Thursday, 28 February 2013

Misty morning

This is what I woke up to this morning. Mist so thick I could hardly see the next building... 3rd day in a row now, but I have not seen it this thick before!

My painting corner as it looks like for the moment. I have some new backgrounds that I am experimenting with. A lot of blue going on...

A small fluffed up blue tit in its first stage of just white paint:

Here is the background from last post, I decided to go for a bullfinch on it. It will be more visible once I start painting in the red colors.

And then some more pages from my art journals:

Art journal A5: Barnowl. Watercolour, gouache and collage.

Art journal A5, Red cardinal. Watercolour and collage.

Art journal A4, Barnowl. Watercolour, gouache, acrylic and collage.

Monday, 25 February 2013

New painting and exhibition info!

I finally got my first painting finished for this year! I have forgotten how many times I have change the design for this one, and how many layers there are, but at least now it is done. And I'm quite happy with it as well. I like how it looks like you are seeing the bird from inside a tree trunk, and the texture is quite nice in real life as well. I'm sorry for all the self-love here, but I'm just so happy how this turned out and that I finally finished a painting... ;-)

'You are so beautiful to my eyes', 25x17 cm. Underpainting in acrylic on different papers, and then oil. The title is a translation of the swedish song title in the background.

Next background that I have and have not posted before, is the one below. This has also gone through some heavy changes. I first painted a pair of blackbirds on it, but decided that the canvas was too small for the design I wanted. So I erased the birds and gave the background some new layers. I think I will keep the colours quite as they are here, and then add a bright red cardinal or bullfinch to it.

And I have some new news to share about my upcoming exhibition in August. The exhibition will be held between 11.08 - 01.09 2013 at gallery Karaija in Inkoo/Finland. Here is the link to the gallery's website: Karaija I will post updates on the exhibition nearer to August!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Fireworks, website and progress.

Our Chinese New Year Party went very well last week. A lot of food and a lot of fireworks! We were busy firing for quite some time, and what noise we made!!! Below a picture of our firework tower:

And then some studio updates. 
I have been working on my website last week. I thought it needed some modifications and I am much happier with it now. After personalize this blog a while ago, I wanted to do the same with my website. This way they have the same look, and it is no more just boring black... If you have the time, please visit my website and have a look and leave a comment on what you think of it!

Before my trip to Bali I told you about how I wasn't at all that pleased with some of my paintings and experiments. Now I have tweaked some of them, and here is the result:

I thought that the background on this robin was WAY too busy, even if I did like the colors. So I took my trusty sandpaper and erased all the elements that were too much. I then added some more colors, and now I think the background is finished. Next painting session will get the bird finished too!

The small gold crest was cute, and would have been nice with the gold leaf I glued in. But I would have needed another pose for the bird, so I erased the gold crest and painted in a Robin instead. This painting has got another layer since this photo, and the background is now finished. A little darker with some accents of blue in it. What I have left is the final details on the bird.

And another change of birds... The long-tailed tit was good colour wise for the background, but it felt off somehow. Then I remembered that I had gotten the permission to paint the small nuthatch you know see. I like the colour combination, and I like how it fits into the background without having to paint any branches or anything else for it to belong. I have started another canvas for the long-tailed tit, so soon he will be back on a more fitting background!!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Bali 2

I realized that I forgot to mention the bird and reptile park we visited close to Ubud. I had read some about the birds of Bali, and there were a few species that I wanted to see. I was very glad to discover that they had a bird park, and in there I saw the one bird I really wanted to see, but never did see in the wild around Bali. It is a white Starling that only lives on Bali.

Bali starling.
It was a beautiful bird park, and I got some new material to paint from...

Blue and gold macaw. This one just did not stay still! I wanted to take a close up photo of his feathers, they were such a beautiful blue hue. But every time I came near he just tried to climb up on me... So this is about the best shot I got...

In addition to the bird park they also had a reptile park. Not as well kept as the bird part, but nice non the less. Sam fed this beauty of almost 3 meters with a live chicken.

Ok, then on to the diving. Before leaving for Bali we booked our dives at Bali Diving for a day at Tulamben through the internet. We got 25% of this way ;) We had chosen a saturday as Linda had  gotten an extra day free for when we came. She came to our Hotel already on Friday evening, and at 7 saturday morning we were picked up from the hotel. First stop was the diving centre were we got all of our equipment, and then we drove 1 1/2 h to Tulamben and our dive site. It was just us and our diving instructor, so it was nice. 

The dive site at Tulamben. These spidery small fishing boats were our rides out to the reef. You could not enter the sea fully 'dressed' from these, so we had to get on our diving gear in the water at the site.

It was a beautiful day, although it started raining from nowhere just when we got in the boats. And the rain and clouds were welcomed. It would have been too hot in our half wet suit in full sun!

Preparing our gear at the beach.

Heading out to the coral reef. Sam and Linda were buddies, and I had the diving instructor as my buddy. Our first dive was nothing special, the coral was mostly dead, and there were only one small patch that was colorful and full of life. But it was an easy dive, and a very good warming up for somebody like me who dives only once a year or once every two or three years... 

In between our dives we got some very nice local food at a small beach restaurant build only for diving groups like ours, and then we walked out from the beach to our next dive site that was a WW II american ship wreck just 30 m of the coast. It seemed like all the fish in the area had gathered around this one artificial coral reef. Already at 1 m depth while putting on our finns and masks there was a lot to see. This is me at only 4 m depth admiring some fish that seemed to like our air bubbles.

From the left: me, Sam, the christmas tree and Linda.This must be my next christmas card! Somebody had celebrated christmas at the wreck at 22 m depth, and taken a christmas tree down with them and 'planted' it there. You can see the star at Sam's elbow... The water seem a little murky here in the photographs that our diving instructor took, but we had at least 10-15 m clear sight. Even at 22 m as here it was 26 degree warm in the water!

Sam having fun floating.

Sam and Linda above me. The wreck itself was not much to see, it had been damage by an earthquake and a volcano eruption and had collapsed in on itself. But it served now as an artificial reef, and was covered in corals and vegetations, and full of life! You could make several dives on this wreck and every time find something new to look at. Mostly small fish, but also some little bigger fish, stingrays, scorpionfish, etc. I can highly recommend this dive site for anybody going to Bali!
After the dive we got a ride back 'home' to the hotel, and we hit the pool to relax. We had river rafting booked for the next day, and again the pick up would be at 7-ish in the morning from the hotel.

River rafting north of Ubud. It was a 2 h raft, and it was so incredible beautiful! The river itself was quite tame even if it was the rainy season now, but it was fun and we really enjoyed it. The river had cut a ravine for itself through the lava rock, and through the whole drive we had between 50-100 m of walls around us covered in rainforest and small waterfalls.  It was b-e-a-u-t-if-u-l!! 

Linda and Sam posing for me at our small brake at the wall carvings about half way of the rafting.

Trio 'eggheads' as Linda named us...

Rice fields on our way up from the ravine. I forgot to mention that, to get to our rafting dock we had to climb down ca 800 steps, and the same amount of steps back up at the end of the raft. I told you the river was in a ravine...

The rafting was very well organized, and when we were finished, hot showers and a buffée awaited us!

Now you know how we fared in Bali! I can recommend it for anyone wanting a sun-holiday!

And next for me now is to get up and finish all the preparations for later, we are having Chinese new years party at ours tonight! It is already a lot of fireworks going on outside, and Sam has filled our spare bedroom with fireworks that we will go out and set fire on tonight! And I can assure you that we are all wearing safety glasses, so we should be fine... 8-D

Happy New Chinese Year everybody!!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Greetings from Bali!

We are back home again after our two weeks holiday to Bali. It took me a few days to come around and organize all my photos from the trip, but now thats done, I can write my next post!

So, Saturday 19 January we left China, changed plane in Seoul and flew to Denpasar, Bali. We arrived early Sunday morning (02.00). We had booked a hotel in Kuta, just 15 minutes drive from the airport. It was Hard Rock Hotel, and we liked it so much that we decided to stay there the whole holiday. 

The weather was warm, around +30 degrees celsius everyday, and humid. Kuta is a small town that have grown quite a lot in the last decade, and it has become the tourist - centre of Bali. Totally filled with Australians, even if it now was low season...

We did not have that many plans for our holiday, relaxation was the main goal! We did however do a few trips around the Island, and the main impression of Bali is that I would warmly recommend it for others!

Some of the things we did and saw:
- Met my cousin Linda. She had been on Bali for almost two months, and we spent her free days of her voluntary work with YWAM there with her. ( You can read all about her adventure with YWAM in her blog: ) She showed us around Kuta to her favorite places to eat and shop, and we spent some fair amount of time in the hotel pool... It was absolutely great to meet her again after 1/2 year, and I'm happy to have got some quality time with her on Bali!!! 

- Diving and river rafting. Together with Linda we also went diving one day to Tulamben, and river rafting another day. But more about that in my next post. I can't fit all the pictures in just one post, it would become too long... ;-)

- Lake Bratan, a lake between the volcanos in the middle of the island. Up in the mountains it was much cooler, which I thought was nice. In the lake is one of Bali's most beautiful Temples, the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. It is the temple for the Goddess of the Lake, built 1633. It is a temple with many small 'houses' or shrines, and two of them are very beautifully situated in the water. Most of Indonesia is muslim today, but Bali is Hindu. This is visible everywhere, with about 10,000 of these small temples on the Island, and people offering to their gods everyday everywhere. Statue of gods, devils, spirits and so on is all over the place, most of them quite nightmarish in their appearances.

- Tanah Lot, another temple in the water, but this time at the coast. The temple is built in a rock at the coast that is only reachable when the tide is low. It is said to have the most beautiful sunset in Bali. 

- Ubud, a town 1h drive from Kuta. It is an interesting town, that has become something of a cultural centre of Bali. Here you can watch the traditional dances of Bali, go to museums with old balinese art-craft's, buy paintings, sculptures, carvings, etc etc... When we were there they did not have any performances, which was a little sad. It would have been interesting to see, even if the music in my ears is totally horrible... We visited the museum, and watching their old art is like watching nightmares in different settings. A few pieces showed the old everyday life of the people, and they were nice to study. We also visited a woodcarving centre, and man they are good at carving! Beautiful sculptures, wall pieces, and furniture in wood. 
In Ubud we also visited the monkey forest, another temple in the forest which has become a sanctuary for the monkeys of the Island. They are considered holy, and people come there to feed them. In connection to the temple there is also a graveyard, and just when we were there they preformed a burning ritual. Everybody was dressed in their best traditional clothes, and it seems more like a party than a burial. When we asked about it, they told us that the burning ritual is a ritual to help the spirit of the dead to travel to the next level/life which is supposed to be a good thing, hence the party!

- Eating. It felt like having a two week feast... We ate both great western food and local. Fu yung hai, Babi guling (suckling pig, the most tender meat ever!), Nasi Goreng, ribs, seafood, you name it!

- Shopping. Well, when you can buy new summer pants for only €4, a bag for €2 etc, it is hard to resist... And it felt good to be able to shop some clothes that are actually big enough... (Here in Rizhao the biggest they have is L and rarely a XL, and that is an european S or small M. I need an european L, I wonder if that would be a local XXXL if they had it?!? ;-) )

- Beach. A couple of times we walked on the beach. As it was low season there were not that many surfers to look at. I was also surprised to see how filthy the beach was. Almost totally covered in plastic crap that had been washed ashore. Such a pity!

- And a few days we just spent at the pool and in the pool-bar. It was suppose to be a holiday... Our hotel had the biggest pool in Bali with a very nice pool-bar in the water (only access was to swim there), a beautiful SPA with some of the best massages I have ever had, and, well, you get the picture! ;-)

But now I have rambled on too much already, the pictures will tell the rest of the story!

Kuta Beach.

Kuta Beach.

Hard Rock Hotel Pool with the pool-bar to the right. Disgusting, isn't it?!?

A day at the pool with some sangria to quench the thirst.

My beautiful cousin Linda and me.

Normal traffic in Bali. 2 lanes = 6 lanes in Bali. Cars in the middle + scooters on each side of them and this both ways. Interesting!

Petrol station for scooters. The same bottles all over Bali, which means that someone have been drinking a lot of Absolut...

Mini shrine, with fresh offerings to the gods every day. Every building had its own.


Doorway to city temple.

Tanah Lot.

Monkey forest. Hmm, she should have hold her hands against her mouth instead of be screaming. And where is the one that won't hear?

The two shrines of the Temple of the lake goddess that were build in the lake at Lake Bratan.

Babi guling two ways.

Entrance to the botanical garden. It was the wrong season for it, so there were not much to see.

Rice fields. We saw rice in all stages of growth, from newly planted to full grown. The big terraces that were still covered in water were very beautiful. Unfortunately I did not get any decent photos of those.

A post about the diving and river rafting will follow soon!