Art retreat Bali (or pool tour of Lembongan, you decide?!)

When an art retreat to Bali becomes a pool tour of lembongan …

That time I went on an art retreat in Bali,
and it turned into a pool tour of Lembongan…

It’s a healthy exercise for any artist to step outside one’s comfort zones and learn new things, experience new media, new styles, new techniques, new inspo. I especially like doing this by taking art retreats… So, when Carmen McFaull announced she was hosting such a retreat in Bali, (including a tour of Lembongan Island!) I didn’t hesitate in signing up.

Over 8 days, Carmen led us through 10 painting sessions based on a live model, lilies, boats, landscapes; using new materials, techniques and styles. It was a fabulous mega-week of fun, friendships, food and to balance it out, discipline!

In Bali learning new techniques, new mediums, new styles, and how to paint plein air…. In swimwear. With a paintbrush in one’s hair 😜

Shhhhh. Artist at work! (I got framed!! 😜)


And then this happens… we are all set up to paint these boats when along came the chillun. Couldn’t help but laugh – they are so cute!

And then, at the end of my art workshopping week, my family came to join me! We spent another 10 days on the island with no plans for what to do next…

  • Take a tour of Lembongan? (Which takes less than a day.)
  • Go snorkelling? (Amazing, but my 9yo would be swept out to sea.)
  • Hire a moped and potter around? (Would be great, but my husband is recovering from a shoulder reconstruction and can barely lift a Bintang, let around rev a moped!

Nusa Lembongan is described by many long-term visitors as “Bali, 20 years ago”… Rustic, charming, raw, basic, dirt roads, small family businesses, bare necessities… But it also has some mod cons — hotels with horizon pools, wi-fi at every cafe, luxury bathrooms (in some hotels only!), exquisite food options, ritzy cocktails…

Being “Bali, 20 years ago” though, means the people are still beautifully laid back, hospitable, and welcoming. They wouldn’t think twice if we rocked into their poolside area, ordered a meal or some drinks, and started swimming. (Unlike some mainland hotels that charge day visitors a fee to swim in their pool.)

So with all the above considerations factored in, we decided that we’d discover the island by shortlisting the best hotel pools around the place. Here is the results of our “research”… (Someone had to do it, right?!)

* Dream Beach has rips, undertows and pretty forceful waves. Beach-goers made a game of it to face the waves, and see if they could withstand their force. Many people got smashed, and sent somersaulting backwards onto the shore. It was hilarious to watch!

OK, so all the pools were great, and we had a ball. But my all-time favourite was the one we found on our last day there. It was the hotel closest to where the ferries all land on the beach, at the Lembongan Island Beach Villas. At approx AU$450/ night for accommodation, it was no surprise that the pool should be pretty special…

pool found during tour of Lembongan

And do you know what particularly impressed me about this pool? I finally found an “espresso” on the island, worth drinking! LOL ;-P

As much as I love Bali, I think any future visit will entail a return visit to Lembongan. Next time, though, I will book via the Lembongan Traveller**, a Dunsborough- based agent for all things Lembongan. I came across them while googling pools on the island, and was impressed with the range of properties (and prices) on their books.

I will sign off here with a pic of one of the pieces I created during my art retreat with Carmen — a still life featuring frangipanis and lush greenery. There’s another retreat I would recommend — if you see Carmen offering a workshop or retreat, grab the chance — you’re guaranteed to learn a whole lotta somethings new!

frangipani still life scene bali

With love,
Shine on!
❤ Anita Revel

** In the interests of transparency, the Lembongan Traveller did not pay me for this suggestion. They just seem like good people who know their stuff.

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