Saturday, 27 May 2017

Mobor beach, Goa - A water colour painting

"Watercolour is a lifetime pursuit..........mostly uphill." Robert Wade

I love the quote as mentioned above. After having done a lot of charcoal and pastel artworks, I definitely find water colour more challenging, however it has its own advantages. What I love most about this medium is that it gets done fast and I do not have to worry about its getting smudged. I can conveniently store it in a folder.

Mobor beach is a beautiful serene beach in the south of Goa. I visited this beach during the monsoon and enjoyed the views around. It was a cloudy day and the distant trees and mountains got reflected in the still waters. I decided to use water colour medium to capture the mood and atmosphere of the moment.

This painting also gave me the opportunity to paint a cloudy sky and the reflections in the water. I tried the wet on wet technique for the sky and had to be pretty organised and quick in adding the colours. I need to work on many more such landscapes to understand the painting technique. It is more about understanding the paper, the amount of water in the brush and how dilute is the paint. I am loving this medium and plan to continue with it for a few more paintings.

Water colour painting of Mobor beach, South Goa, by Manju Panchal

Mobor Beach, Goa
Water colour painting on Fabriano paper
Size 6.5" X 9"

I painted Vaddi beach, Goa, some time back and to view the same CLICK HERE. 

Presently I am using Camlin artists water colour tubes and am exploring all the different papers that I have in my collection. Over a period of time I have purchased hand made paper, Fabriano , Arches cold pressed paper, Campap and Brustro water colour paper. I may finally settle down for the one which works best for me depending on my technique.

Thanks a lot for viewing my artworks.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

An early morning view at Temi Tea Garden, South Sikkim

"If you hear a voice within you say ,'You cannot paint', by all means paint and that voice will be silenced." Vincent Van Gogh

While in Sikkim, we decided to spend a day at Temi Tea Garden in a homestay. When we reached there it was late evening and the weather was a bit dull and cloudy. The distant mountains and valleys were all covered in fog. Hence the morning sight took us by surprise as we were greeted by a clear sky, bright sunlight and it was a pleasure as we watched the scene change slowly.

Water colour painting, a study work of an early morning view at Temi Tea Garden, South Sikkim

Morning at Temi Tea Estate
Water colour study work on Campap paper
Size 5" X 6"

I enjoyed working on Campap paper. The wet on wet technique worked pretty well on this paper.
Presently I am working on some more water colour study works in my sketch book. After having done a couple of them I plan to create paintings sized 7" X 10" or more.

If you are interested in attending a workshop organised by me visit my ART WORKSHOP page to know more details.

Thanks for browsing through my works.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Gurudongmar Lake and Zero point - water colour study works

"All my life through, the new sights of nature made me rejoice like a child." Marie Curie

The above quote says exactly what I feel while I am in the arms of nature. My recent visit to North Sikkim made my dream come true as I got the opportunity to visit Gurudongmar lake, Yumthang valley and Zero point. Words cannot express the beauty of these places and as I always write in my posts, one has to be there to feel it and live it.

I captured the beauty of north Sikkim in my Camera ( Cannon and Sony ). Gurudongmar lake is the second highest lake in India, at a height of 17100 feet above sea level. It is one of the most beautiful, spectacular and sacred lakes surrounded on all sides by snow capped mountains.

Legend has it that, Guru Padmasambhava ( also known as Guru Dongmar ), touched and sanctified the lake, and thus even in extreme winter, a portion of the lake does not freeze. The lake is also one of the sources of river Teesta, which flows through Sikkim, West Bengal and Bangladesh to merge with the Bay of Bengal.

Given below are a few water colour study works of Gurudongmar lake and scenes from Zero Point in north Sikkim. Study works help me to understand the composition, brush strokes, colour mixing etc so that when late I am trying to recreate the same scene on a larger scale I will know the exact technique to follow.

water colour study work of Gurudongmar lake, North Sikkim

Gurudongmar Lake 
Study works on cartridge sheet
Size 4" X 5"

water colour study work of a scene from Zero point, North Sikkim

At Zero point ( North Sikkim ) 
Study works on cartridge sheet
Size 4" X 5"

After having done the "Study works" where in I tried out different techniques to get the scene as desired, I shall now decide on creating a larger painting on "Arches 300gsm cold pressed paper". 

I purchased a few sheets of Arches paper some months back but have somehow not gathered the courage to start on it. It is an expensive paper and I wanted to have the free and loose brush movements, and a little bit of experience in handling the water colour medium. It is time now to shift from handmade paper to Arches and I will know the difference once I paint on it. I would love to create a "Gurudongmar lake" painting on it soon.

Thank you all for your support and keep browsing.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Step by step -Water colour painting on hand made paper

"The artist does not see things as they are, but as he is." Alfred Tonnelle

It feels good to be blogging once again after a long number of days. I have not painted much for a while as I have been busy travelling. 

The water colour painting that I am posting today got completed last month just before I left home for my holidays. Its a painting which has been inspired by "A Journey to Ladakh". Ladakh is one of my dream destinations and some day soon I plan to visit this place with famuly and friends. The reference photograph for the painting below has been provided to me by a close friend and I am thankful to her for the same.

It is a 11" X 14" painting on hand made paper and I have used Camlin Artists water colour tubes for the same. To view my Palette, CLICK HERE. 


The road to heaven
A water colour painting on hand made paper
Size 11" X 14"

Posted below are the steps involved in creating this water colour painting. I have used both, the wet on wet and wet on dry techniques to complete the above painting.


Step 1. Wet on wet, creating the sky and distant mountains


Step 2. Adding the foreground using flat brush and painting the 
mountain in the foreground using warm colours


Step 3. Adding details on the mountain slopes using
wet on dry technique

While I was away, I carried my small travel sketch book, water colour palette, two round brushes, few pencils and an eraser in order to create some plein air paintings provided I got time and opportunity. Fortunately on some days I did get a good view from the Homestay where we were put up and I managed to create a few small water colour study works. I shall try and post them soon.

In the meantime I am also gearing up to get started with my portrait works. I also have plan to create a few landscapes especially with reference to some beautiful photographs that I took while I was at Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim.

Thanks for browsing through my works and do visit my ART WORKSHOP page in case you are interested in taking one of my workshops to learn the basics of different mediums.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Drawing a portrait on Strathmore Toned gray paper

"To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong." Joseph Chilton Pearce

After having done a couple of "Eye Studies", I finally decided to try out a portrait on Strathmore Toned Gray paper. The gray colour of the paper acts as the mid tone value and I have used the white pastel pencil and the charcoal pencil to create the lighter and darker values.

Strathmore toned paper is acid free, has a smooth texture which works well for my portrait works. Moreover the greatest advantage of using a toned paper is that I need a very few tools around which makes my workplace less messy.

Portrait of a woman on Strathmore Toned paper. By Manju Panchal

The Gaze
Charcoal and pastel drawing on toned paper
Size 4" X 5"

I enjoyed working on Gray Toned paper by Strathmore and would definitely want to use it even in future for my portrait and figurative works. 

Thanks for browsing through my artworks.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Two Women - Charcoal figurative work

"The vision must be sharper than the pencil". Bob Brendle

Inspired by the Indian tradition and culture, I had started a series on "Portraits and figurative works" in 2004. Back then I was a lot into charcoal medium. I have restarted my portrait works and am also working on some of my past incomplete works.

The Charcoal drawing "Two women" has been inspired by the beautiful women of Rajasthan. The painting is an attempt to portray their unparalleled grace and beauty.

The two women, draped in long veils, who stand together, in silence, dressed in their traditional attire, looking on at the distance. 


Charcoal figurative drawing of two beautiful women by Manju Panchal

Two Women
Charcoal drawing on acid free paper
Size 11" X 15"

There are more charcoal drawings such as these and I am enjoying once again, bringing them back to life. Portrait and figurative works are more challenging than doing landscapes. However I love both these subjects and will continue painting both of them.

My works can be viewed on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK page too.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Two more "Eye Studies" on two different papers.

" Drawing is the 'bones' of art. You have to be able to walk before you can run." 
Dion Archibald

Posted below are two more "Eye studies" as created on Canson Bristol and Strathmore Toned Gray paper. I purchased both these papers very recently from Art Lounge. They can also be purchased from ebay India or other online sites.

An eye study on Canson Bristol paper by Manju Panchal

An Eye study on
Canson Bristol XL paper

An "Eye study" on Strathmore Toned Gray paper. By Manju Panchal

An Eye study on 
Strathmore Toned Gray paper

Canson XL Bristol paper is acid free, ultra white and extra smooth. ( 180 gsm ). I used a combination of charcoal and graphite on this paper to create the eye study as above.

I am enjoying working with both these new papers. They are both good in their own ways. Strathmore is textured and being a toned paper I have to use only the white and black pencil to get the different values.

Canson Bristol XL paper

Canson Bristol XL paper

Presently I am also working on some of my old charcoal figurative works which need a little touch up. Will be posting one of them soon.

My works can be browsed through on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK page too.
Thanks for visiting my BLOG.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Drawing "An Eye" on Strathmore Toned Gray paper

"Where words are restrained, the eyes often talk a great deal." Samuel Richardson

When drawing a portrait it is imperative to focus on "Eyes". The eyes bring life into the portrait and they express the feelings and emotions the person is going through. Drawing eyes requires a lot of understanding of the underlying bone structure or rather human skull. Hence to get a better understanding of the eye and to try out my newly purchased "Strathmore Toned Gray paper", I decided to do few eye studies on this paper.

The pencils I have used are very soft Camlin Charcoal pencil, and Cretacolour white pastel pencil. Since it is a study work I decided to spend not more than forty minutes on each of them. The gray colour of the paper acts as the mid tone value. To view the other tools that I use for my charcoal drawings you can CLICK HERE.


Charcoal drawing of "An Eye" by Manju Panchal, on Strathmore Gray Toned paper

Charcoal drawing of "An Eye" by Manju Panchal, on Strathmore Gray Toned paper


Two Charcoal drawings of 
An Eye Study
on Strathmore Gray Toned paper

The Strathmore toned paper has a very smooth surface and yet has a little texture which helps the charcoal and pastel to fix on it well. I enjoyed working on this paper. Whenever I buy a new paper I start off with a few study works because it helps me know the feel of it. I try out all my pencils and other related tools to understand what works best on it. 

After having worked with different papers I have come to one very significant conclusion, ie every paper has a different texture and feel and a pencil which may have worked very good on a different paper may now always work on the new one as well. Therefore it is best to read and research through the net and listen to the advise of other artists BUT when it comes to actually using a pencil on a paper, the safest way is to try it out.

A new paper or a new set of colours is always an exciting experience for any artist. These days I do a bit of study myself on the net before going ahead to buy new art stationery. I have already tried Canson MT for similar works and it is very good. However I read a lot of positive reviews about Strathmore paper and fortunately it is available in Art Lounge or it can also be ordered online through Amazon India.

If you wish to purchase any of my original art or Commision a painting, contact me on my e mail id and I shall get back to you as soon as possible.

Thanks to all the viewers who have been consistently browsing through my artworks. 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

A Figurative Charcoal drawing from the past

"As a child I drew like Raphael but it has taken a lifetime for me to draw like a child." 
Pablo Picasso

I have been organising my paintings lately and while doing so came across some of my old artworks created in charcoal medium. When I first began using this medium, I had limited tools, namely charcoal powder and a charcoal pencil named AMBASSADOR. Using these two mark making tools and a set of beautiful tortillons I went on to create many charcoal artworks.

Today I am posting one of the old works, which needed little touch up. It is a charcoal drawing inspired by the loving relationship between father and son. It is the time spent with the children that creates beautiful memories.


Moment of Joy
Charcoal drawing on paper
Size 8" X 10"

I have titled the above painting as "Moment of Joy" because this image conveys a feeling which probably we have all gone through while we were growing up. It evokes our childhood memories and we try to recollect what it was like to be out with parents and the precious moments that we spent with them. Time moves ahead and we are left with these beautiful memories.

I have been juggling between the charcoal and the soft pastel medium. Both are dry mediums and being self taught, I have experimented and explored both and come up with my own way of handling it. As we continuously work with a medium, we develop a mark making technique that keeps evolving with time. The way I create each stroke be it in charcoal or pastel, now defines my works. 

Portrait and figurative works have always appealed to me and I am glad that I am finally making a serious attempt at restarting it. So my paintings now will be inspired by "People and Places". I will continue my landscape painting as well.

Thanks for browsing through my works.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Annual sale at Art Lounge, Art Stationery shop at Churchgate, Mumbai

"Painting is by nature a luminous language." Robert Delaunay

Art lounge is an art stationery store at Churchgate, Mumbai and they are currently having their Annual sale which ends on 16th of April, 2017. I went there couple of days back to buy my soft pastel and charcoal products. Since they have their sale catalog online it helped me to shortlist the products.

I am listing a few things that I purchased this year. Until last year I was working more on black coloured Canson MT paper. But my recent landscapes on twilight shade turned out equally good. Therefore I added a few sheets of mid tone Canson MT sheets.

My final list of products that I purchased are as follows

  • A few Canson Mi Teintes sheets. ( Mostly mid tone colours )
  • General Charcoal and General white pastel pencil.
  • Few Kohinoor Toison Dor pastel pencils
  • Kneaded erasers
  • Kohinoor graphite pencils
  • Canson Bristol XL sheets ( Purchased this to try out my graphite works )
Cabson bristol xl paper












  • Strathmore Toned Gray ( Pad of 50 sheets ) I have used the Strathmore black paper and loved it a lot for my portrait works. Therefore decided to buy this one to try out my charcoal and pastel portraits on it.
Strathmore Toned Gray papers ( 50 sheets )












As with any other artist, I already have a big collection of papers, pencils, brushes and other products at home. Therefore I did not have to purchase as much as I did in the previous years. 

I am excited about the two new papers that I have purchased namely Strathmore and Canson Bristol. I have read a lot of good reviews about them so am confident that it will all work out good.

Apart from Art Lounge, the other Stationery stores that I frequently visit are Himalaya Stationery Mart  and Art Station. 

Friday, 31 March 2017

Charcoal drawing on Fabriano Artistico hot pressed paper

"One must keep right on drawing; draw with your eyes if you cannot draw with a pencil."
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

A very thought provoking and inspiring quote. No matter how much I paint but time and again I come back to my drawing, be it in charcoal or graphite medium.

Recently I purchased a sheet of Fabriano Artistico hot pressed water colour paper with an intention of experimenting with charcoal medium on its smooth textured surface. I finally inaugurated this paper by creating a landscape drawing from a scene that I came across while I was taking a morning walk at Coorg. This pathway is leading to one of the Coffee Plantations belonging to some Native of Coorg.

The place is beautiful, weather is very pleasant, the land is very fertile and the greenery is awesome. I have been to Coorg on five different occasions, hence you will find many of my artworks which have been inspired by the beauty of Coorg, also known as Madikeri.

Charcoal drawing of a landscape from Coorg By Manju Panchal

A pathway to Coffee Plantations
Charcoal drawing on Fabriano Artistico paper
Size 6" X 8"

Charcoal drawing of a landscape from Coorg By Manju Panchal

The initial stage of the charcoal drawing
where in I have used charcoal powder
and charcoal pencil

I have used Fabriano Artistico paper for the first time to create a charcoal drawing. It is a water colour paper and I may try it out for water colour painting too. Talking about my experience and review of this paper with respect to charcoal medium, I feel it is absolutely great. It has very fine smooth grainy texture and the charcoal gets fixed on it pretty well.I will definitely be using it again for my future drawings too. 

I created a post some time back where in I wrote in detail about the "Papers" and "Tools" that I use for charcoal drawing and sketching. Times change and over a period of time I have added new tools, new papers in my art stationery collection. I love to experiment and explore in an attempt to find something different and better. It is an ongoing process of learning and experiencing the unknown. 

Thanks a lot for browsing through my works and I am grateful to all the viewers who have been constantly supporting my art and my techniques.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Charcoal study - Using willow charcoal and charcoal pencil

"The day is an empty canvas, the shapes and colours are yours to choose." Alex Noble

A value study is a great way to prepare for the final painting. It helps me understand the subject better and enables me to pay attention to the focal element. As a routine I almost always prepare a value study using either a graphite or charcoal medium.

When it comes to charcoal medium, I love using the willow charcoal as it helps cover a large area in a short time and with a little touch up with charcoal pencil the drawing gets completed.

Posted below is a recent charcoal study work that I created using one of my holiday photographs from Coorg. It is a muddy pathway going uphill towards one of the private Coffee Plantations. I loved the scene as it had distant trees and a great composition for a landscape painting. I shall some day create a soft pastel painting referring to this value study.


Going uphill
Charcoal drawing on Fabriano Academia 120gsm paper
Size 6" X 8"



On my Table Top Easel,
The initial stages using willow charcoal.

I enjoyed doing this quick study in which I used willow charcoal in the beginning to block in the values and later used my charcoal pencil to get the foliage, rock, soil textures etc. Small study works, I feel are a good way to get the feel of the subject before starting a final coloured painting on the same subject.

To view some more of my charcoal study works CLICK HERE.

If you wish to attend my art workshop or wish to purchase one of my artworks please contact me and I shall get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank you for browsing through my artworks.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Step by step - Soft pastel painting of a landscape.

"It doesn't matter how paint is put on, as long as something is said." Jackson pollock

I paint some part of nature, something that appeals to me. Being there made me happy so I feel that connection and through my paintings I want to convey that happiness and appreciation of the beauty of nature. The soft pastel painting as below is a simple scene that I came across while on a morning visit to Karnala Bird Sanctuary

In the shadows, flowing through the rocks, a little stream of water, the dappled sunlight, falling across at places, bringing in the sudden glow. It is such a delight when I come across some simple beautiful scenes in nature. It is a little world in itself. The quiet serene atmosphere relaxes you and you learn to appreciate and admire nature a little more. 

An original soft pastel painting of a scene from Karnala Bird Sanctuary by Manju Panchal

Capturing the morning light
Soft pastel painting on canson MT
Size 7" X 10"

Given below are the images of the steps involved in creating the painting. I follow a simple step by step technique to complete my artwork. 

Step 2 . Soft pastel painting of a scene from Karnala Bird Sanctuary

Step 1. Creating the basic outline of the elements keeping in
mind the perspective


Step 2. Simplifying the shapes and adding colours

Step 3 . Soft pastel painting of a scene from Karnala Bird Sanctuary

Step 3. Adding colours keeping in mind the values.
The details happen at the final stage just 
before completion.

Every painting that I create has its own challenges. In this particular work I had to create the tall grasses in different shades, also keeping in mind the highlight on some of them due to the sunlight filtering through the foliage on the left side. However these little challenges make me learn a little more than what I already know and I enjoy these little learning experiences. 

I have also got into charcoal study works lately and will post one of my recent works soon.

Thank you very much for browsing through my works. 
I am also posting my works on INSTAGRAM on a regular basis.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary - A soft pastel painting

"There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun." Pablo Picasso

Blessed with enchanting beauty, Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh is built on and around five hills. Eight kilometres from here, is a beautiful wildlife sanctuary, the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary which is covered with thick forests of pine and deodhar trees. The undergrowth in the forest is well developed and the view all around is mesmerising. The forest has well laid out trekking trails for those who are the adventurous kind. I was more interested in walking around and soaking in the beauty of the surroundings.

The soft pastel painting of one of the scenes that captured my heart is as below. I have also added images of the step by step technique that I followed before I reached the final stage.  

Soft pastel painting of Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary by Manju Panchal

Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary
Soft pastel painting on Canson MT paper
Size 6" X 8"

Step 1 Soft pastel painting of Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary by Manju Panchal

Step 1. Basic outline and adding a few colours

Step 2  Soft pastel painting of Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary by Manju Panchal

Step 2. Simplifying the shapes keeping in mind the perspective

Step 3 Soft pastel painting of Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary by Manju Panchal

Step 3. Almost all the colours are laid down and only
detailing left for the final stage.

To know more about the papers that I use for my pastel artworks you can CLICK HERE.  I have not created a post on the pastel brands that I use, but plan to do so very soon. I have a miscellaneous collection that I purchased over the past five years. By now I know the individual shades of each brand that I use the most and hence I have created a palette where in I organise all my pastels together ie a mix of different brands. The turquoise blue that I use in ocean is not available in the Koh-I-Noor Toison Dor and similarly the violet shade which is predominant in most of my works is a part of Mungyo collection. In conclusion, every brand has its own value and I enjoy using them together as it works well with my artworks.

Thanks a lot for browsing through my artworks.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Key Monastery - Spiti valley

"Connecting shapes is most important, after that comes the tonal values. Colour comes last."
Joseph Zbukvic ( Australian water colour artist )

The above quote by Joseph Zbukvic is so very true. Watching his works is like magic unfolding before your eyes. Zbukvic creates absolutely amazing water colour paintings and its a pleasure always to go through his works.

When I visited Spiti Valley about three years ago, I got an opportunity to visit two beautiful Buddhist monastries, namely Dhankar Monastery and Key Monastery. I created a soft pastel painting of Dhankar Monastery in May last year. Key Monastery was on mind too, however it never really happened but the visual image of the scene was indelibly printed in my memory. I finally took the decision to paint this beautiful scene using my water colour palette.

Key Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 13668 ft above sea level, close to the Spiti river, in Spiti valley, Himachal Pradesh. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for llamas. It is believed to be at least a thousand years old. Courtesy : Wikipedia

It is a heavenly experience to be at a place like this away from the hustle bustle of the city life. Some days when I am free and not painting I simply go through all the photographs taken while on my trip to Spiti Valley. It refreshes the mind with beautiful memories and momentarily you seem to escape to a different world altogether.

water colour painting of Key Monastery in Spiti Valley by Manju Panchal

Key Monastery
Water colour painting on hand made paper
Size 7" X 10"

I truly enjoyed creating this painting in water colour medium and have plans to do a few more soon.

Keep browsing and do look through my INSTAGRAM account too where in I have recently started uploading the images of my works.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Water colour painting - On the way to Ladakh

"Watercolour will paint itself; if you let it." Joseph Zbukvic 
( An Australian watercolour artist )

Joseph Zbukvic's water colour paintings are stunning and he is a big inspiration to all those who love to paint in water colour medium.

I am a lot into soft pastels and charcoal medium, however I love water colour medium too. So every once in a way I take out a little time for my water colour passion. Therefore I decided to take a break and removed my palette which has Camlin Artists water colour tubes and got started with a painting which has been on my mind since long. Its a scene with snow covered mountains as seen on the way to Ladakh. I must have mentally painted this picture in my mind quite a number of times and it has been on my "To do" list since long.

The paper that I have tried for this work is PETALS artists handmade paper which I purchased recently. I love this paper as it is pure white in colour and has a rough surface which is ideal for landscape paintings. Moreover it is very reasonably priced.

Water colour painting of a scene from "Journey to Ladakh"

Journey to Ladakh
Water colour painting on hand made paper
Size 7" X 10"

Posted below is the image of my work in progress and the photo reference can be seen next to the palette. The photograph has been provided to me by a close friend who visited this heavenly place recently. 

Preparing for water colour painting of a scene on the way to Ladakh

Painting in progress, palette, water containers,
few brushes and reference photograph

From Pastels to water colour painting. A change of medium refreshes my mind. After having created this work, I am tempted to do another one. The next work would definitely be of "Key Monastery", yet another beautiful place on the way to Kaza in Spiti valley. I have already done a tonal value study work of Key Monastery using graphite pencil some time back and it is one of the most memorable visits during my Spiti Valley tour. 

Thanks for browsing through my works. 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Step by step drawing and painting - A seashore

"When you start a painting, it is somewhat outside you. At the conclusion, you seem to move inside the painting." Fernando Botero

Painting to me is a vision, a thought process, an idea that develops in the mind and then takes shape on a piece of paper. I paint a scene from nature, inspired by its beauty.

The scene below is from Bamboo island, five kiloimetres off the northern tip of Koh Phi Phi Don, in the Krabi province of Thailand. The island has stunning beaches with beautiful rocks, white sand and limestone cliffs behind. In the painting below the beach is covered by the shadows cast by the tall cliffs behind. The source of light ie the sun is behind the cliffs and the beach is on the west side of the island.

I decided on this scene as it gave me the opportunity to work on perspective, rocks and waves hitting the shore. Moreover this scene has a very interesting design and composition.

Soft pastel painting of a scene from Bamboo island by Manju Panchal

Reaching the destination
Soft pastel painting on Canson MT paper
Size 6" X 8"

I titled the painting as "Reaching the destination" with reference to the beautiful waves which travel a long distance and finally reach the shore. It is a beautiful feeling to be at a place like this and to hear the sound of the waves splashing against the rocks, and then gently kissing the white sand and merging with the land.

The soft pastel painting on twilight Canson MT progressed in stages and the step by step images can be seen below. Its a small sized painting so I did not use my Easel. My table is my workplace.

Steps involved in creating a soft pastel painting of a seashore

Step 1. Creating the basic outline
using Camlin charcoal pencil.

Steps involved in creating a soft pastel painting of a seashore

Step 2. Blocking in the major shapes with respective colours
 keeping in mind the values. Using the soft pastels
from mixed brands.

Steps involved in creating a soft pastel painting of a seashore

Step 3. Adding details and final touch up.
At this stage I use pastel pencils at several places.

Of late I have started uploading my works on INSTAGRAM and I find it very convenient to do so as most of the paintings are photographed and edited on ipad itself. I am beginning to like Instagram as it helps one to browse through all my works in a Gallery format. 

My Blog has completed a little more than three years and it has recently crossed  50,000 page views. It makes me happy, although having more page views was never the "Goal" when I started blogging. Blogging happened, because I wanted to keep myself focused in my artwork and grow as an artist. It also provided me with a virtual workplace where I could upload and maintain a record of my artworks. It has been a beautiful journey and I shall write a detailed post on my "Art Blogging" soon. 

Thanks to everyone who has been part of this journey and I truly appreciate the support provided by all of you. 

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The woods - A soft pastel painting

"Design is like gravity - the force that holds it all together." E A Whitney

Some time back I posted a few plein air studies that I recently did while I was at Karnala Bird Sanctuary. Referring to the sketch and the photograph, I created the soft pastel painting as below.

The pathway lined with rocks and tall trees on either sides provides ample shade to everyone who walks here. The mystery and silence of the woods is captivating. Time stands still. When I am there, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, I feel like I am in another world and I just want to be there soaking in the beauty of the surroundings. Painting a scene like these is like capturing these beautiful moments on paper.

An original soft pastel painting of a scene from Karnala Bird Sanctuary by Manju Panchal

The woods
Soft pastel painting on Canson MT paper
Size 6.25 X 8.25"

An intricate forest scene always appeals to me as a subject for painting. The shades of green are intimidating and every time I do a scene like this one, I make a few mistakes and these mistakes make me learn a little more about colours, colour mixing etc.

I am enjoying my pastel journey and am looking forward to creating many more such interesting landscapes which take me back in time, and remind me of all the beautiful moments that I spent in nature in solace.

The quotation that I mentioned in the post today is a very interesting one. It speaks for what I believe in. Design and composition is the key to a good painting. It is like a strong force that binds all the elements together and keeps them in harmony. I spend a great deal of time in selecting a good composition for my painting, and then I work on the values and colours.

Thanks for browsing through my works.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Charcoal drawing of a tree

"Inspiration does exist but it must find you working." Pablo Picasso

I love painting trees and am fascinated by them as a subject. I came across these beautiful lines on significance of trees and am sharing them with you. ( Courtesy: http://www.ancient-wisdom.com/treelore.htm )

Trees are symbols of physical and spiritual nourishment, transformation and liberation, sustenance, spiritual growth and fertility.The world-tree is described in the Upanishads "a tree eternally existing, its roots aloft, its branches spreading below."

Today I am posting a charcoal drawing of a beautiful tree that I came across on the banks of Kaveri river, at Dubare forest near Coorg. I recently posted another "Tree painting" from the same region.This charcoal drawing was created as a demo during a recent art workshop. It is not always possible to do a complete detailed work during a workshop, hence I spent a little extra time adding on a few marks here and there to get to get the look that I desired.

Charcoal drawing of tree as seen on the banks of Kaveri river at Dubare forest

The Eternal
Charcoal drawing on Cartridge sheet
Size 12"X 16"

For most of my demo works in charcoal medium I use willow charcoal during the initial layering of the shape as it helps in covering  up the basic mid tone value. Later I analyse and evaluate the work and then proceed with charcoal powder and pencil to get the darker tones. To create the highlights I use the kneaded eraser. 

CLICK HERE to know about the charcoal tools that I use for my charcoal drawings. I have also posted about my favorite papers that use for the charcoal medium.

Thanks for browsing through my works and would love to know what papers do you use for your charcoal works? Do leave in your comments.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Soft Pastel Palette - Cleaning and organising it.

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together." Vincent Van Gogh

My soft pastel needs cleaning and organising from time to time. With time it gathers dust and some pastel colours as it rubs against the neighboring pastels. This makes It difficult to identify each individual shade.

On earlier occasions I used rice in an old jar to shuffle the dusty pastels and they would come sparkling clean. Click here to watch my earlier post of 2014.This time I decided to use Semolina or finely ground wheat, to execute this process. To my surprise it worked pretty well. So after the clean up I organised them neatly into four different trays segregating the blues, greens, browns and the rest of the colours.

Posting few images below.

pastel palette cleaned up and organised

The Blues and the Greens
in two small cardboard boxes.

Soft pastel palette cleaned up and organised

The very light shades and warm colours put together.
And the browns and violets put separately in another flat box.

Cleaning of soft pastels in a jar of semolina by Manju Panchal

The jar of Semolina in which I drop in the
Broken pastels for a clean up.

Now my soft pastels are finally cleaned up and are set up in four different boxes in a pretty much organised manner. Previous to this arrangement I was managing with ONE TRAY and later on it shifted to THREE TRAYS of pastels. The size of the palette keeps on increasing with time. I guess it happens with all the artists. 

The different brands of pastels that I have put together are MUNGYO, GALLERY, CAMLIN and KOH-I-NOOR TOISON DOR. By placing them together in a palette it is so much more convenient at my work place rather than opening up all the different boxes individually. This arrangement is working good for me, however I have plans to add a few more brands of pastels later in my collection.

What brands of pastels do you use for your artworks? Do share your views by writing down your comments. You can also view my works now on INSTAGRAM where I have started posting on a regular basis.

Thanks for browsing and all your support.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Kata beach Phuket - A soft pastel painting

"I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living." 
Robert Henri

I am sharing a poem that I came across recently and it speaks for all those who love, appreciate and value nature. ( Courtesy : POEMHUNTER )

In thy nature is beauty
In thy nature is Earth
In thy nature I find my worth

In thy nature is peace
In thy nature I find myself
In thy nature ever lasting greens

In thy nature there is more to be seen
In thy nature a beauty untold
In thy nature everything is worth more than gold

By Stephanie McGrath 

The soft pastel painting below is of a scene at Kata beach, Phuket. ( A rain forested, mountainous island in Thaland ).  Most of the beaches on the island are just amazing. This particular beach had these beautiful rocks on one side with a few trees in the background. The distant hills were a hazy mix of blues and greens. It was fun painting this scene. The sunlight that touched the surface of sea waves created lovely sparkles.

Soft pastel painting of Kata beach in Phuket by Manju Panchal

The Kata beach ( Phuket )
Soft pastel painting on Canson Mi Teintes paper
Size 7" X 9"

When sunlight falls on simple objects of nature it helps reveal its form, shape and the colours. With the changing light changes the shadows and colours. This light and shadow play in nature fascinates me and continues to be a source of inspiration to paint more.

I am painting since very long but started blogging in 2014. It has been a great experience and more than creating the art itself I am loving this journey which is helping me to get in touch with a lot many art enthusiasts. I have also recently started uploading my works on INSTAGRAM so if you like my works please follow and share. 

Thanks for browsing through my works and please leave your comments to let me know what you feel about them.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Mountain view at Matheran

"I would rather die of passion than of boredom." Vincent Van Gogh

Matheran is a very small hill station about 90 kms from Mumbai, in Raigad district of Maharashtra. It is located on the range of Western Ghats at a height of 800 m above sea level. It has been declared an Eco Sensitive Zone by the Government of India and being a vehicle free zone one gets to walk a lot in the laps of mother nature. Apart from dense forest, we get to see beautiful views of mountains and plateaus.

There are 38 designated points in Matheran from where one gets to see breathtaking views of the distant Ghats. To reach each point, it takes roughly forty to forty five minutes of walking through the red muddy pathways. 

I decided to paint this particular scene because it looked very beautiful, had great composition with distant hills and the warm mountains in the foreground. I got to use some of my earthen shades of pastels. There is so much to observe, so much to learn about the colours, the atmospheric perspective, the way landscape transforms with the change of the temperature. 

A soft pastel painting of Matheran Landscape by Manju Panchal

Mountain view
Soft pastel painting on Canson MT
Size 5"X 7"

I have visited Matheran a lot many times and have a great collection of photographs and sketches. Some of them are pretty complicated with dense forest, shrubs, grasses and sunlight perforating through the foliage and it needs a little analyzing and understanding before I set off to start them, but eventually I plan to do each and every one of them. One step at a time. 

I love painting and try doing some work on a daily basis. I can never get bored of my art, however when I do a particular medium for a very long time it does lead to a little saturation. At such times I get into my charcoal and other mediums which refreshes my mind instantly.

Through my blog I get to share my thought process in creating each work, my techniques, my experimenting and exploring and it is fun connecting with so many artists around the world. 

Thanks for all your support and do leave a comment so that I may know what you feel about my works.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

A Tree

"Drawing is not the form, it is the way of seeing a form." Edgar Degas

Trees mean a lot to me. I love painting them. To me a "Tree" is a symbol of "Beauty, Strength, Endurance, Stability, and Wisdom".

I came across this beautiful old tree with exposed roots, anchored beautifully in the soil at Dubare forest on the banks of Kaveri river ( Near Coorg ). Since I had already created the study work of this tree on a small black Canson MT paper, it did not take me long to recreate this on a bigger paper.

Dubare forest, in Karnataka is known for its elephant camp and the area is a host to beautiful archaic deciduous trees. I did not have time to do any kind of Plein air sketching or drawing but I did manage to photograph many such trees. In the scene as below, there were other trees and bushes in the background, however I decided to keep it simple as I wanted the tree to be in focus.

Soft pastel drawing of a tree on Canson Mi Teintes paper by Indian artist Manju Panchal

Perennial
Soft pastel painting on Canson Mi Teintes paper
Size 6.5" X 9.5"

My works can be seen on my FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM page too. Thank you for browsing through my works.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The light and shadow in a landscape - Soft pastel drawing

"If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all."
Michelangelo

The quotation as above says it all. Hard work and passion play a very significant role in achieving what one has in mind.

The early morning rays totally transform the landscape. One moment it is enveloped in darkness and then miraculously when the morning rays gently fall all around, the scene comes alive. The light and shadow play and its effects on the landscape continue to fascinate me and I constantly look out for such "Subjects" so that I can paint them and create a memory.

Posted below is one such beautiful scene that I came across while I was at Karnala Bird Sanctuary in the early morning hours. I have yet again used my "Soft Pastel"medium to create this original art. 

Soft pastel painting of a scene from Karnala Bird Sanctuary by Manju Panchal

The Morning Shadows
Soft pastel painting on Canson Mi Teintes paper
Size 6.5" X 8.5"

For this painting I have used the "Twilight" shade of Canson MT and I am pretty happy with it. Next I am working on a beautiful seashore painting referring to my study sketch and photograph from Phuket island. 

Thanks for all your support and keep browsing.