Goodbye to the Studio

Dear Jan,

I am starting to deconstruct my life here in anticipation of leaving in a little over a month. The next few weeks will be busy, as I have a number of trips planned, first to Malang in East Java, then Yogya in Central Java and finally back to East Java for a driving tour with the whole family. I am really going to get my Java fix in this final month — while I love Bali, I have a much longer history with Java and miss it.

This week, I am spending my last days in the studio, as my lease expires June 1st. I have been sharing some very basic space with my friend, Sandy Infield, who is a talented and experienced artist from the UK. My trip to Yogya will be with her to see a show she has hanging there. Here are a couple of photos of our space, first, the entryway:

Next, Sandy hard at work:

And, finally, my painting space — while quite primitive, it has good light. Most of all, it has been invaluable to have a “room of my own”:

As I think you know, taking up painting has been challenging for me — I am a perfectionist and engaging in anything that I do not feel skilled at is terrifying (and essential to my growth). My dear art teacher, Julia Schwab, helped me get started last year in Boulder and gave me the encouragement to persevere here on my own. She personifies the non-judgmental, free and open attitude that I wish I had more of, and that one needs to truly let creativity flow. I have bursts of courage and that is when I paint. Once I get started, I become absorbed in and enjoy the process.

I suppose I should show you a few of my paintings while I am at it, much as I hesitate to do so. This vertical triptych was the first piece I did here (well, actually the very first one ended up in the trash):

Looking back, this painting seems rough and amateurish, but the process was instructive and I ended up giving it to Maya for Christmas. The next piece I did for Alec, a “portrait” of Cha Cha, our Bali dog. Really, it is an abstract meant to capture Cha Cha’s exuberant spirit:

By the way, the update on Cha Cha is that she chewed one too many of our landlord’s precious antiques and is therefore currently living with Nyoman, our driver, and his 5 other dogs. Nyoman always bemoaned the fact that Cha Cha had no canine companions, and he blamed her destructiveness on this fact. Cha Cha is apparently very well-behaved at Nyoman’s and is reveling in all the doggie playtime. Sad for us, but probably the best outcome for her, given that we will be leaving Bali soon.

The next painting was done about midway through our time here. This one flowed, and I was happy with the outcome:

My next effort was inspired by a common Javanese icon, the pair of figures received by newly-married couples called Loro Blonyo:

Loro Blonyo in Javanese literally means “two become one.” The statues are a symbol of the God and Goddess of fertility in Javanese culture, Dewi Sri and Sadono. These deities are worshipped in Javanese rural communities, and traditional farmers believe that their crops are a gift from the Dewi Sri. We have a set of Loro Blonyo in our house belonging to our landlord, Yaya, and William and I treasure a set of our own (stored away in Boulder), a very primitive wooden pair we purchased in Central Java 25 years ago. The painting I did is primitive as well, and was done as a playful piece. I think the wife has a hint of of the French cabaret dancer about her, with her choker, low-cut bodice and striped skirt. I wasn’t entirely pleased with the outcome, but it was fun to do:

Finally, here is a recent abstract I am happier with:

Well, that wasn’t so bad. I really appreciate the support you have given me, and I look forward to seeing more of your work, too! Love to you and the family, Katherine


About theartoftwo

2 friends in 2 countries, exploring their lives as artists.
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One Response to Goodbye to the Studio

  1. AB says:

    Flow is everything. Dig the abstracts. I too live in Bali (writer) and go from love it to leave it on a daily basis. It’s a battle for the heart. I cry when I am engulfed in the endless chaos of the scooters or the overwhelming orgy of villas, and think how this is a million miles from “paradise” but then, I turn the pedals in circles and flow up a mountain and the happiness of every Balinese mixes with the indah of the the gunung and soon enough I am streaming back down toward my pantai home with a heart of love for Bali. -AB in Berawa Beach and Santa Barbara

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