Thursday, April 30, 2009

On the mend

12 hours, 700,000 rupiah and a bowl of nasi putih later, my little Balinese cat, Tikus, is home napping on a dining room chair. She's a resilient little thing and has basically recovered from her operasi. Her ruffian boyfriend has stopped yowling from the rooftop and when he thinks we aren't looking, tiptoes into the kitchen and chows down her food. We caught him "red-pawed" tonight with his mouth full of crunchies. She was on her mat barely opening her eyes as he scurried away when he saw us coming into the kitchen. We told him it's okay as long as he catches rats and the occasional cobra...Nothing here is like life as I knew it in the USANOTHING. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

First sail

Jerry grew up sailing on the coast of Maine. He is a salty dog at heart. So after discovering the Royal Bali Yacht Club (a small thatched roof shack at the end of Sanur Beach) he joined and bought himself a small sailboat called a Laser. He is number 905. The first sail was a regatta where a bunch of guys chased another guy on a somewhat windless day inside the natural bay created by the reef offshore. The air is balmy and the clear turquoise water is warm and fairly shallow—a far cry from sailing in Maine. I am looking forward to my first sail.

View from Pura Luhur Uluwatu

One of Bali's holiest temples, Pura Luhur Uluwatu, sits on the tip of a sheer rocky promontory jutting out over the Indian ocean. It is located at the farthest southwestern tip of Bali and dedicated to the spirits of the sea. Situated about 240 ft above sea level you can see the curve of the earth. My slight fear of heights keeps me from getting too close to the edge, but just close enough to get this view of the cliffs and the crashing surf below. It is one of those places on the island where people gather to watch the sunset, but, by then we are just up the road watching the sunset while eating fresh grilled fish on the beach at Jimbaran. 

Meeting the roommates

Yesterday morning it was murder and mayhem in the kitchen when my little cat killed a cicak (small gecko) during the night. I found it belly-up under the table without legs or a tail. I found the tail in front of the sink when I stepped on it—oh yuck. She has yet to meet the big guys in the great room.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tikus—a cat named mouse

We have rats dancing on the thatched roof in the great room and mice party in the kitchen at night while we sleep. We called the property manager and their solution was a kucing (a cat)—of course. They told us of a large Persian mouser that they would bring to our villa and he would take care of the "tikus" which is the Indonesian word for rats and mice.

So, three days ago, Uul arrives with a box that he brought on his motorbike from their home about half hour crazy from here. He had no luck catching the big Persian mouser that he chased through the rice fields in Umalas, but he did bring a cat. He opens the box and there is the tiniest cat looking up at me—maybe 5lbs. She is not the typical Bali wild cat, but as Uul explained, "she adopted them, lives at their house, but she is not their pet". So she moved in and I named her Tikus. She has claimed a bright pink mat on a bench in the kitchen and when she is not sleeping there or eating crunchies, I see her chasing mice in the garden. Despite her diminutive size, she is quite loud.

After a day, my western ways got the best of me and I started to worry about the fact that this cat wasn't spayed (they don't do that much here). So off we went to find a Dokter Hewan. The last thing we need is a litter of "anak kucing". Later that day a beautiful young Balinese woman arrived on a motorbike and introduced herself as Kadek the Dokter Hewan. We all sat on the floor and made plans for the operation which with our limited Indonesian and her very limited English took some work, a dictionary and a fair amount of pantomime while Tikus slept in our laps. She determined Tikus to be about eight months old and she could perform the operation tomorrow either at her home or at our villa—AT OUR VILLA?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The story of "Toe"

I had a minor accident on the motorbike the other day. I was trying to park in a tight space and while it was still running it fell over on me and we both fell into a fence and crushed some tropical vegetation—in the center of town. I think it was still running because my hand was frozen to the handle while someone helped me up. I pretty much smashed my toe and any chance of ever riding a motorcycle again. It took most of the afternoon for my heart rate to return to normal.
EDM #199 Draw a toe

This is a Piaggio Fly 125 (beautifully designed Italian motor scooter) and I am deathly afraid of it. Since the "incident" I have only ridden as a passenger, under duress. I usually try to find some excuse not to go, but eventually I cave and there I am on "The Fly" wincing, gulping and pointing out danger. HATI-HATI as they say here.
EDM #70 Draw something you are afraid of

I am also afraid of cheese. I think cheese is quite delicious, but soooooooooo many calories and that makes it dangerous because one may possibly loose track of how many delicious calories one has had. Sure there's protein, but not enough to outweigh that fat content. So call me crazy...
EDM #189 Draw something dangerous

I rented a bike the other day so I could get around on a much safer mode of transportation. Sometimes I have to ride (I actually have to merge into traffic) onto a four-lane highway known as "The Bypass". This would clearly not be legal in the USA. The rest of the time, I ride cautiously watching for cars and motorbikes that may cut me off, pull out in front of me, pass on the right or come straight at me in my lane and I'm hugging the curb.
Yes this is a much safer way to go...
EDM #35 Draw a bicycle

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

College of Bali

I am taking two workshops this summer when I get back to the states. A watercolor course with Charles Reid in Vermont and "drawing bootcamp" with Dalvero Academy in Orlando, Florida. I am hoping that the two will compliment one another and help me on my creative journey. Both will require me to paint and draw people and I need the practice in addition to sketching at the beach (soooooooo hot). 

I have started rereading the Charles Reid's books I managed to cram into my luggage and doing daily (well, almost) 30-60 second poses for as long as I can stand it on I then practice my Indonesian for our "Super Express Indonesian" lessons with Pak Usman. Today, I took a break for a Bali Kopi and I couldn't help thinking that I felt like I was back in college. The only difference is I think I smoked a cigarette with my coffee in that galaxy far far away, so long long ago.

The above sketch was three 60 second poses on Indonesian paper that is used to serve street food. It is cheap so I can burn through it and not care. I colored in later with gouache.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Balinese sculpture

One of the things that first attracted me to Bali was how full of art life is here. It is in statues, carvings, furniture, temples, fabrics, clothing, offerings and the delicious food. It is all part of an incredibly artful culture and it is everywhere you look. 

Balinese sculpture is a combination of 9th century Hindu-Buddhist style and the ancient island animistic vision and it has changed little over time. The religious and symbolic purpose of a piece determines the type and style, materials and placement. The four above happen to be a few I walk by along the beach. Humans are not the only ones who wear clothes - the Balinese clothe almost everything which possesses a head, a body and feet - buildings, shrines, altars, ancestor stones and statues. Some will be draped in black and white poleng cloth which is the symbol of polarity of positive and negative forces.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Diggin' to America"

When we were kids digging holes at the beach, we would say we were "diggin' to China". But the hole being dug by this Bali dog is clearly going to America because China is just up the road...sort of...

edm challenge #33: Draw an eye

Looking at Indonesian eyes looking at me. Practicing mixing color on paper, NOT ON THE PALETTE! 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Look in my shop?"

Depending on what time of day I get out walking will determine how many times I will hear "Look in my shop?" Most of the time I respond with "Tidak terima kasih, jalan jalan" which in my limited Indonesian is "No thank you, I am walking". They are used to seeing me now and know I usually won't stop, but once in awhile I will pop in if I've stuffed a few rupiah into my pocket. Mostly it's stuff no one needs, but there I am haggling over a price (and sweating). There's "morning price", "good luck price" and of course, "best price". When they don't have the color I want, they run and get it from the shop next door. I like this Ibu and her friends at the far end of the beach. She let me take her picture, but not before she took off her jacket so she would look her best.

Gunung Agung

Mount Agung is the highest point on the island of Bali at about 10,000 feet above sea level. At about 3,000 feet is the holy Besakih Temple, Mother Temple of Bali. Still an active volcano it last erupted in 1963. At the end of our street is the beginning of my beach walk and on a clear day Mt Agung is this amazing sight rising up over the sea. Both paintings done over the weekend from different locations on Pantai Sindhu.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Anjing bagus and friend

We arrived back in Bali three weeks ago and I began my 6 mile morning beach walk routine. Immediately, I noticed there weren't as many dogs wandering about as before and most were wearing collars and tags or at least a colorful piece of string around their necks. I found out that because of several cases of rabies in Denpasar, many dogs were rounded up and euthanized. Though quite controversial as to possibly not the most humane method used, many of these Bali dogs lead a desperate life of so little food, few are spayed or neutered and none are given adequate healthcare. It is a far cry from the life that Sophie leads. Though heartbreaking, I can not help but be hopeful that it will be a better life for the dogs that remain and charm me every morning along the beach.