 12.20.41at my ‘straw’ was actually a hollow length of lemon grass, and somehow I didn’t have proper control of it.

The food at Five Elements is all raw foods. You can read more about it here.

Thi2015-02-27 12.20.31s is what our main course consisted of….it was called Zucchini Pappardelle Alfredo. Shaved zucchini noodles tossed lightly with creamy cashew Alfredo sauce, kalamata olives, capers and cherry tomatoes, sprinkled with parmesan and finished with truffle oil and chiffonade of Italian basil.

Below is my first sketch of the morning from right after breakfast. I realised I hadn’t yet sketched an offering. I wanted my sketchbook fofferingrom this trip to be representative of Bali, and if that was the case, an offering had to be in the book. This little one was near the restaurant in the hotel so I quickly sketched it before we went out. Offerings are everywhere. They are an important part of Balinese life. This blog post from ‘A Little Adrift’ explains it very well, with photos.


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

‘Last minute’ panic shopping

laka_lekeIt wasn’t actually the last minute. It was only Thursday, and I wasn’t leaving until Saturday night. But I had lots of things planned, and if I was going to get any more gifts, today was the day. So, off I went to Ubud Market, for yet another silk top, this time for Broni (see image). Slowly down the Monkey Forest Road, a detour via Dewi Sita Street, a cool drink at Ibu Rai, and back to the hotel.

Immediately out abronis_silkgain with the hotel driver to look at silver beads in a shop in Hanoman Street (very little variety and expensive…difficult to find silver beads in Bali now). Then on to Goddess on the Go. This is a shop recommended by my friend with Australian styled clothing – things you can wear at home, rather than in the tropics. Towards Australian prices, but high quality for low prices. I should have taken my credit card but it was back in the hotel safe. Luckily I had just changed some money so I was able to buy a red top. Next visit, I will go to this shop early, in case I want something made in my size in another colour.

From there, it was my turn to make a suggestion and we went for lunch at Laka Leke restaurant, in Nyukuning, just through the MonKey Forest from Ubud. I have been going there since it first opened and was a really small restaurant, but it grew to a large restaurant with pavilions in a garden. We were hot tired and thirsty by this time. I was looking for something simple to draw. Just a few days to fill up my sketchbook. So I drew the funny little creature a on the left, then some penjors (flags) in the garden and finally part of a carved panel ( using Gabi Campanario’s rule that you don’t have to finish every drawing.) mojitos

That evening, I said to my friend, ‘May I buy you a mojito?’  Cinta Grill has happy hour mojitos from 4-7 pm every day, two-for-the-price-of-one. I have wanted to do this before for about ten years, but somehow I have been alone when I was able to do so, and it seemed maybe a bit crass to go in and have two mojitos lined up. So my friend accepted and off we went to Cinta Grill. We didn’t have a strategy about where to sit to sketch. Our minds were on the mojitos.  It was getting dark, so I drew the tree and the lantern.

My friend had not had a mojito before and she really enjoyed it, saying  ‘there can’t be much alcohol in this!’ So we had another one each.  Cost of four mojitos = $16.20 in all.


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

Not a girl for pampering

cantika_spaI’ve never been one for pampering. I don’t ‘like’  the hairdressers’. I love a good haircut, but I’m happy to be out of there. Too impatient.

So this is how it is, that although I have been going to Bali since 1986, I have had one and only one massage.  It never interested me.

But about ten years ago I was in Ubud alone for a week and I thought it was a good time to try. I went to a place that had recommendations on the Bali Travel Forum. Didn’t enjoy it at all. The massage itself had too little pressure (I’ve been massaged by the physio) and was a non-event for that reasocendana_lunchn.  But what I really didn’t like was the walk across the tiled floor and the climb down into the sunken bath on oily feet. I thought I would break my neck.

Worse still, I found that my hair was full of oil, so I had to slink up the Monkey Forest Road back to the hotel and have a shower and shampoo my hair. So, never again.

But in Thailand, Broni talked me into having a reflexology foot massage and that was wonderful. No chance of greasy hair there.

The friend who joined me at the hotel for the last week of my holiday is a massage-every-day girl. I wouldn’t have been tempted, but she suggested a pedicure. I could do with that. We went to Cantika 3, up in the jungle beyond Penestenan (near Ubud). We were in a pavilion overlooking the jungle with our feet in huge earthenware bowls of warm scented water with the petals of tropical flowers floating there. The pedicure took a whole hour and included a massage up to the knee. Two coats of nail polish and a top co2015-02-25 16.25.29at – still perfect nearly three weeks later.

While this was happening I quickly sketched the ginger tea with the palm frond bird in a yellow ochre watercolour pencil. But I abandoned it there, because all the activity was destroying the ambience. Finished it later. The other sketch is of a decoration in the restaurant at Cendana where we had a very quick lunch of lumpia before going up to the spa.




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