Category Archives: Journal

Last two drawings – Bali Journal

Cafe Bunete Ubud Bali. Watercolor and ink

Cafe Bunete Ubud Bali. Watercolor and ink

I just realised how long it has been since I last posted and it has been ages.  My day job has been totally flat out and I have just not had enough energy left to draw.  But it is slowing down a bit and I have had a chance to finish the last two drawings in my Bali journal.

The above drawing is of a cafe we dropped into during the heat of the day to cool off before we went to the spa.  It was so inviting and the bright silk cushions were so lovely and bright in the dim coolness.  The food and service that we had in Bali was excellent, but the thing that stands out most in my mind was the lime drinks.  I wasn’t able to drink alcohol while I was away, (when I get too tired it just gives me a headache, alas for all the lovely cocktails I couldn’t sample), but the non-alcoholic drinks available were awesome.   Some had lime and mint, others had spices like cinnamon and two or three vanilla pods.  Vanilla pods were clearly cheaper there than at home.

I am really happy with the layout of this and the next spread that I did, I think I am finally getting the hang of journal page layout.  I like the visual link between the pages where the drawing either goes onto the next page or the little illustration links across.  This gives more interest to the journal pages and makes it a journal rather than a book of different drawings.

Cafe spread  Watercolour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Cafe spread Watercolour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Taksu Spa Spread Water colour and Ink Bali Journal 2015

Taksu Spa Spread Water colour and Ink Bali Journal 2015

The Spa drawing is of Taksu Spa in Ubud and it is a divine place. The Spa complex spans a creek bed and you climb down into the creek gully into this wonderful  alternate universe with pavilions floating in the pools, water lilies, ferns and aerial roots from the figs above hanging down.  The treatments were also pretty good too.

Taksu Spa Ubud Bali Water colour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Taksu Spa Ubud Bali Water colour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Well that is all of the main drawings done for the journal, I just have to add some photos and neaten up a few pages and it will all be complete.  It has been a magical trip and I have really enjoyed making the journal, even though it took much longer than I had hoped.  Like all these things I have learned such a lot by doing it and the memories from this trip are saved in such a wonderful way.

Karen

 

What working in a journal teaches you – Bali Journal 2015

Rice Terraces Acrylic and ink. Bali Journal 2015

i have finished adding colour to the rice terraces.  I should learn not to delay between the line sketch and adding colour, as I get nervous about wrecking the drawing.  This is also heightened with a journal, as I will not be able to get rid of it if I mess it up. I think that is one of the reasons why it took me so long to work in journals, the permanency of work and what if I wreck the drawing and I am stuck with it?

But of course this turned out to be one of the great things that I have learned in the last year of working in journals, the mistakes aren’t as important as I thought.  I have learned to not only live with mistakes and imperfections in my drawings but to embrace them and see that they add life and feeling to the image.  I have also learnt to work through the mistakes and how to rescue drawings that were teetering on the brink of disaster.  The use of multi media helps me, I often find a different approach of a various  mediums can often be what is needed.

The few things that I now always check when a drawing is just not working are

  • Line variation, I like to make sure that there are variations in the lines I am using and thicken up some of the lines or make breaks in the lines.  This gives much more life and movement to what I am drawing.  I have a very favourite brush pen that makes the most delicious tapered line.  It is a Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Brush pen and it is under $10.
  • Darks, since I started drawing, I don’t get the values right in my images and it is usually because my dark areas are not dark enough.  So I always have to check my drawings and go back to what I have been taught, do I have the right balance of light, middle and dark tones in my image.  As I use a lot of my photos as references, technology helps by being able to make my photos black and white.  That often  sorts out the problems.
  • Highlights.  Adding those last highlights is now much easier since I discovered good white pens.  My extra fine white sharpie is great to add in those highlight, (or fix a problem) and you can go back over them with colour to knock back the brightness and sink the area back into the drawing.

Back to the journal, my main disappointment in my last trip was not seeing the rice terraces, so this time we went for a day trip to the north of the island and did a half day walking tour of the rice fields   It was so interesting as the guide not only explained the rice production but showed us the medicinal and other plants in the region, plus something I had not seen before, clove trees  I did not realise how big the trees are and you can smell the cloves as you walk by them.  You could also see the cloves being dried on large sheets beside the road.

Cloves drying by the side of the road

Cloves drying by the side of the road

I also went back to one of my previous pages and added a drawing on a urn that was beside the bridge.  I drew the urn, but the spread didn’t work and I thought I had wrecked it, but a couple of days away from it and with fresh eyes I realised it had no darks and by adding in a very dark background it matched in with the other drawing and the spread was saved.  A drawing is such a journey and there is hardly a drawing I do that I don’t hate at some stage, but as I learn more I find that I am able to see were the problems are and fix them or learn to let go of the perfection and embrace the wonkiness

Urn and offering. Water colou and ink. Bali Journal 2015

Urn and offering. Water colou and ink. Bali Journal 2015

Bamboo bridge and Urn spread. Watercolour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Bamboo bridge and Urn spread. Watercolour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Karen

PS I have written this post on my IPad, so please forgive any problems as this is not my preferred way of posting.

 

 

Water Theme – The Bali Journal continiues

Water lily and dragonfly Water color pencil and ink Bali Journal 2015

Water lily and dragonfly Water color pencil and ink Bali Journal 2015

I am still drawing in my Bali journal and quietly proud of it.  I am determined to complete it and although I have a number of different projects that I think I would like to try, back to the journal it is.  This will not be one of my many uncompleted projects.  With the completing of journals I feel the need to start some larger more finished art works.  It has been ages since I did a big drawing outside a journal.  (See one sentence is about finishing and the next is looking at the bright, sparkly idea over there, the attention span of a gnat.)

The drawings that I have recently completed in the Bali journal all have a watery theme.  One of the highlights from the trip was a tour we took to the north of the island to go walking through the rice fields.   I was also keen to get out of the built up areas of Bali and see the rural landscape.

Line drawing of rice fields Pen and ink Bali Journal 2015

Line drawing of rice fields Pen and ink Bali Journal 2015

Above is a line drawing of the rice fields, I haven’t added the colour yet, not sure what medium I want to use, but no rush.  On the way to the rice fields we passed by some volcanic lakes, one with an important water shrine, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan.  We had followed a whole village who were going for the yearly celebration to this important shrine, they were packed into every type of transport imaginable including large trucks with about 50 people squashed into the back.  It was a beautiful and tranquil place and here are a couple of water serpent carvings that were right on the lake edge.

Water serpents at Lake Danau Beratan. Matt water colour and ink Bali Hournal 2015

Water serpents at Lake Danau Beratan. Matt water colour and ink Bali Journal 2015

While at Ubud I went to the art store, you can get some really cheap and unusual art supplies in Bali and I found some matte water colours which looked like fun.  I used them on the serpents, interesting with a chalky feel to them.  Undecided on whether I like them or not, but always fun to have new supplies. Below is a picture of the line drawing before I added the water colour.

Line drawing of water serpents Ink Bali Journal 2015

Line drawing of water serpents Ink Bali Journal 2015

I had to have a close up of the water lilies in the journal as that pond was such an important part of our trip.  This picture was taken to catch a fleeting glimpse of a the dragon fly, but as such things happen I really liked the composition and decided to use it for my picture.  I took the image onto the next page to add some interest to the journal spread.

Life on the lily pond page Journal spread water colour and ink Bali journal 2015

Life on the lily pond page Journal spread water colour and ink Bali journal 2015

Last of all is another Balinese inspired pattern, it has been a horrendously busy 10 days at work and I just needed the solace of a peaceful repeat pattern. Art is such a wonderful retreat where I can forget the problems of the present and return to my holiday.

Balinese Pattern, water colour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Balinese Pattern, water colour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Karen

Temples and Palaces – Bali Journal

Ubud Palace Carving, Ink, graphite and water colour Bali Journal 2015

Ubud Palace Carving, Ink, graphite and water colour Bali Journal 2015

Bali is known as the island of temples and indeed it is easy to think that almost every building in Bali is either a temple or a shop.  On this trip I begun to have a better understanding of the Balinese religion and the role of the temples in every day life.  Every Balinese house has a temple, one at the door to avert evil spirits, and then a little temple complex in the house compound for temples to their ancestors and the particular gods that they worship.  They were sometimes very elaborate or just often just simple, the structure of the temple was not as important as the spirits they contain.

I just loved all the intricate carvings that were everywhere and in particular the juxtaposition of the white stone against the old red bricks of the building.  So many patterns and designs, it was heaven.

Palace Dog,  Water colour

Palace Dog, Water colour Bali Journal 2015

There are many dogs in Bali, some are treasured pets, others are very street wise strays.  The Balinese used to have a terrible problem with stray dogs and rabies, but a concerted effort between the Balinese government and Australian and other international vets have helped to sort out the problem.  Without a specific breeding program the dogs have reverted back to their archetypal form as seen above.  Sort of like a pointy eared Labrador.  (I just learnt that fact from a TV dog show the other day, but 90% of the dogs in Bali were of this type so it made sense to me and I thought I would sound knowledgeable for a moment).  This one had a collar (but no tail) so I presume he was loved by someone in the palace.

By the way this is a drawing by me without any black outlines!!, it was hard to do, but occasionally I just like to prove to myself that I can do it.

Nature Temples Pen and ink Bali Journal 2015

Nature Temples Pen and ink Bali Journal 2015

Here are some of the less ornate temples, these were nature temples near a farm we passed.  The tall brick one is for the male nature spirits and the smaller wooden one is for the female spirits.  My understanding is they were to pray to the old nature spirits to say thank you for letting the farmer use the land and keep on the right side of them.  The Balinese religions combines their old nature spirit worship, Hindu gods and ancestor worship.  A full time job to keep all of them happy, but the island has the most beautiful quality to it, that many people put down to this sincere incorporation of the spiritual into their everyday lives.

Bamboo Bridge Sapu Lidi Resort Ubud Ink and water colour Bali Journal 2015

Bamboo Bridge Sapu Lidi Resort Ubud Ink and water colour Bali Journal 2015

I really struggled with this drawing of a beautiful bamboo bridge, the proportions somehow got completely out of whack, but the feel is something like the original.  Here is also an offering box that are seen outside every house or business every day.  I think the bridge had one because of the cross over of a path and water.

Balinese Pattern water colour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Balinese Pattern water colour and ink Bali Journal 2015

Lastly is a pattern page.  Hope you have enjoyed this revisited of the journal.  I still have quite a few pages to go, so I will be back with more.  I am determined to complete this journal, then it will be the first travel journal that is finished.  It is the year for finishing journals, as I have only two more pages to complete my sketch book.  That is really exciting as I have never kept up sketching for that long either.

Karen

Collaboration 2 Collections

Collections Karen's Page

Collections Karen’s Page

I have finally finished the last book in the collaboration.  Thank you Cathe for being so patient as I dealt with other things in my life.  This is a lovely book based on a great idea, collections.  Don’t we all have a pile of those great little treasures that you find on a walk and bring home.  Well I used to, but for some reason I don’t any more.  I think it is because I don’t have a studio at the moment and I am always carrying my art work between Melbourne and Castlemaine, but I think it could also be because I take photos now rather than collect.

So I was a little bit stumped on what to do, then I thought of other collections I have and one of my favourites is my herb collection.  I love growing, smelling, eating, cooking and drawing my herbs and no matter where I live I always have a patch of herbs.  So a few of my favourites went into my page.

Collections joint  page

Collections joint page

For the joint page I went for a walk and made a collection of some  of the things that caught my eye.  I was lucky enough to find the yellow crest feather of the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo and then the breast feather of a pink Galah, another native parrot and some lovely delicate gumnuts.

The book is finished now and here are the other pages. The page below is the first page, Cathe did the lovely drawing of the paintbrushes in the jar and we all added little bits to it.  Gale the marbles, Anna the feathers (I just realised they are Galah feathers too by the look of them) and I did the gumnuts.

Collections Joint front page

Collections Joint front page

Next is Cathe’s page, she has such a great design sense when she puts these pages together and I like the way she makes the lettering part of the drawing.  I am inspired by her lettering and hope I can get my own to work as well in my journals.  Her feathers are also gorgeous.

Collections Cathe's page

Collections Cathe’s page

Next to work in the book was Gale, she was really inspired by this and put such a great diversity of objects in her collection page. the old tool is fantastic and sits along the rest of the collection so happily.

Collections Gale's page

Collections Gale’s page

Anna followed next and she was so inspired by this book that she has started her own journal of her collections.

Collections Anna's page

Collections Anna’s page

So our collaboration has finished, but we have all been so inspired, challenged and rewarded by it in so many ways, I do think that we will do another one next year.  I must say that I am looking forward to it.  We have all become such good friends through it and learned a great deal from one another.

Karen

More from Bali

Balinese Door  Water colour and Ink Bali 2015 Journal

Balinese Door Water colour and Ink Bali 2015 Journal

Although I am now back from Bali, I still have some more drawings that I want to do in my journal.  I had a great time there, relaxing and so beautiful.  I really like the Balinese they are very welcoming and have a great sense of humour.

Breakfast over looking the rice fields  Ubud Bali

Breakfast over looking the rice fields Ubud Bali

One of the things that I enjoyed in our stay in Ubud was having breakfast in the outdoor restaurant overlooking the rice fields and watching flocks of little birds feasting on the just ripening grain.  It took us ages to find out what they were as there were two different colourings of the same bird.  So here is a drawing of a cinnamon munia, but there were also ones that were dark chestnut and cream.

Cinnamon Munias  Water colour and ink  Bali 2015 journal

Cinnamon Munias Water colour and ink Bali 2015 journal

The gardens at the resort were beautiful and these following two drawings were at the resort.  There were loads of heleconias, one of my favourite group of flowers as they are so architectural.  I have seen some of them in florists, but this is the first time I had seen them growing, truly bizarre shapes.

Heliconias  watercolour pencil and ink Bali 2015 Journal

Heliconias watercolour pencil and ink Bali 2015 Journal

The first drawing in the post is of a doorway leading up to on of the villas at the resort, they had different doorways for some of the villas.  The carving and colours were just so beautiful I had to draw one.

Karen

Ubud – Come and meet our Lily pond

Lily Pond at Sapu Lidi Resort Ubud.  Water colour and ink

Lily Pond at Sapu Lidi Resort Ubud. Water colour and ink

We are spending most of our time in Ubud.  I visited quickly on my last holiday and decided to spend most of my time here on this holiday and I am so very happy that I have.  There is so much to do and see here, with slightly fewer tourist.  Ubud is more in the centre of Bali, it is seen as the cultural heart and they are so generous in sharing their culture and history.

The drawing is the view from our room.  It literally sits right on the edge of this lake/pond and I look over it from my bed and sit on the edge (another day bed) and draw.  It just doesn’t get better than this.

Water lily pond Sapu Lidi Resort Ubud

Water lily pond Sapu Lidi Resort Ubud

We have been watching all the wild life in and around the pond and I have tried to add them into the picture.  The stars are the water lilies, they open at night after dusk and will close again at midday.  The buds grow at incredible speed they will poke their heads up out of the water in the morning and grow at least two feet during the day and just start to open by the evening.  They will flower for a few days then slowly sink back under.

There is also the swallows that fly over the pond skimming off the bugs from the surface.  So many do this that you can hear the clack of their wings.  They tag team with the bats who take over at dusk (though they didn’t get into the picture)  There is also a water hen that stalks the lily pads at dusk and dawn and makes quite a racket.  There are some very large fish and one huge golden carp that you just see a flash of his gold back as he jumps for food.  There are also a couple of two metre water monitor lizards that cruise across the pond on a regular basis going from the bank to under the pavilion.  They will drag themselves out over the lily pads if they get in their path.  I dangled my toes in the water on the first day but not after seeing these creatures.

Water Hen on the pond near our patio. Ubud Bali

Water Hen on the pond near our patio. (you can see the edge of the day bed) Ubud Bali

There are also great big fat, black, shiny bumble bees with one red stripe that hover over the lily flowers drinking their nectar and amazingly bright dragonflies some red others blue.  It has been such a joy to just sit here and observe all these creatures in this gorgeous location.

Hope you liked it too.

Karen