Buying Bali paintings

Ubud painters road paintings

Buying Bali paintings

Are you into looking at art galleries and paintings while in Bali? Buying Bali paintings is quite a pleasurable thing to do with a huge range of art styles and pricing to choose from.

Ubud, as the centre of Bali arts in general, including traditional dance and music, sculpture of both wood and stone, is also the centre of painting in Bali.

In Ubud itself you will find many formal galleries that showcase locals’ work, along with many shops packed to the rafters with work, along with many stalls at the Ubud market that sell the unique work of locals as well as the mass produced artwork that comes from Java.

Like to share your experience of buying Bali paintings? Leave your comments or write your story at the bottom of this page.

On one of the many ways to Ubud, (see the map below for where this is – the road in red is the painters’ road) is a whole street full of art galleries and painters studios where painters have their work for sale. This street is  a 3-4 kilometre stretch where you will find many small and large art galleries.

There are many other galleries in Bali but it is here that the Ubud artists congregrate. Often painting is a family thing, where art and the desire to paint gets passed on with the mothers’ milk.

It is a good idea to hire a car just in case you find something you that fits with you.

Sometimes in the galleries the prices are totally exhorbitant with only a very small percentage going to the painter and there are also the mass produced, copied art as well. Mostly however, people ask a fair price and may also be open to bargaining.


Handicraft shopping at Kumba Sari handicraft market paintings

Artists are not wealth generally, so whatever you pay is going to a good place. Yes you can get ripped off, but no more than you can afford!

You may get some bargains, though often the painters are not interested in negotiating.

And really, mostly it is not a lot of money, and you do want to supporting the arts community is a good and cheap way of ensuring this aspect of Bali culture lives on.

The larger galleries in Ubud, on the other hand, seem to be doing very well, and charge accordingly. And, if they were not there, then the artists would not have that place to sell in. And some artists are more well-known or popular so naturally you will pay more for their work.

Remember though, that an income of anything over 5 million a month is considered very good. So take that starting high price with a grain of salt.

There are all kinds of art styles and lots of these galleries are chock full of stuff I’d never consider putting on a wall to look at every day, but might be perfect for someone else.

And there are often lots of interesting works of art in the stacks, although you may have to dig a bit to find them.

There is also an increasing number of galleries in the Kuta-Seminyak strip that sell local art as well as that of expat artists, and they obviously sell at a higher price than elsewhere, mostly due to real estate costs.

Clearly with art, the closer you get to the source, the more affordable it will be and the higher the percentage that goes into the artists’ pockets.

Ubud painters road street gallery

See the bottom of this page for more photos of Bali paintings.

There are painters, galleries and painting shops with hundreds of painting stacked up, all over Bali, and the styles will vary, although often Ubud artists simply send their work all over the island.

Custom ordering and buying Bali paintings 

A few times I have liked the style of a painting but the shape or size does not work for what I want. The artist will usually be happy to make whatever you want, within certain allowances for colour.

So this is good opportunity to get those paintings custom made for those walls at home that are waiting for your inspiration.

Tips for taking Bali paintings home

The painting needs to be totally dry before rolling it up. The humidity in Bali is so high that mould grows in the paint as moisture comes to the surface when the painting goes to a drier climate.

Get the artist to dismantle the frame, marking each join on each piece of wood first so you can easily reassemble later. This is not only for financial reasons (Framing a painting in the West can cost 100s of dollars) but due to the fact that the frame itself may not actually be square and easily rebuilt. The frame itself may only weigh one or two kgs so it is inexpensive to ship.

Using the original frame makes framing the painting when you get home simple. It fits the Bali painting.

Check the wooden frame for evidence of termites or borers because Australian customs will want to check it and will burn it if there are bugs. If there are bugs in it, measure the frame accurately, and which side is up and down etc..

Enjoy looking for and Buying Bali paintings and maybe you find something special.

By Mark O’Brien 2013

See also Buying Bali Paintings in Ubud

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