I’m currently in breathtaking Bali on vacation and fascinated by how incredibly gorgeous everything here is. The colors and the scenery look as if everything is in Technicolor and the people here are kind and lovely. Everything they do here is constructed to be beautiful and appeasing to the gods and therefore a stunning feast for your eyes as well.
I was so excited to see some local women perform the traditional Legong Balinese dance in Ubud the other evening. This is a classical dance in which three female dancers in colorful costumes act out an ancient story about an arrogant king desiring an unwilling princess. The makeup was so bright and dramatic I just had to know what went on in the dancers dressing room. I was lucky enough to spot a Balinese male actor going backstage to get ready and I asked if I could tag along and get a inside peak on how these beautiful people get painted up each night.
It was a real treat as a makeup artist to get an insider look on Balinese makeup tips and tricks. I watched them use old grease paints in small square tins to flawlessly draw on their character and create the extreme beauty for the stage. I must say they sure love a red lip and know how to slick one on with ease. They carefully wrapped one another in yards of hand-woven fabric while taking turns at the mirror touching up their makeup. They use pancake foundation to even out the skin and black greasy pencils to elongate their eyes. They highlight under the brow bone with white (a fave trick of mine by the way) and play with royal blue and pinky purple on the lids in layers.
They are very good at shading their faces to give a look of severity on stage and place pretty bindis on their foreheads and sides of the eyes. After they so graciously allowed me to photograph them I ran back out into the audience to watch these fascinating women dance. They truly are lovely and magic to watch and I feel lucky to have been privy to a backstage pass.