Tracy and I with our elephant sketches at the Elephant park (day 3 of the retreat)

Wow what a wonderful first week here in Bali. I am spending a whole month exploring and creating with my amazing friend Tracy Verdugo who is hosting two eight day “Sacred Marks” retreats. I am also lucky enough to be teaching two half days myself – showing some techniques for altered books and handmade elements to build our very own travel journal from the experience.

We are staying in a quiet and relaxing part of Sanur, so it is perfect for our calm creative days and just a short walk or cab ride into the hustle and bustle of the town for the evening.

Pool and villa Bali

Our refreshing pool at the Villa’s where we are staying for the month

Tracy and I arrived a few days early to get our bearings, prepare some gifts for the lovely participants and take some time out before everyone arrived. So much to explore, so many colours to absorb and so much inspiration around us for a full on creating frenzy! Ron, the owner of the villa’s has been so great, helping us source local resources for our time here, such as canvas and easels from a local artist. He even took us out on a “magical mystery tour’ around Sanur to show us the local sights and meet some local characters.

textured door Bali ©Louise Gale

Beautiful carved door on our way into town

There is so much to write about already as we are about to wrap up the first retreat, so I wanted to begin a series of blogposts to capture some of the inspirational images from around the Sanur area we are staying in to set the scene for this magically inspiring and beautiful place in the world.

Everywhere we turn there is inspiration. It is hot and humid here, so we take a slow walk along the back streets into town, where we can take time to notice so much beauty on our way. One beautiful statue we always pause to look at is this amazing oversized Buddha fountain. It is a private home called “Hidden Paradise’ and we always wonder what it is like behind that gorgeous door.

Hidden Paradise Buddha © Louise Gale

Buddha statue at ‘Hidden Paradise’

The wood carved doors, statues placed amongst the plants and flowers, the scent of incense burning as locals lay down their offerings and the constant chatter as we pass by the small shops, where we are asked to “look in my shop” or “you want massage?”


Local offerings, full of colour and aroma.

The Balinese people are so gentle, full of smiles and ready to help wherever they can. Everyday has been full of locals calling out “hello” as they pass by on their little mopeds (everyone rides mopeds here!), sometimes stacked with furniture, their children or even their granny hanging on the back!

spray paint heart, Sanur, Bali © Louise Gale

They are certainly full of heart in this little area and I am so happy to be spending so much time with so many creative women on the ‘Sacred Marks” retreats and gaining a small insight into the local culture. This amazing environment is sure to make an impact on all of our art making.


Photo Tracy took of the rooms and gift bags before the lovely participants arrived.

Preparing for the first retreat was so much fun. We made up little gift bags full of local goodies and art materials. I also painted a mini mandala for each of the lovely ladies as a gift from me.


Below is a little peek into my lovely altered book which is a book of quotes by the wonderful author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Plenty of space to draw and paint around the quotes. I cant wait to show you more over the next few weeks as I work through and capture my surroundings.

Altered Book beginnings ©Louise Gale

The beginnings of my altered book


It is very relaxed and open at the villa’s and the little girl living there, is so friendly and curious about what we are doing. Named “Melarnie”, she has been popping in to see what we are up to and seems keen to start her creative journey early in life. It is such a joy to be amongst such happy Balinese people, living simple, authentic lives and to be welcomed into this community so openly.

I am excited to be creative here everyday and soak up as much inspiration as possible during this time and I am excited to be sharing this experience with you, thanks so much for visiting me here.



Would you like to join me on one of my upcoming online classes?

STARTS: Monday 1 September 2014

Registration for my popular “Color Energy Class” is open and class starts on Monday 1 September 2014.

Creative Colour Energy WorkshopWould you like to embark on a colour adventure, play with mixed media, and learn about the 7 levels of energy?

We will explore and play through:

  • colour vision journaling/colour stories
  • mixed media,
  • painting and
  • photography


STARTS: Monday 20 October 2014

Mixed Media Mandalas online classWould you like to explore the sacred circle and mixed media mandalas further? I would love for you to join me to dive deeply in the 4 week “Mixed Media Mandalas” online class.

By the end of class, you will have a journal full of sacred circles and at least one finished mixed media piece of artwork to hang on your wall.