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Sketches from my Bali Trip (6-11 August 2015)

I went back to Bali again last week. It was almost exactly one year after I had my longest solo trip there, and I sketched enough to fill an A4 Moleskine sketchbook then.

This year, I went back with my girlfriend to show her around.

I had planned to make a series of video on sketching in Bali, just like I did for the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore that happened last month. Unfortunately, I found out on the first day there that my microphone wasn't working anymore. It can be depressing when the tools you bring don't work. Well, at least for sketching, the pen, pencils and sketchbooks will always work, unless you run out of them.

As usual, I drew my packing list. In the end, I still forgot to bring my travel charger and had to buy an expensive one at the airport.

This time, I used the Mission Gold Watercolors that I bought recently. It's a nice 9-tube introductory set that's limited just by the lack of French Ultramarine, a warm blue. The colours are very intense, vibrant.

I stayed at Ubud for the first four of five days. This is the wonderful breakfast at a cafe Warung Made Becik near my accommodation.

I've actually added a few more colours to the Mission Gold set. The earth tone for the table in the sketchbook about is Daniel Smith's Goethite. I've also brought along Winsor & Newton's Manganese Blue Hue, Burnt Umber and French Ultramarine.

These are the shops overlooking the terraced rice padi fields at Tegalalang. You can enjoy the view with a meal at one of the many cafes on the slopes.

This is Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu. It's a temple with several lovely pristine clear pools with lots of fishes inside.

While I'm back at Pura Tirtha Empul, I noticed that several sculptures have been installed around the pools.

The composition for this sketch is bad. There's no other way to put it. I had wanted to sketch the new sculptures but in the end, they appeared smaller than the gateway. The shapes aren't very visible and it's difficult to tell what is what by looking. Lousy sketches to me are just another learning experience. I know of one artist who would stick his lousy pages together and not show anyone. He says there's no need to share the not so good looking ones. That's true. I don't mind sharing my badly composed sketches because they will remind me to be more careful next time. Some artists have the habit of producing small thumbnail sketches first before drawing big, and I think that is a good idea.

That's the view outside the cafe where I had breakfast in the morning. The field is actually a rice padi field. I can still remember the morning breeze, the swallows flying around the fields looking for food.

I also remembered that last year, someone was painting a house. And this year, there's a new house being built.

That's interestingly shaped building is the Museum Vulkanologi. It was drizzling and I had to draw from the car. When I wanted to go into the museum to hide from the wet weather, I was told it was closed.

The best time to visit Mount Batur is in the late to early morning after the mist has cleared. That's when you can get a good view of the Lake Batur and the villages beside. The sky was really grey that day so I skipped my visit to Pura Besakih which is near Mount Batur, relatively speaking.

Gunung Kawi is another temple. Ubud is the place to stay at if you want to visit the many temples.

I was drawing this halfway when someone told me that I was under a coconut tree. So I had to leave this piece uncoloured just in case any ripe coconut hit my head from above.

Tanah Lot is one of the more popular temples. It's located on the west coast so it's best to visit this temple during the evening time. That's also when the tide is low and you get to walk around the exposed rocky beach.

Some of the stone sculptures at the Monkey Forest.

The other must-go temple would be Pura Uluwatu. It's located at south Kuta on the west coast. It's a temple built by the cliff. At 6pm each day, a Kecik dance performance happens. Ticket prices are 100,000 Rupiah each. It's worth watching it with the beautiful sunset behind.

I had initially planned to sketch 48 pages of the 72-page Moleskine sketchbook that I brought. In the end, I sketched much less. But it's not big deal. Bali is a wonderful place to sketch. It's one that deserves more time if you plan to draw because there are so many things and beautiful sights to see.

Check out more of my Bali sketches from last year at