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Portrait of Bali

Nadine Bastow (Australia)
& Anna Kwiecinska

1 - 8 June, 2024

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Mixed Media Art Retreat

8 days / 7 nights

-Day 1 is Arrival Day (no program)

- Day 8 is Departure Day (no program)

- 6 Full Days Art and Cultural Program


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

A retreat by the sea exploring mixed media techniques on canvas and paper to create a canvas that reflects your personal experience of Bali, starting with guided portraiture basics with our beautiful Balinese models, and combining a variety of mixed media to add layered complexity to your painting. You'll then have other canvases for other portraiture works and some environmentally-inspired works on paper using a variety of printing techniques


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.


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.

Come and enjoy 6 creative days producing a series of mixed media artworks, inspired by the beautiful Villa Nilaya gardens, people and local environment. You will learn the basics of portraiture, creating drawings and mixed media paintings of a Balinese model. You will have the opportunity to experiment with collage and a variety of printmaking techniques, including gel plate printing, mono-printing and block carving to produce small reduction prints, all inspired by the beautiful shapes, patterns and forms surrounding you in the gardens and shallow waters of Villa Nilaya and aspects of the local East Balinese village. 

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.

  • 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.

  • Other print-making techniques, including gelli prints

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, especially following her recent solo exhibition.


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.

Read More ...


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.

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Oh How I loved this retreat with Nadine 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 sea - 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 our artworks.

How delighted I am with my masterpiece! I have ofcourse, returned many times  - how could I resist ? 

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Lelle Taffyn, Perth, Western Australia (a repeat retreat participant at Villa Nilaya


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 and curiosity– 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.

Read More ...

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

  • 5 lunches, 4 dinners

  • Taxi collection from the airport to your accommodation

  • A total of 30 hours of studio time with Nadine

  • All quality materials for your art-making. No need to bring anything.

  • A night on the town with Fine Dining

  • A Welcome Night BBQ dinner at Villa Nilaya

  • A Balinese cooking lesson and dining at 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


Our Daily Program:

  • Mornings: 

  • 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

  • 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.

Scenes from her 2023 solo exhibition in Melbourne Australia follow ...


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

You can read blogs from our 2019 retreats to share with you more about what we get up to!


A luxurious week where all you need do is turn up each day after breakfast (and perhaps an early-morning dip? ... the snorkeling is fabulous), having taken the short walk in our pretty village to Villa Nilaya.

Calm and focusing breathwork - pranayama - and then to art. Our days together begins with 20 minutes with our yoga teacher whose gentle breathwork will invite you into the art-making to follow with gentle ease and inspirational guidance.


Flowers are integral to Balinese spiritual life; colours signify cosmic directions and the gods residing there. The many-layered spiritual world of the Balinese people - Hindu, Buddhist and animist traditions all combined into a distinctive form of island Hinduism. This week, you too will embrace these beautiful blooms to create an abundant and multi-layered vision of Bali.

And at the end of each day? A deeply restorative, full, luxuriant yoga class on our beautiful teak-floored yoga space.

Stretch, breathe and relax deeply ... drift off to sleep, perhaps, to the sound of the lapping sea at the end of the garden .... before padding downstairs as evening gathers, for peaceful evenings to spend discovering the seaside dining venues in our village of Mendira near Candi Dasa - plus, you'll dine at Villa Nilaya 3 times this week.

Choose from one of three accommodations - from cute Balinese bungalows to luxe-plus resort suites, all venues have dining facilities if you fancy a night at home.  Your 8-nights' accommodation with breakfast is included in the retreat price. There is nothing else to pay, except for a few nights; dinner See the Accommodation

Nadine and I warmly invite you to join our group in 2024 for this exceptional art experience by the sea in East Bali.


  • Coming to this course with an open mind and a preparedness to get the most out of the detailed instruction, even as a complete beginner, you'll find your way into making surprisingly sophisticated artworks.

  • If you have some prior art-making experience at any level, then this retreat is rocket fuel for your practice!​

  • The YOGA is suitable for ALL LEVELS of experience, including novices and for those with restricted movement we'll have  a 'chair yoga' alternative for you. 

Creative Living Retreats by Anna Kwiecinska

With a background as an art historian and previous art gallery owner, my collaboration with artists continues to be a fascinating career which evolved into specialist art retreats designed to combine seriously good art tuition with authentic cultural experiences.

The practice of yoga has under-pinned Creative Living Retreats, as a source of focus for creative inspiration - so whether you join us as a novice or a yogi, each day presents a new yoga journey with our intuitive teachers to Live Creatively.

Over a decade, many retreatants have returned for our thoughtfully curated weeks of supported creativity, and I genuinely look forward to welcoming you to experience the depth of wellbeing that Creative Living Retreats have become known for, More info

What's Included?
  • A/C Airport Taxi collection with name board on arrival at the International Airport

  • Accommodation  in YOUR OWN ROOM with Breakfast for 7 nights in your choice of beachside hotels and bungalows

  • 30 Hours of Art Tuition with Nadine Bastow over 7 days.

  • All Art Materials  these are the same professional materials that Nadine uses in her professional work. 

  • You should bring a sketch pad - more details in pre-retreat information 

  • Breakfasts 7

  • Lunches 6 - buffet, provided at Villa Nilaya during the retreat. We serve really fresh food, with an emphasis on vegetarian, tofu and seafood protein, and not too starchy (quinoa and red rice often replaces white rice).

  • Morning and afternoon teas each day

  • Filtered Water available throughout the retreat

  • Dinners 4 including:

  • ‘Welcome Dinner BBQ' at Villa Nilaya (dietary restrictions catered for - please advise)

  • Exhibition Night Dinner and concert performance

  • Cooking and Cocktails with our executive chef Pak Dewa Ardika

  • A fine dining experience in town 

  • Balinese Massage or reflexology treatment in house at Villa Nilay

What's Not Included
  • airfare

  • travel insurance

  • personal expenses 

  • return taxi (you can pre-pay this when you book )

  • 3 dinners and 1 lunches - our village of Mendira has several excellent 'warungs' - local restaurants 

Please note that the links on the pricelist below are not live - you can download the PDF by hitting the button below and can access live links from that.

Accommodation details for Bali available HERE

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