Ni Ketut Anggreni is a painter and art teacher at the High School of Fine Arts in Gianyar. The 31-year-old shared her day with The Bali Times

” I hope by teaching I can make art really accessible for everyone.  “

I wake up every day at 5am, and take some time for religion, thanking God for giving me such wonderful days in my life. Then, I prepare my painting materials, such as canvas, paint, oils or another type, depending on what I am painting that day, and I start to paint.

When I’m not teaching, I usually paint for three or four hours without a break. I have to paint quickly, as the method I use is the sucking method, which means the turpentine I use sucks the paint into the canvas, making it dry more quickly, and finishing the process faster. I have to complete a painting in one session. Although it’s challenging to work this fast, it suits my personality.

I am the kind of person who wants everything to be fast. I can’t wait to see things appear slowly, waiting patiently for the canvas to dry. Perhaps this attitude makes me choose turpentine as an essential part of making a painting.

I teach twice a week, Friday and Saturday, for about three hours. I love to teach since by teaching we can share our knowledge with others, teaching others by our own experiences. I hope by teaching I can make art really accessible for everyone. I always try to make my students feel comfortable with me, and encourage them to ask lots of questions. Sometimes students will come to my boarding house in Batubulan to talk about art.

Before, I studied at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta. I learned from my father, who was a painter. He used to paint people at wedding ceremonies. Like him, I like painting from my environment, especially social situations I see in everyday life. I combine pictures in my mind with photos in paintings; sometimes one face can represent many. The subject I like the best is old people’s faces, in which I find wisdom, life experience and strong character. I really like to look at wrinkles in old faces. I paint in an expressionist style inspired by Affandi and Van Gogh. I tried but found it very difficult to create surrealist paintings. I think people need patience to make surrealist paintings, and patience is one characteristic I don’t have.

In my spare time, I look for painting commissions, which is actually not something I love to do, but the teacher’s salary I earn is not enough to cover the cost of painting materials. I’ll take pictures of my paintings to art shops in Kuta and Sukawati and I can usually finish about five paintings to order in three days.

When I paint to order, I have no time for the paintings that come from my inner feelings, so when I get the chance I do it quite fast. Everything I want to paint is already in my head. I just use my hand to get it out of my brain and put it on the canvas.

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