Friday, 21 January 2011

Painting tropical landscapes in Bali

Rice paddies, Ubud (SOLD)
12cm x 17cm (4½"x7") oil on board
Copyright Julian Merrow Smith
I'm having a lovely time at the moment revisiting - via Julian Merrow Smith's paintings of the paddy fields and tropical landscapes of the island of Bali in the Indonesian Ocean.

Postcard from Provence has temporarily relocated to Bali in Indonesia.  I'm loving it because this is an island I've visited twice - in 1992 and 1997 (see my sketchbooks here Katherine Tyrrell travels with a sketchbook - in Bali)

The critical thing about tropical landscapes in places like Bali is to forget every colour you usually use for greens and to start afresh assessing the colours of the landscape - the green is vibrant and the browns are sundried - and the colour of the water obviously depends on what the sky is doing!  The other thing I remember is that the quality and the nature of the shadows are completely different.  Partly because of the strength of the sun but also because of the humidity in the air.

Julian is doing a fabulous job of capturing Bali as I remember it. He's even painting the places I know well - rice fields near Ubud (the artist's village) and Penestanan in the north of the island and Tanah Lot on the south coast.  You can see a photo of him painting the paddy fields in Ubud at the top of this post on his wife Ruth's blog - The first day in Ubud

Here's two more samples of his work in the paddy fields.  You can see paintings of the coast on his blog and follow him by subscribing to Postcard from Provence (in Bali).

Track through rice paddies, Penestanan (SOLD)
20cm x 16cm, oil on board
Copyright Julian Merrow Smith

Temple in the paddy fields (SOLD)
20cm x 16cm oil on board
Copyright Julian Merrow Smit

Here's part of my comment on Julian's blog - about the Penastan painting

My goodness - this takes me back. I've walked through these paddy fields in Penastan. I've even walked them in the dark and very nearly fallen into them! Try walking along the edge of a paddy field after it's dark with a pencil torch!

You are absolutely spot on with all the colours - the lush greens and the faded muted browns. You're really catching the shapes and the look of that part of Bali.
Have you ever been to Bali?

Do you have any tips about painting tropical landscapes?

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