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Bali, fact & fiction

Surf art & culture

This collection of watercolor paintings and accompanying story were kindly offered to COTW by artist/surfer Ron Croci from his recent surf trip to Bali, in December 2009. All the watercolors are available for sale, for a very reasonable price from the artist. We hope you enjoy…

There are many peaks in my life that I return to again, and again. Water coloring at beautiful locations is one of them. To sit at my local break, or a temple, beach stand, a shady village tree or in the blazing Sun is one of my treasured joys. However till a person sits in front of Chandi Bantour, the fierce looking God of the Gates, for an hour and a half, in 100 degree heat, can the portal into its power be seen with the naked eye. Not the quickie snapshot with the smiling poser in front of the scene, but a real study of the subject matter where each detail of architecture and sunlight are burned into the memory as well as the image on paper.

Everywhere an artist goes there are wonderful subjects to see and paint pictures of, however, Bali is enthralling in its artistic possibilities. Whichever way one turns, from agrarian rice fields, to the waves, people and temples, there are subject matters worthy of contemplation. Not a contemplation though that comes easily. An open-air artist must contend with the heat, humidity, (perspiration would often run down my arm, to my hand and drip from my brush) insects and the endless throng of visitors stopping by to chat in broken English and see what I was doing.

At some popular Temple sights that I have painted I was photographed as much as the temple itself. Or at locations such as the Dempesar fabric street it was so hot that I painted from inside my car as my driver Ketut worked the air conditioner. All the while dozens of local people peering through the closed window.

My favorite place to watercolor is the Sanur Reef and the surrounding area. This surf break Kelly Slater said was his favorite right on the planet. Here I could go surfing, paint a picture, eat delicious food, and go for another surf. My friends, the Lueras family who have lived there for 27 years took me to semi abandoned shrines tucked away in obscure locations where in the quiet of the setting sun, the past and spirits would come alive. Sanur Reef is much like my home break in Hawaii, The Kaiser Bowl in Waikiki. Since my friends have surfed the reef for so long they knew everybody. Because of them I am made to feel instantly at home.

Having a driver is one of the best parts of Bali travel. Go anywhere, even the smallest road (Ketut had a GPS. so we could never get lost), stop anywhere and paint for as long as I liked. I would see a huge shaded Banyan tree, or an abandoned temple at an isolated black sand beach, or even a roadside chicken fight, stop here, stop there, as much as I wanted to.

So please let me present my Bali watercolor portfolio. I painted almost all of the paintings either right in front of the subject, or in my hotel room. I had a wonderful time painting these pictures, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Bookmark and Share Ron Croci / 2009