The colour palette from two 20th century and one 21st century Indonesian paintings from the island of Bali was determined by Raman microscopy. There is very little information concerning the artistic techniques from this region of the world and the influences in materials introduced by western artists. The most interesting finding of our study was the increasing substitution of natural pigments by modern synthetic organic pigments. The findings were also compared with samples of representative pigments commonly used by Bali artists, donated by a renowned Balinese painter. Raman microscopy, combined with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, high-performance liquid chromatography and μ-EDXRF, was able to separate the different components on several colours, and to identify both synthetic organic pigments and inorganic components. Three azo pigments from the diarylide subclass, PY 83, PY 55 and PO 16, were identified on the yellow, brown, red and orange colours. A copper phthalocyanine blue PB 15:x and a basic dye BB 26 were responsible for the blue colours, the former admixed with ultramarine blue. Goethite was sometimes introduced to create the green colour. Two other basic dyes, BY2 and PG 4, were the main chromophores of the yellow and green samples of local pigments. The inorganic pigments comprised bone white, bone black, carbon-based black pigment, haematite, goethite, vermilion, ultramarine blue and anatase. Finally, the ground layer of all the paintings was identified as rice starch, with a double function of a white pigment. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.