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About Joanie

From Line Drawing to Batik

The Quick Sketch

The Spiritual Foundation of my Art

Painting Batik in Java and Bali


Where does it come from the urge to create, the need to make one's own version of the world?


I have been making batik in Bali for many years, and the Hindu spirituality that is fundamental to Balinese culture has influenced me more and more. In this philosophy it is believed that desire exists within God, and that this desire is the momentum that creates the universe.


According to this teaching, artists too respond to desire. The artwork itself arises as a result of a marriage between the desire in the spirit of the artist and the artist's body. The mind images, but without the hand, nothing can be manifested. The children of this marriage are the artworks themselves that can live on after the artist's death, give joy and solace to future generations, and adorn the world.


Finding Batik

I have always made line drawings. In pen and ink I drew the streets of New York and London, Istanbul and Paris. I drew the faces of my neighbours in Ununio, a fishing village on the East African coast. I drew truckers and tribesmen in the southern Sudan, holy men in the temples of India, children and elders in the markets of Mexico, Guatemala, Peru and Ethiopia. I made a visual record of concerts and parties, marches and meetings, weddings and ceremonies.







And when I came to long for color, I found the place where line and color meet. I found batik or batik found me. In my small guesthouse in Bali, the host family, including the children, were all painting a batik sarong with dye. The white fabric was stretched out on a frame two meters long, A picture of fish had been drawn in golden wax.  I asked to join them and was handed a stick with a piece of foam tied on with string, the brush. I dipped it in dye and touched it to the cloth. The color spread across the rayon and was stopped by the wax line. It was magic and I knew that I had to learn all about it.





I first studied the art of batik painting in Solo, Java, with Umar Hassidin. For 17 years I have been making batik in the workshop of Ketut Sujana in Ubud, Bali. Now I translate my line drawings into images of California hills and rivers, tropical gardens and forests, horses and fish, flowers and trees and the human form.  I am inspired by the sacred spring and holy mountain of Ashram Lemboh Bayan.



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