Photo Of The Day: Sketching In Angkor Wat

As the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat is truly massive, taking hours to get just a cursory view of the temple complex. While it is Cambodia’s prime attraction, there are still plenty of corners in which to find your own personal space, which is exactly what this sketch artist is doing inside Banteay Kdei. Known as the “Citadel of Chambers,” monks still lived inside up until the 1960s. Captured by Lauren Irons, “The Traveling Teacher,” and submitted to the Gadling Flickr Pool, this picture shows one man’s ability to do what many of us yearn for: find our own moments of peace within spectacular locations.

You too can have the chance at your travel photos being featured as our “Photo of the Day” by submitting it to our Gadling Flickr Pool or via Instagram by mentioning us @gadlingtravel and using tagging your photo with #gadling.

[Photo credit: Flickr user thetravelingteacher]

6 art classes to try in Bali

There’s no better place in Indonesia to take art classes than in Bali, an island known around the world for its artistic tradition. Indeed, it seems that everywhere you look, you find traces of man-made beauty. From the ornamentation on the temples to the etchings on the sidewalks to the attention and care given to daily offerings set out on the street, art oozes from every crack.

When you’re surrounded by so much beauty, it’s natural that you’ll want to flex your own creative muscles. Thankfully, Bali has an array of art classes intended to give visitors an introduction to traditional craft.

1. Batik making
The Indonesian art of batik involves a complex process of wax application and painting on fabric. Museum Puri Lukisan in Ubud holds private courses for Rp. 450,000 (about $50). Create your own work from scratch, or choose from a number of traditional templates. All materials are included, as well as a delicious Balinese lunch and entrance to the museum, which houses a collection of contemporary art.2. Silversmithing
Learn how to pierce, solder, and shape your own silver ring or pendant at Studio Perak, one of Ubud’s most popular jewelry workshops. Your masterpiece may not turn out as polished as the pieces on display, but they’ll certainly come with a great story. A half-day workshop costs Rp. 350,000 (about $39) and includes 5 grams of silver to play with.

3. Textile appreciation
It’s pretty impossible to be in Bali longer than five minutes and not have have an appreciation for Indonesian textiles. But if you want to dive deeper, try the lectures at Threads of Life, an Ubud non-profit that works to revive traditional textile traditions throughout Indonesia. “Introducing the Textiles of Bali and Indonesia” will teach you about various batik, ikat, and traditional weaving techniques, while “Textiles & Their Place in Indonesian Culture” explores the history and traditional uses of textiles in the region.


4. Life model drawing
All artists are welcome to Ubud Life Model Sessions, held at Pranato’s Art Gallery in Ubud. For just Rp. 20,000 (about $2), you can join Pranato, his Australian wife Kerry, and a mixed group of ex-pats and visitors for three-hour sketching sessions twice a week. The gallery also features rotating exhibitions and an impressive array of Indonesian and international art.

5. Ceramics
Live out your Ghost fantasy — we know you have one — at Sari Api Ceramics Studio, just outside Ubud. A beautiful open-air space run by a Swiss ex-pat, Sari Api offers half day private ceramics workshops for Rp. 450,000 (about $50) or a more intensive eight-session course for Rp. 1,750,000 (about $192).

6. Painting
The Bali Center for Artistic Creativity in Ubud offers individual art classes as well as longer custom-tailored courses. A single class will run you Rp. 450,000 (about $50) for three hours of instruction and basic materials. The Center also runs university credit courses and art therapy programs.

The fine art of travel sketching

I always found the idea of sketching while traveling kind of odd. I’m by no means a good artist, and half the time my drawings end up looking like something a two-year-old could have scribbled on a place mat. Besides, I have a camera, right? But for some unknown reason, I’m starting to really enjoy it. In fact, I would argue trying your hand at travel sketching can significantly improve your travels. Here’s why.

When you take a photo, you simply center your subject, press the button and the image is captured. You move on – eager to find the next tourist attraction. But when you sketch, you’re forced to stay in one spot and really look at what’s in front of you. How are the shadows angled off the building? Did you notice the shape of that window? Look at the crazy statues hidden inside that arch. A world of unexpectedly rich details emerges. You start to appreciate what you see not as a just another sight to check off a list, but as something to be savored.

All of us have the ability to draw. It’s a skill we all learned when we were little kids. Yet at some point, those of us who weren’t artists simply stopped. Don’t be ashamed to give your drawing skills another try. You might just discover a hidden talent while creating a one-of-a-kind memory of your trip. Even if you don’t like it, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the world around you.