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image by Carole Knight created on retreat with Nadine Bastow at Villa Nilaya  near Candi Dasa.jpg

Portrait of Bali


SEPTEMBER  2023  (dates TBA)

Nadine Bastow.jpg

A retreat by the sea to use mixed media techniques on canvas to create a large canvas that reflects your experience of Bali, with yoga by Angelina La Miette and meditation with Anna


There’s nothing more compelling than faces, and yet portraiture is probably the most elusive and challenging aspect of figurative painting. Nadine Bastow presents an innovative program where the theme is a portrait, but the final painting will actually represent your collective  experiences of East Bali, combining your drawings and even photos of the sitter, the East Balinese culture and way of life and the beautiful surrounds at Villa Nilaya.

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During this week, one session will be portrait drawing and understanding this process in some detail, then we’ll need patterns for our background to interplay with the portrait and we also need objects, natural and manmade that we love and are drawn to from this region, so it involves a cultural trip to collect inspiration, as well as familiarising yourself with the village of Mendira, where we stay.

"A portrait is first and foremost a painting. The subject is secondary"   -  Aaron Shikler


What You’ll Do

This workshop will suit both complete newcomers and artists who are not used to working with a sitter for portraiture, whilst those of you who already enjoy this practice will learn new  approaches and techniques to invigorate and expand a fabulous new horizon of possibilities.

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  • Discover what it means to work through the creative process of the design cycle. How to work through a process of gathering images through exploration, experimenting with media, design development of an idea and a colour framework, leading into a final beautiful artwork.

  • Learn the basic drawing techniques for portraiture. Learning to capture the sitter’s portrait from a variety of angles and capturing the features of the face realistically through tonal blending and shading with pencil and chalk pastel.

  • Learn how to create and carve design for a repetitive block print. This creates beautiful and meaningful pattern, as the underlying surface of the portrait, adding layers of colour, texture and depth to the surface of the canvas.

  • Learn how to render the portrait with acrylic paint, capturing a likeness of the sitter, through an exploration of tonal blending and clever colour use to draw the image forward.

You will take home a large finished work or art, ready to stretch. The work can be rolled for transport – if you have a poster tube, please bring it – further details will be supplied with your retreat ‘what to bring’ list


More About This Retreat 


Nadine  has presented four previous ‘Portrait of Bali’ painting retreats since 2015. This year sees her returning to Creative Living Retreats in Bali for the 5th year – we are so happy to be welcoming her back. Nadine’s retreats are always dynamic, filled with laughter and fun, oodles of paint, and just loaded with possibilities at every stage of the painting process.

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This is a time when Nadine brings her career as a full-time and highly respected, professional arts educator into full bloom!


Away from the demands of a busy life, here in Bali, Nadine can focus unreservedly on art and the creative journeys that she will share with you. Nadine puts a huge amount of preparation into these retreats to ensure that you have every resource you can imagine – and more – for they are loaded with surprise and generously resourced.


Tireless and effervescent, Nadine truly cares that you take home a work that you love. You will feel such a sense of achievement when walking into Villa Nilaya on Exhibition Night and seeing your canvas hanging on the walls!


During your week of creating your Portrait of Bali, you’ll be inspired by the beautiful tropical environment, rich with nature, with plenty of places to take timeout and swim, in the sea or the pool, whilst enjoying the hospitality of Villa Nilaya ‘s wonderful staff who’ll prepare delicious lunches for you each day. You’ll even be treated to a gorgeous Balinese massage from our trained staff.


A foundational element of Creative Living Retreats, and something which really makes them unique, is the importance we place on yoga and meditation throughout the week. The morning ritual of gentle stretch and meditation to focus your mind  prepares you to really lean into your creativity each and every day of the retreat. Experience the peacefulness of not having to ‘be’ anything to ‘anyone’ this week and open yourself to being cared for. And at the end of the day, a longer session with deep rest - shavasana - always awaits.


You’ll leave with not only a toolkit of painting and drawing techniques, but the experience of having worked closely with an artist that will inspire and inform your arts practice from here on, and you’ll definitely be taking home a large, completed canvas painting which will be ready for the framers. You’ll make new friends, and perhaps, you’ll  find some new or renewed practices to take home into your daily life for the wellbeing of yourself and others.



What have other retreat participants said about Nadine’s courses?


“ Oh how I loved my first art retreat at Villa Nilaya - I had not painted for many years, but could not resist the temptation of trying again in such lovely surroundings - the gorgeous gardens and sparkling seas  - wonderful food and a most amazing teacher, Nadine. She inspired us to create beyond our imaginings, and taught us techniques with gold leaf and how to make our own block prints and use them as part of or artworks. How delighted I am with my masterpiece! I have , of course, returned many times - how could I resist ? " Lelle Taffyn, Western Australia

What's included on this retreat?

From the moment you arrive into Bali, most everything is included in your retreat package. Our aim is to make sure that you just float from one lovely thing to another without thinking how it happens.  Just bring your intention – we’ll take care of the rest.

While staying in your choice of 3 lovely seaside accommodations (from 5-star to 3-star, and even at the entry level, very comfortable), you’ll have daily art, yoga and mediation sessions with Nadine, Angelina and Anna in the living rooms and yoga deck of Villa Nilaya, and the option to participate in a variety of activities that reflect our unique environment.

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The yoga is suitable for every level of experience, including ‘none’, with our small group size of maximum 12 allowing for plenty of individualised attention to tailor the yoga to your needs and ability.

Your Retreat cost includes:

  • 7 nights of accommodation of your choice with breakfasts

  • 7 lunches, 4 dinners

  • Taxi collection from the airport to your accommodation

  • 10 sessions of painting tuition, a total of 30 hours of studio time with Nadine

  • All artist quality materials for your art making

  • Daily Hatha yoga instruction with Angelina, suitable for all levels  

  • All yoga equipment supplied, no need to bring anything

  • A night on the town with Fine Dining

  • Dinner at our favourite seaside restaurant

  • A Welcome Night BBQ dinner at Villa Nilaya

  • A Midweek dinner a Villa Nilaya

  • Lunch daily at Villa Nilaya

  • Morning and afternoon teas 

  • Tea, water, coffee throughout the retreat

  • Cultural tours and activities

  • A complimentary Balinese massage from our experiences masseuses at Villa Nilaya

  • an option to go boating 

  • You'll have 2 evenings to yourself this week


Our Daily Program:

  • Mornings: a Welcome and mediation session 

  • A 3-hour session of art with Nadine, with morning tea. This is usually at the villa, with a cultural trip taking us to the eastern part of the island for drawing and swimming during the week.

  • Lunch together at the Villa from 12.30

  • Afternoons: A 3-hour session ‘til 5.00 of art with Nadine, with afternoon tea

  • Daily Yoga with Angelina, usually at the end of our day

  • A Balinese massage is available on a day of your choosing

  • Evenings: we alternate our evenings with group dinners featuring delicious Balinese cuisine provided at Villa Nilaya, with other evenings at local restaurants.


Painting, print-making, boating, touring, restaurants, live music, cultural visits, yoga, meditation, great food, laughter and a stress-free week away from it all by the beach PLUS a fabulous big painting to take home to hang on your walls … what are you waiting for?


More About Nadine Bastow

Nadine is a highly experienced Arts Educator and very skilled communicator. Her 30-year career has been a combination of practicing art and teaching art to both adults and teenagers in Perth, country WA, and internationally.

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She is currently Head of the Arts at St Marks Anglican School in Hillarys Western Australia, and also teaches Visual Art to secondary students.


For 4 years she and her family lived in China, where she taught Visual Art in an IB International school.


Nadine has been part of a number of group exhibitions around Perth, one in China and a solo exhibition in Fremantle and her work is now in collections in Singapore, Norway, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and China. 


Her great love is mixed media painting, portraiture and sculpting clay portrait narratives and thematically her work reflects the ebb and flow of her own life and the big moments faced.


The images below are just some that participants have created with Nadine over the last four years.

And there  are blogs from our 2019 retreats to share with you more about what we get up to!

image by Kathy Mikosza made on retreat w
Image produced by Christine on retreat w
Portrait of Bali by Libby Parker
Portrait produced by reteatant on NADINE
Jane Flowers painting at Nadine Bastow Retreat
image created  on retreat with Nadine Ba
Image produced by Margaret Lambert on re

PRICING - AUD | Early Bird Discount  available as soon as dates are a nniunced

Yes! You can bring a friend who would like to participate in trips and restaurant dinners only. Prices on request.

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We'll let you know the retreat dates

the moment Bali opens for Australian travellers

so please subscribe below

We just can't wait to get back to beautiful East Bali!

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