Sunday, 20 August 2017

Botanical Art & Sketching in Flores, Indonesia

I have just arrived home after a wonderful two weeks in Indonesia, the majority of the time in Flores. This is an incredibly beautiful island two and a half hours flight from Denpasar Bali. The first nights accommodation was in Udayana Ecolodge in Jimbaran Bali. The following morning my group and I flew to Ende, then a few hours drive to the beautiful ecolodge of Kelimutu Crater Lakes.

There is a series of these ecolodges throughout Indonesia and they have an International Eco Certification.  I am very pleased to be representing and supporting the ecolodges by taking my art groups there for workshops.  This year it was Flores, and next year will be Bali, with an optional post workshop tour to Rimba to see the orangutans.

Flores is known for its coloured volcanic crater lakes and on the north side of the island are the famous Komodo dragons. The drive from the airport to the Kelimutu Crater Lakes took several hours and we stopped along the way to visit an ancient village of Saga and to view some stunning vistas.

Traditional ancient village of Saga

Arriving at the Kelimutu ecolodge I was amazed at how well it blended with the landscape while being so functional and picturesque. The accommodation was firstclass and exceeded all my expectations. All the rooms had wonderful views, and from my villa higher up, I would wake each morning to the sun rising over the mountains and the spreadings its warm rays over the rice paddies.

The view from my villa

My villa
There were 13 in my group from many places in Australia. Some had been with me previously on art tours, and for some it was their first experience in Indonesia. Our morning workshops were done in an aula, which is an open sided structure and used in villages to hold meetings and important events. 

The aula used for the botanical art workshop

Some of students at the workshop

One of the benefits of painting in a different environment is the varied choices in plant and flower selection. Some of the same species found in Australia grow throughout Indonesia (and other countries in the world), but there are always a few unique, colourful and special gems to be found.


 During the afternoons there were some fascinating excursions to various locations where the group would sketch and/or explore the area. 

The Kilimutu crater lakes

Rice paddies at Moni village
The group trekking to the waterfall

Spinning and dying cloth for weaving
 We explored the local village of Moni, where the ecolodge owners have a long standing connection with the people. One of the highlights was a visit to the local school where we took coloured pencils, books, rulers and erasers. It was a special time for both the children and ourselves.

There were so many exceptional places we explored, and above all the group were very excited with their paintings for the week. It was a treat to  be able to spend 5 mornings without interruption working on the paintings, with individual tuiton, except when we stopped to enjoy some very special freshly cooked pancakes, slices, fruit, scones and various other delights for morning tea. 

The time came to farewell Kelimutu and its wonderful staff, who cooked the most wonderful meals and really looked after us. I felt I had been on a health retreat - walking every afternoon when we were on excursions, eating very delicious healthy and low fat food, and sleeping like an angel.

The local villagers performed their traditional songs and dances for us on the final farewell evening. 

No wonder I am so looking forward to my next Botanical Art workshop with Ecolodges Indonesia. This will be at Udayana Ecolodge in Jimbaran Bali, which is a quiet area, and afternoon excursions will be locally and so avoids any heavy traffic. There is always so much to see and do. 

TOUR DATES: 4-11 June 2018  Contact me for further information