Sunday, May 31, 2009

The never ending story

A few weeks ago my toenail finally came off from the motorcycle accident. As the weeks went by it began to heal and was not so bad (well, for Balinese feet standards), but the USA would be a different story—no sandals for me. Yesterday, when walking back into the kitchen with my kopi, my little cat was weaving in and out of my feet as I went to step over the 4" carved wooden door jam (which is rather stupid and dangerous). Trying to avoid crushing her, my foot caught on the jam and I tumbled through the door onto the stone kitchen floor, with my toe taking most of the impact. Crying, I managed to limp out of the kitchen but not without noticing that most of the kopi was still in the cup as I broke my fall with my hands—how odd is that!?!

After having to put my head between my legs because I thought I was going to throw up, I took a handful of Ibuprofin and whimpered on the couch for the rest of the morning. Finally the pain subsided and then it began to swell and turn blue. At first we thought it was broken, but I could eventually bend it so it is just really, really badly bruised and... is really really not pretty. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rice paddies

After doing the DSFDF Pennsylvania landscape challenge from Bali, I thought I should paint a local landscape before we leave next week for the USA. This was from a ride through the rice paddies on the way to Tulamben in East Bali.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's really loud here

When this tiny little cat isn't sleeping, which is most of the time, she can belt out "meows" that you can't believe could come from a cat this small. She is Indonesian so it is actually"mengeong". After a little attention and a few crunchies she's back to sleep, but not before getting in the last squeak or two.

Some more of our noisy next door neighbors that start their day way before 5 o'clock every morning. 

Cat in the bath with math

We have a very large bathtub, but never use it because we have a lovely outdoor garden shower. During the day I will find my cat in this unused tub rolling around, chewing on her tail or taking a nap. I was sketching her the other night on one during one of her bathtub frolics and then added math? Pen in sketchbook and colored in photoshop.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sky study 5.25.09

Today got away from me because I got into trying to paint the Pennsylvania landscape for DSFDF. So, only one sky study today. I was up early so the sun was just coming up over the garden wall while I drank kopi Bali and painted. It was really so beautiful this morning while my crazy little "rent-a-cat" chased geckos in the garden.

DSFDF challenge—Pennsylvannia landscape

I decided to try Karin Jurick's Different Strokes for Different Folks challenge for the second time. This one was hard, well they all are for me, because she posted a black and white image and we had to make up the color. I got all screwed up on the proportions (silos to hills in background) and lost track of the layers going back in the distance. I also reduced the amount of the sky from the original photograph because I wasn't ready to tackle that, but I did try wetting the paper for the first time to create a subtle sky tone after consulting a few books I brought with me. On top of all this I am in Bali painting Pennsylvania. How weird is that!?!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wake-up call

In Bali the sun rises and sets at about the same time everyday because we are almost on the equator. It rises at about 6:30 and sets around 6:00. Every morning about 5 o'clock when it is just getting light the rooster next door starts and then the dogs and then the sweeping and then the motorcycles and then it's time to get up. This rooster likes to run back and forth across the wall along the driveway making sure the neighborhood is awake.
This nanas was in the refrigerator for the longest time so before it got tossed I tried to paint it. What a mess!

Sky studies

5.23.09 Early morning drinking kopi Bali and painting before the rain. By noon the rain had stopped and I was walking the beach. The second sky was done late afternoon from the same spot as the morning sky drinking a lime squash (my new favorite Bali drink).

5.22.09 Sunrise in the garden drinking kopi and painting while listening to Bali wake-up. Late night when the clouds started to form in the night sky.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's a blast

I saw a beach shack with a sign that said, so I stopped in to see what it was all about. It sounded like great fun and a great workout. So, yesterday, I rode my bike to the beach and slapped down my 200,000 rupiah for an hour lesson to learn Stand Up Paddle Surfing. 
I was pretty good at standing and paddling on the flat water and even as we went further out into the waves I could maneuver over the swells and remain standing. I am fairly strong, have good balance and I have skied, kayaked, windsurfed and even board surfed as a kid (but that was a million years ago). However, I had a much harder time getting a handle on looking over my shoulder for waves, paddling to catch the wave, crouching and continuing to paddle hard with the wave and then jumping into surf stance. I only caught two waves so surf stance was really not an issue. Oh well, it was only my first time and I'm going back tomorrow.

Sky studies

5/21/09 Sunrise from the garden and sunset at the beach at the end of the street.

5/20/09 Because I got chemically fogged out on this morning, I did a midday sky sketch at the beach with big puffy white clouds over the sea. Same spot for evening sky when the clouds darkened as the sun went down behind me.

Sometimes I want my oil paints

I have not painted in oils since last August when I packed up my home and moved into Portland and then Bali. All my oils and equipment are packed away on a box...somewhere. It seemed almost impossible to bring them to Bali so I took up watercolor because it seemed easier for traveling. However, I miss smearing that wonderful buttery oil paint around—blending and layering. I had a teacher once who said "if you paint what is in shadow and then paint what is in light the rest of the painting will paint itself". That has never happened, but I still say it in my mind when I oil paint. 
Watercolor is very difficult. I panic a bit because it either dries too fast or I paint when it is still too wet. Either way I get mud. It is very frustrating! Today I used my small palette of gouache (as much like oil paint as possible) and did this beach study from a photo I took at sunset in Jimbaran, on the west side of the island.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chasing the Giant Trevally

Jerry has just left with a friend on a guided "catch and release" fishing trip for Giant Trevally. They will fish off a beach in Sumbawa, which is two islands west of Bali in the Indonesian archipelago. To get there they will take a short flight to Lombok, a ferry to Sumbawa and then a five hour 4 X 4 ride on dirt roads to a remote beach where they will have to walk over rocky coral in hard-sole diving boots to get to where they will surf cast for these huge fighting fish. Bug spray and SPF 50 sun block are a must and then there is sleeping in the jungle. Clearly not my kind of holiday!

So I am here in beautiful Bali, where today, at 5 AM I was awakened by the loud grinding sound of the fogging trucks, roaring up and down the streets of Sanur spraying some ungodly chemical into the air to kill mosquitos. I grabbed the cat and hide under the covers to wait for the blue-gray fog to dissipate. The first time I experienced this, I was so freaked out that I couldn't stop talking about it that morning at the Kalimantan. They all looked at me and with such concern Muni said "Ya, bagus, it kills mosquito so no Dengue fever"—DENGUE FEVER!?! And then a giant 2" cockroach scampered across the floor...

Sky studies

5.19.09 Morning sunrise from the garden and late afternoon sitting on the kitchen steps while my cat stalked cicaks.

5.18.09 Midday looking up from the garden. Same view late night. Stars were slightly obscured by light clouds and the moon is almost gone. I believe it will be a dark moon by the weekend.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A virtual birthday kiss

This is a quick pencil sketch I did of my father, James Lawson, who turns 83 today. I am sending him a big birthday kiss from Bali to San Francisco, 8,345 miles away.

This photo of my family, circa 1960, was taken in the living room of our California ranch house in the suburbs of San Francisco about 49 years ago—YIKES! My parents still live in that house and have for 53 years! That's my dad, a handsome 34 year old father of three. My mom, Jacqueline Lawson, is holding my brother James and Courtney is sitting between them. I am the one with the pixie haircut standing in the back—I am the oldest (In Bali my name would be Wayan). We are all in our Easter best heading off to hunt eggs at one of the grandparents house. Life was good.

This is my family today. We are scattered across the USA and abroad. A lot of water under the bridge for this group, but we are all still here. That's me in the middle.

Happy Birthday, dad. I love you.

Sky studies

Sky Study 5.17.09 Looking at across the garden and over the far wall at the sunrise. Sun showers this afternoon.
Sky Study 5.16.09 Midday at the beach looking towards Benoa Harbor before we took the Laser out for a sail. A clear night at the beach looking across the Badung Strait at Penida Island. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Semangka banyak

The other day I went to bed with and then awakened the next morning with a terrible headache. I ended up sleeping much of the day while busy Bali happened around me. Our housekeeper, Maria, asked how I was before she left for the day. With one eye opened I told her I couldn’t figure out why I felt so bad because the day before I ate nothing but delicious semangka (watermelon). She got a horrified look on her face and said quite loudly “Madame, tidak makan semangka banyak. Anda akan sakit kepala pusing”. “You will get a headache from eating too much watermelon”.

When her husband, Paskalis, arrived there was heated discussion around my watermelon consumption, more reprimanding and even finger wagging. The next day, when Jerry got back from Jakarta, he got an earful on the dangers of eating too much watermelon. Who knew…

Sky Study 5.15.09 The morning sky was looking east from the driveway and the night sky was having dinner at the beach looking out over the water.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

All dressed up

These Ibu-Ibu were walking in front of me this morning, beautifully dressed in traditional kebaya and sarong, with flowers in their hair, carrying offerings to a ceremony at the temple. I remembered Anne Watkins beautiful watercolors of the luncheon ladies walking down 5th Avenue in NYC. This seemed like the Bali version of that event. So, I attempted to try to paint them without doing my usual pencil or pen sketch first. It was a bit intimidating because I knew that whatever I put down on the paper was going to be there—forever. Now where is that pencil...

Sky Study 5.14.09 I was reading Laura's blog and she referred to a challenge from Vivien's blog to paint the sky at different times of day and weather conditions and really take notice of the changes. Such a great idea. So, I decided to do a quick twice a day sky study everyday before we leave for the USA in June. Here's the first one—pagi/morning and sore/sunset from inside the villa. 

Tikus tidur lagi

Like most cats, Tikus, spends much of her day sleeping. She is either sleeping in the cupboard, up on the highest kitchen shelf, sharing my chair with me or like here, on one of the dining room chairs. When we come home at night she is usually in the driveway, sitting on the seat of the Piaggio scooter waiting for us. Her bobtail hooligan boyfriends watch from their perches and yowl, but she is mighty and will not share her crunchies.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A night at the Kalimantan

The Kalimantan is an open air bar and restaurant across the street from our villa. Owned for almost 20 years by an expat named Bob from Denver Colorado and his wife, Ibu Bob, from Kalimantan (Borneo). They serve an eclectic menu of Indonesian, Mexican and American food. They have the best fresh juice of any kind and my favorite kopi Bali. Some days, Jerry has been known to have three squares at what we sometimes refer to as "the commissary".

Saturday night we wandered over to the Kalimatan to sit at the bar, have a glass of wine and watch CNN with Bob and the other regulars. I was drawing the pelangkirin hanging on the wall, which is a chair like alter for placing offerings to the gods. Chicaks were running back and forth across the walls as we drank wine from a box. All of the sudden there was screaming from their house in the back of the restaurant where their Dachshund, Bogie, had grabbed a cobra in his mouth as it was going to strike. Everyone else ran to see the commotion, except me because I HATE SNAKES! Bogie's head was moving so fast that he shook the cobra in half. Bob smashed the cobra's head with a shovel and Ibu swept it all up.

Just another day in Bali...

Monday, May 11, 2009

An afternoon at Rudy's Salon

It was time for a cut and color. So off I went, on my bike, carefully merging onto the busy "Bypass". It costs me about $25, which is a far cry from what I pay in the USA. They speak enough English and I speak enough Indonesian to get the job done. I leave with my usual "bob" cut quite well, but my hair tends to come out a bit dark. I call it "Balinese black". They are so nice and I can always have my usual color and  highlights when I get back home in June. Better start saving up for that!

Not so good for the unhappy tourist below having a very bad hair day...

Sitting in the chair next to me, she was scowling at the mirror, smoking, having a pedicure and throwing a bit of a tantrum about her hair. She was so busy being angry that she didn't even notice me sketching her out of the corner of my eye. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Island adventure—snorkeling in Lovina

This past weekend, after two nights in wonderful Ubud, we traveled north on winding mountain roads to the quiet remote town of, Lovina, Bali. We spent the afternoon snorkeling along the coral reefs which were a short jukong boat ride from the beach. It is quite amazing with brightly colored fish dashing in front of your eyes. I did this made up sketch from memory, so I don't think any of them are real species, but they are just as colorful.


I kept hearing my noisy little cat meowing, but when I called to her she didn't appear. The meows seemed to become louder and more desperate as I realized her cries were coming from the villa next door. Why wasn't she just climbing up the high wall like she always does? I was going to have to figure out where she was and that would only mean one thing, "the ladder". This ladder leans against the garden wall and is made from two bamboo poles and rickety rungs all lashed together with yellow boating rope. So, nervously, I climb to the top rung and peered over the wall. There in my neighbors outdoor shower was my cat surrounded by nothing but tile. There was no way she was going to be able to climb out. So in my best Indonesian, I explained to my neighbors Balinese housekeeper that my cat was trapped in their shower. Meowing loudly, she scurried out when we opened the door. I scooped her up, took her home and told her to stay...

My new bike

After a short bike rental from another Balinese named Made, I decided to just go for it and buy one. About 1,000,000+ rupiahs would get me a bike with gears and a basket. Two things that were a must on my accessory list. So off I went with Paskalis, our gardener, on the Piaggio scooter to the bike shop. I thought we were just going across the Bypass and I would would have a short ride home, but those bikes are "terlalu mahal"(too expensive)! So off we went for a 12 kilometer ride to some bike  shop way in the city of Denpasar. After much negotiation I am the proud owner of a black Starlite Wimcycle with gears, a basket and white side wall tires. The ride home consisted of me riding like hell through crazy inner city traffic with Paskalis riding along side of me on the Piaggio giving me directions back to Sanur. I had a blast! Even wore my pink scooter helmet for extra safety, and yes, the girl at the bike shop giggled as I put it on. So now I enjoy riding my bike around Sanur (without a helmet), but always HATI-HATI!