Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Pattaya beach - A water colour painting

"The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any consideration." Friday Kahlo

I was browsing through my "Photo collection" some time back, when I came across an old photograph clicked at Pattaya beach in 2008. The beach had some tree foliage drooping on the shore from the left casting some beautiful shadows on the sand below. There were few other elements too on the beach, however I decided not to include them as I felt that they would distract the composition. I also added a few figures in the distance using my rigger brush.

This is my fourth small painting on Fabriano Artistico CP paper and more or less I am pretty convinced about using it in future too.


The shadows at the beach
Water colour painting on Fabriano Artistico CP paper
Size 5" X 7"

Every artist has his preferred choice of paper. Arches CP paper is used by many of them including Joseph Zbukvik. Selecting the paper is an individual choice. Over a period of time, I got carried away by reviews written by other artists and landed up buying many different papers. It's only when I actually started working with them, I realised that it is not necessary that what works for another person will work for you too.

In conclusion, I am taking my time to create works on all the different papers that I have presently with me, so that I can finally take a decision regarding the paper that makes me most comfortable working with it. In other words, I would love to settle for a paper on which I struggle the least to get the desired result that I am looking for.

Thank you for visiting my blog

Monday, 24 July 2017

Charcoal drawing - A scene from Phi Phi Don

"Never let what you cannot do interfere with what you CAN do." John Wooden

Painting in any medium for a very long time can sometimes lead to saturation. A little change is all that is required to freshen up the mind.Therefore I have decided to create a few study works of the "Painting subjects" using willow charcoal and charcoal pencil. Creating a charcoal study does not take much time and moreover I require just a few tools at my workplace.

The landscape scene that I selected for my first charcoal study work is a beautiful early morning view as seen from Phi Phi Don. It was low tide, and the ocean water had current but some low lying water near the shore captured the reflections of the distant mountains. While creating this charcoal drawing I simplified the shapes so as to get a good composition.


A charcoal drawing of a scene from Phi Phi Don on Cartridge paper by Manju Panchal

At Phi Phi Don
Charcoal study work
Size 5" X 7"

I experimented a lot with willow charcoal last year and it works pretty good in combination with charcoal pencils. CLICK HERE to view some landscape works in the past which were mainly done using willow charcoal. 

willow charcoal

Willow charcoal

After creating this charcoal study work I am pretty excited. So the plan now is to do water colour paintings as well as charcoal studies of certain landscapes as and when required. This change in the daily painting routine will also give me an opportunity to explore the charcoal medium further.

Thank you all for visiting my blog and browsing through my artworks. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Painting a beach scene in water colour medium

"You only fail when you stop trying." Albert Einstein. A very meaningful quote by Einstein.

When I paint, I just paint. I do not think about failure or success. To me the journey of painting is more important rather than the final outcome. It's a day today routine. To paint, to try out something new. If it does not work, then I plan out an alternate technique to get the desired result. End of the day it makes me happy that I tried out rather than just sitting over it.

Given below is a Simple beach composition which I tried out on Arto Campap watercolour paper using the water colour medium. I created this work using one of my photographs from Langkawi, Malaysia.

I am quite happy with this paper but unless I create a few more works I will really not be convinced about using it for long term in the future. So the plan is to keep on painting different subjects to understand more about the different features of the paper and get accustomed to it. I am also in the process of checking out the Fabriano Artistico Cold pressed paper which


water colour painting of a seashore on Campap paper by Manju Panchal

Morning at the beach
Water colour painting on Arto Campap paper
Size 5" X 7"

"Seashore" as a subject appeals to me a lot and I don't think I will ever get tired or bored of painting beaches. CLICK HERE to view one of my favourite beaches that I have painted in the soft pastel medium. I will get back to soft pastels but after a little while. As of now I want to continue my water colour painting adventure.

I post my paintings on INSTAGRAM and if you like my paintings please follow and share.

Thank you for all your support.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Rocks and pebbles at the beach - A water colour painting

"The only source of knowledge is experience." Albert Einstein

In my last post I mentioned about my newly purchased Arto Campap Cold Pressed paper ( 300 gsm ). I created a small water colour study of "Rocks" on it. I have been photographing close up of rocks since very long but never really got into creating an artwork referring to it. Rocks make an interesting subject to paint as it helps understanding the shape, shadow and textures on its surface.

I kept my water colour palette limited to just three colours, namely burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and paynes grey. Burnt sienna and ultramarine blue when mixed in different proportions create beautiful shades of grey. In fact these two are the maximum used colours in my palette.

Working on textures was lot of fun, though I need to improvise on it. In all this was a quick experimental work and it was an exciting experience. I am waiting to create some more works where in I will get to work on rocks.

An original water colour painting of rocks on Arto Campap CP paper by Manju Panchal

Rocks and pebbles
Water colour painting on Arto Campap CP paper
Size 3.5" X 4"

In the past I have created charcoal drawing of "Rocks under the water" using my charcoal tools
I do get tempted to pick up my charcoal tools once again and I will do that eventually, however for now I want to spend some more time working with water colour medium.

Thank you all for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Selecting the right water colour paper

"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop." Confucius

While browsing through Winsor and Newton official site, I came across some interesting facts put together in a very simple language regarding selecting the right water colour surface for water colour paintings. I am sharing these on the blog for all water colour enthusiasts.

1. ABSORBENCY

An ideal amount of absorbency allows the colour to sit on the surface of the paper rather than sink into the paper itself. The right amount of absorbency facilitates the reflection of the maximum amount of light, making the colours of your artwork all the more vivid.

2. COLOUR

White papers produce the brightest images whilst coloured papers are used for opaque or juxtaposition techniques.

3. STABILITY

To ensure that your work will stand the test of time, you will need a stable surface upon which to work. Long term stability comes from papers being acid free.

( COURTESY: www.winsornewton.com )

After exploring a wide variety of papers in the past few months, the one paper that I have definitely liked is CAMPAP. I have managed to create a few good paintings on its surface and am pretty satisfied with the effects too. However what I presently have is the 200 gsm version. Therefore I went ahead and ordered ARTO CAMPAP 300 gsm cold pressed paper from Amazon.in.


Arto Campap watercolour paper CP 300 gsm

The paper is pure white in colour and has textured surface on both the sides. I created a brushstroke on small test piece sized 1" X 4" on both sides and the images of the close up of the paper is as below.


The textured surface on Arto Campap cold pressed water colour paper

Textured surface on one side
of Campap 300 gsm CP paper

The textured surface on Arto Campap cold pressed water colour paper

Textured surface on the other side
of Campap 300 gsm CP paper

Many artists say that either side of the paper can be used. Its a personal experience and choice. Looking at the textures as above I would personally prefer the lower one which is more smooth as compared to the top one. 

If you are into water colour paintings I would love to know which is your favorite water colour paper and why?. Do leave your reply in the comment section and I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for visiting my blog. If you like my works please share.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A water colour painting of a view at Pangong Lake, Ladakh

"The only way to deep happiness is to do something you love to the best of your ability." 
Richard Feynman

Yestersday I watched a documentary on Richard Feynman, an American Theoretical Physicist and was very inspired by his life, works and philosophy. I went through some of his quotes and have posted one of my favorites to share it with all of you.

Today I am posting my third water colour study on Fabriano Artistico CP paper. I am beginning to like this paper. The subject that I have chosen is yet another beautiful view at Pangong Lake in Ladakh. At 14,270 ft above sea level, it is a stunning lake in the Himalayas and offers some great views for artists, photographs and nature lovers.

I worked a little slow on this painting and was more patient with the colour mixing, especially of the distant dry barren mountains. For the ocean I have used ultramarine blue from Camlin and Cerulean blue colour from Winsor and Newton Cotman series. I purchased the Cotman series quite some time back and now am putting it to use as some colours have started drying up.

A water colour painting of Pangong Lake by Manju Panchal

At Pangong Lake, Ladakh
A water colour painting on Fabriano Artistico CP paper
Size 5" X 7"

I am also posting the initial stage of this painting where in I have just completed the first layer of colours for the background and the lake. For this particular painting, I tried to keep the painting procedure very simple. I finished the lake in one layer itself.

Initial stage of painting Pangong Lake, Ladakh on Fabriano paper

Initial stage of the painting
At Pangong Lake

Thank you for browsing through my works.

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Gulfoss Water Fall , Iceland

"A man paints with his brains and not with his hands." Michelangelo

My today's post is a small water colour study inspired by Gulfoss waterfall. I have used a reference photograph taken by my husband while he was in Iceland. It is my second water colour study on Fabriano CP 300 gsm paper. 

Painting a waterfall, unlike seashore and other subjects, is a tricky affair. The brushstrokes have to be in the direction of the flow to suggest movement. This was a new subject for me, however I gave it a try. After completing it I did a little self evaluation and came to a conclusion that if I were to try a "Waterfall" again I would go in for a few changes in my techniques. 

Trying out different subjects in any medium is fun. Some subjects can be more challenging than the others, however it is a fun learning process and I am enjoying every moment of it.

A water colour painting of Gulfoss waterfall on Fabriano Artistico paper

Gulfoss waterfall
Water colour painting on Fabriano CP paper
Size 5"X 7"

In this painting apart from using my normal Camlin water colour tubes, I have made use of my Winsor and Newton palette as the Cerulean blue shade in Winsor and Newton is very vibrant and beautiful.

Thank you all for taking out time to browse through my artworks.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Trying out Fabriano Artistico 300 gsm Cold Pressed Paper

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary." Pablo Picasso

As I mentioned in my last post that I am in the process of trying out different water colour papers available to me. One of the last papers on my list was Fabriano CP paper. So I finally tried out a painting on Fabriano cold pressed water colour paper. The water colour painting as below is a quick study work of Pangong Lake in Ladakh. 

I have not yet been to this heavenly place but have used reference photograph provided by a close friend. I am grateful to her and all other friends who keep sending me some great photographs of nature in order that I can continue to stay inspired in my art journey.

Since it was meant to be a study work, I did not really pay much attention to the distant mountains and its shadows. I completed it in a short span of forty minutes or so. In my next painting I will have to be more careful about the anatomy of mountains and perspective which is very important in landscape painting and I struggle with it all the time.

A water colour painting of Pangong Lake in Ladakh

Pangong lake
Water colour study work
Size 5" X 7"

Fabriano Artistico 300 gsm paper is a great paper to work with. It has good water retention capacity and is acid free. I purchased a single big sheet and it is water marked "FABRIANO + ARTISTICO" on its shorter side. I will continue to work on it for some time before making my choice between Arches and Fabriano. Both are used internationally by water colour artists and each artist finally makes a personal choice regarding the selection based on different factors.

What I am looking for in a paper is 
  • It should have good water retention quality
  • It should be acid free
  • It should be a professional quality paper
  • I should be able to life off the colour easily from the paper
  • It should be readily available in nearby stores
So far I have tried out Brustro, Campap, Strathmore, Arches CP, Fabriano studio quality, Fabriano HP and Fabriano CP. After another few paintings I will be able to shortlist either one or two of my favourites which work best for me. In the meantime the exploring and experimenting shall continue.

Thanks for browsing through my blog.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Road to Gurudongmar Lake, North Sikkim - A water colour painting

"You start painting the moment you look at the subject, not with the first brushstroke." 
Joseph Zbukvik

The last stretch of the road that leads to Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim passes through a dry barren landscape and offers breathtaking views. The dark grey road against the pale surroundings, leading to the distant snow covered mountains looks majestic. The beauty of nature cannot be explained in words. We have to be there to see it, feel it and get inspired by it. 

As quoted by Artist Joseph Zbukvik, you start painting a beautiful scene the moment you set eyes on it. This scene appealed to me a lot and that very moment when we were travelling through this beautiful terrain, I had decided to paint it some day. I enjoyed working on this painting and used my newly purchased Paynes grey colour ( Camlin Artists water colour tubes ) for the road.

A water colour painting of road to Gurudongmar Lake, By Manju Panchal

Road to Gurudongmar Lake
Water colour painting on handmade paper
Size 11" X 15"

Posted below is the initial stage of the painting where in I have blocked in the simple basic shapes using diluted colours. Once it is dry, I redo the second layer adding the right values and details where ever necessary.

Initial stage of water colour painting, Road to Gurudongmar Lake

Initial stage of the water colour painting
on hand made paper

As mentioned in my last post I am in the process of trying out Fabriano CP 300gsm paper. I plan to create a few small study works to understand the paper. Later if I like the paper a lot, I shall continue using it for my future works too. 

I conduct art workshops from time to time to teach the basics of different mediums and to share the techniques that I use to create a painting. If you wish to attend one of them you can mail me at 
manjupanchal5@gmail.com and I shall get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank you for browsing through my works. 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Benaulim beach, Goa - A water colour painting

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

Some time back I created a water colour painting of a solitary palm tree at Benaulim beach, Goa. I enjoyed creating that painting and therefore decided to do one more on a similar subject. This time I selected a close up of the tree with its leaves spread out and the sea waves in the background. As I mentioned in my last post, Campap paper is working good with me so I have used it once again for this water colour painting.

While doing the leaves in the painting as below, I worked on "Colour mixing" in order to get the right greens. When it comes to colour mixing, I have realized that no amount of reading helps. It's only when I actually begin a painting and try out various permutations and combinations, that I learn a lot. Theory is great but practice teaches a lot more.

In conclusion, every time I start off a new painting, I keep a test strip of the same paper with me where in I try out different colour combinations that I desire. This step by step approach really helps me a lot. For a warm dark green I combine sap green and burnt sienna. For the rest of the greens I use various options of blues and yellows.

A water colour painting of a tree at Benaulim beach, Goa by Manju Panchal

A Palm tree at the beach
Water colour painting on Campap paper
Size 5.5" X 8"

In the last few months I have been working exclusively in water colour medium and have tried out many different papers. One last paper that I need to work on is "Fabriano Artistico cold pressed water colour paper." I have already worked with the hot pressed version and I loved the paper. However for landscapes I think a little texture will be of great help.

Thanks for visiting my blog and do visit my INSTAGRAM page to browse through my latest works.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Water colour painting of a mountain slope at Yumesamdong ( North Sikkim )

"Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew." Cicely Tyson

In a quest to discover the mystery behind the water and its role in the painting process, I continue pursue my passion experimenting and exploring this beautiful medium.

The water colour painting as below is a beautiful mountain slope covered with dense vegetation. I came across this view while I was on the way to Yumesamdong in North Sikkim at an altitude of 15300 ft. The two to three hours journey from Lachung to Zero Point or Yumesamdong offers stunning views of nature. The journey is as beautiful as the destination.

I have used flat vertical brush strokes to get the desired effect. This was a new and interesting experience for me and I enjoyed working with Campap paper. ( 200 gsm )

Original water colour painting of mountain slopes with dense vegetation at Zero point in North Sikkim

On the way to Yumesamdong ( Zero point )
Water colour painting on Campap paper
Size 5.5" X 8"

I purchased Campap paper a few years ago during some sale at a stationery shop and after using it for a couple of paintings I am beginning to like it. What I like most about this paper is the fact that I can easily lift off colour from the surface using a tissue paper or plain brush. I have placed an order for a 300 gsm Campap paper from Amazon as I want to try out this paper further.

If you are passionate about water colours then you must browse through the works of Alvaro Castagnet, an international water colour artist. His works are very inspiring. When free, I take out time to go through the works of other artists and it helps in lot many ways. Some day I shall write a post on that.

Thank you for browsing through my works and I appreciate your support which drives me to continue my art journey.

Friday, 23 June 2017

A boat at Vaddi beach Goa - Water colour painting

"Painting is the art of discovery and you are constantly enlarging your horizon or finding yourself every time you paint." Romare Bearden

Painting is beautiful phenomenon that helps you rediscover yourself each day as you paint a new subject, learning and exploring new facts. Eventually it helps you grow as an artist.

On the 12th of June I posted a water colour painting similar to the one that I am posting today. The earlier one was created on Arches cold pressed paper, however this time I have tried out another scene from Vaddi beach, South Goa, on Fabriano studio quality water colour paper. Every paper is so different and each one has its own merits and demerits. All of them are good in their own ways and its just that each artist has his/her preferences according to the style and technique that one follows.

This beautiful scene at Vaddi beach with the calm sea in the background and clear sky above served as a great subject for my water colour painting.


A boat at Vaddi beach
Water colour painting on Fabriano studio quality water colour paper
Size 6.25" X 9"

What I am loving about this paper is that the colours remain very vibrant and dark and do not fade out after drying. I purchased a pad of these papers during sale some year, so I am using it now to try to understand its texture and quality.

It is not that every painting that I starts sees the light of the day. At times there are disappointments. The painting gets ruined due to various reasons, the most significant of them being "Impatience". At such times I take to creating small study works or simply browse through the net watching works of other great artists whose work I admire a lot. It motivates me to get started once again. Perseverance, I believe, is the key to finding and reaching your goals.

Thanks once again for browsing through my works.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A water colour study work of A Cloudy sky at the beach

"Watercolour is probably the most satisfying of all mediums. Although difficult in the beginning, after practice its mysteries will unfold, providing the utmost pleasure for the dedicated." Robert Lovett

Water colour painting is getting fun. Painting a little every day is helping me loosen up my style. It is a great learning process. I am moving ahead one step at a time.

The painting below is something that I wanted to try out since long ie a cloudy scene during monsoon in Goa. The landscape in Goa during monsoon is magical.With the onset of rains the sky changes dramatically into different shades of gray and blue. With every new painting, I get to explore a little of colour mixing. For the grays in the sky I have used ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. The three primary colours too mix to give a good gray colour. 

The paper that I have tried out for this painting is Brustro 300 gsm. It is difficult to do wet on wet on this paper as it starts drying up pretty fast, which then leaves hard edges. Therefore for my future works I will have to rethink about this paper as I am more for wet on wet works.

A water colour painting of a cloudy day at the beach by Manju Panchal

Monsoon Magic
Water colour painting on Brustro paper
5.5" X 7.5"

My art is about finding simple beautiful scenes in nature and bringing them to life on paper, to relive the happy moments for ever. Presently I am trying out the seascapes and mountainscapes in water colour medium but later some day I would want to do forest scenes too. Before getting to the forest landscapes I need to get a proper understanding of the "Mixing of greens" which can be very intimidating. I am in no hurry and would love to go slow, one step at a time.

My sincere thanks to all the visitors for browsing through my works.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

A Solitary Palm tree at Benaulim beach, Goa

"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long time ago."
Warren Buffet

A beautiful solitary tree that I came across at Benaulim beach in Goa, motivated me to create the water colour painting as seen below. The tree had its shadow as well as reflection in the water underneath. The tree with its drooping leaves and branches also kind of narrated its survival story. Determined and resolute it stood facing the strong monsoon winds, rooted firmly to the ground. We all need this kind of determination in life at some time or other.

It was fun creating this painting as it was my maiden attempt at painting palm leaves. I used a flat brush and a thin round brush to get the effects that I desired. I also tried my hand once again at a cloudy sky but need little more practice at getting it right. A beach scene gives an opportunity to work on sea waves, sandy seashore and a beautiful sky.

A water colour painting of a palm tree at Benaulim beach, Goa by Manju Panchal

A Solitary Palm tree
Water colour painting on Campap paper
Size 5.5" X 8"

Benaulim beach is located along the South Goa coastline and is not as commercialized as the other beaches. One can enjoy some tranquil moments here in the company of nature. 

My works can also be browsed at my INSTAGRAM page. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Monday, 12 June 2017

A boat at the beach - A water colour painting

"The silence of nature is very real. It surrounds you.......you can feel it." Ted Trueblood

The painting below is a quiet moment spent at Vaddi beach in Goa. The beach with crystal clear waters are led by the fields on either sides of the road which are marvelous during the rains.

We visited this beach during monsoon. It was early in the morning, the sky was bright and clear and we felt good to spend some time watching the sea and the waves. The tides were low and I wondered looking at the boat, as to when it would set out to high seas once again.

I have used Arches cold pressed paper for this water colour painting and am beginning to understand more about its texture and water retaining capacity. Knowing the brushes, paint and the paper helps a lot in creating a painting without any hurdles.

water colour painting of a boat at the beach on Arches cold pressed paper. By Manju Panchal

Boat at the beach
Water colour painting on Arches cold pressed paper
Size 7" X 9"

I am fascinated by the beaches and therefore it is one of my favorite subjects for painting in any medium. Nature in any form inspires me to paint. 

Thanks for browsing through my works.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

The snow capped mountains around Gurudongmar Lake.

"People come and go, the mountains remain. Mountains are permanent things. They are stubborn, they refuse to move." Ruskin Bond

Today I am posting a water colour painting of a scene that I came across when I visited Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim. At an altitude of 17,100 ft above the sea level the snow capped mountains look magnificent against the backdrop of clear azure sky. In fact every view around was picturesque in its own way.

When I painted the Gurudongmar lake, I enjoyed creating the reflections in the water. In this particular painting I tried to get the sand and rocky texture in the foreground plateau. I have used raw sienna, burnt sienna, yellow ochre and ultramarine blue ( Camlin artists water colour tubes ) in the foreground plateau.

water colour painting of snow capped mountains around Gurudongmar lake by Manju Panchal


A view from Gurudongmar Lake
Water colour painting on Fabriano Artistico hot pressed paper
Size 5.5" X 7.5"

For this painting I have used Fabriano Artistico hot pressed paper  which is great but I want to use the cold pressed version next time. So yesterday I managed to buy a sheet for Rs 415/- and am excited to try it out soon. The hot pressed paper will go well for my water colour portrait works as it has a smooth surface.

Presently I want to continue working on few more landscapes and seascapes as I am enjoying experimenting and exploring the water colour medium.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Teesta river flowing down the Yumthang valley

"There is something of the marvelous in all things of nature." Aristotle

When you stand there looking at the creation by nature, it overwhelms you and you begin to appreciate everything around more than ever.

While returning from Zero point ( Yumesamdong )  in North Sikkim, we came across this particular scene with Teesta river flowing down the Yumthang Valley, surrounded by white grey rocks, a sandy patch and greenery in the background. We stopped for a while here and spent few moments soaking in the beauty, then went ahead to click a few photographs.

Teesta river is a 309 km long river flowing through the Indian states of West Bengal and Sikkim, before going to Bay of Bengal through Bangladesh.It carves our from the verdant Himalayas in temperate and tropical river valleys and forms the border between Sikkim and West Bengal.
( Courtesy: Wikipedia )

I wanted to try out this scene in water colour medium and used a small cut out of Strathmore water colour paper ( 4" X 5" ). The river water was beautiful shades of blue and I have used a mix of Winsor and Newton ( Cotman colours ) and Camlin paints for this artwork.


Teesta River
Water colour study work on Strathmore paper
Size 4"X 5"

The rocky path in the foreground is the path through which most vehicles travel. It is a very bumpy ride. There used to be a road earlier which got destroyed in the past earthquake. Many parts of North Sikkim face the same situation, however the final destination is worth the ride.

I enjoyed painting on Strathmore 300 gsm water colour paper. It has good water retaining capacity and the paper does not abosrb the colours much. As a result the colours remain bright with minimum application. I am tempted to create some more works on this paper so as to know my final review in comparison to Arches and Fabriano papers.

Thanks a lot for visiting my blog. If you are into water colour painting, I would love to hear about the papers and colours used by you. Do leave in a comment to share the same.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Plein air water colour painting in my travel sketch book

"I have no talents. I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

One morning at West Sikkim, it rained heavily and the mountains and valleys as seen from the balcony of our homestay, suddenly started disappearing in the mist and clouds. The view was heavenly and I felt the sudden urge to capture the beauty unfolding before my eyes in my sketch book. And I did precisely that. Using my two round brushes and a palette I created my small "Plein air painting". It took me not more than ten minutes to create this small artwork and it felt really good.

Dante Alghieri said "Nature is the art of God." and I believe every word of the quote. I am grateful as an artist to be inspired by nature's beauty which in turn helps me create my art and keeps me busy and happy.

Water colour plein air painting of a scene during monsoon at West Sikkim by Manju Panchal

Monsoon in the valley
Water colour Plein air study work in my sketch book
Size 4" X 5"

When I am travelling I carry with me the following,

Sable hair water colour round brush

Two round sable hair brushes

Small travel sketch book

Small 4" X 5" sketch book
( Cartridge sheets )

Water colour palette with Camlin paints

My water colour palette
with Camlin water colour artist's water colour paints

Carrying a travel kit such as above always helps. I get to paint when there is an opportunity. Moreover the kit is not very bulky and the sketch book has cartridge sheets in it which can also be used for pencil drawings and sketches. These sketch books are easily available these days in stationery shops.

Sketch books are fun. They play a very significant role in learning process. I use them all the time. It has now become a habit. I have a sketch book for every different medium and my collection is growing.

Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and do visit my INSTAGRAM account to browse through my paintings.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Sunrise - A water colour painting

"The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world's joy." 
Henry Ward Beecher

The water colour painting as below is with reference to a scene that I came across on an early morning at Temi Tea Garden, in the south of Sikkim. 

I have used the wet on wet technique on Campap paper. I have this paper in my collection along with many other papers. Now that I am into water colour medium, I am in the process of trying out all the different papers and learning so much about each of them.

Water colour painting of sunrise scene at Temi Tea Garden

Sunrise over the hills
Water colour painting
Size 5" X 7"

Wet on wet technique in water colour painting is a challenging method because it produces highly unpredictable results because there are many factors that matter, like the texture of paper, its weight and the amount of water in the brush etc. However there is something magical about the way colours flow and blend with each other, creating beautiful dramatic effects.

Thank you for visiting my BLOG. My art blog has now crossed 55,000 page views and I am grateful to all the viewers for their support. Blogging has added new life to my art and I now paint more passionately than ever. 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Water colour painting inspired by the white sandy beaches of Florida

"There are no half measures when it comes to watercolours. Watercolour demands constant devotion." Pierre Tougas

Yesterday I completed my second water colour painting on Arches cold pressed paper. I love the beaches and have done a series on them. Be it in Goa, Phi Phi island or Florida, they are all beautiful in their own way.

The 7" X 9" watercolour painting below has been inspired by the beautiful white sandy beaches of Florida. I have painted a lot of them before on hand made paper. Now I am trying out my new works on Arches, Fabriano and other acid free papers. Shifting from one paper to another gets a little tricky as the paper surface, it's water absorbing quality etc is different and hence it takes a little time getting used to it.

In the painting below, I tried to do the sky using wet on wet technique and I had all the steps planned out in the head, but as the paper started drying up it led to a little confusion and then the brush strokes were just spontaneous. Next time probably I will keep the spray bottle by the side to keep the paper wet for a longer time. Like I always say, every painting is a new learning experience and I am always looking forward to painting something new and challenging.

A water colour painting of white sandy beach of Florida, By Manju Panchal

Morning at the shore
Water colour painting on Arches cold pressed paper
Size 7" X 9"

My next painting that I have already worked out in my mind is a beach scene from Goa and also another landscape scene from Sikkim. I also plan to check out the "Fabriano Artistico" hot pressed paper which I recently purchased from the Himalaya Stationery store at Fort.

Thanks for browsing through my works.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Using Arches 300 gsm cold pressed paper

"Master water first and then paint." Josh Goldberg

Gurudongmar Lake is a stunning lake situated at a height of 17100 ft above sea level in north Sikkim.
The lake can be reached by road from Lachen via Thangu. The approach road from Thangu to Gurudongmar passes through a rugged and enchanting terrain with high alpine pastures covered with many rhododendron trees. It is a difficult journey and most tourists leave Lachen early morning by 4 or 5 am as it takes three to four hours to reach the lake. However once the destination is reached it is an unbelievable sight and the beautiful view all around is mesmerising. To me it was like a dream come true.

Before creating any painting, as a rule I always create a few study works which helps me simplify the shapes, understand the values and colours. Creating a study work also helps me to decide on my technique that I would apply in order to create that particular work. Sometimes it is wet on wet and other times I go with wet on dry technique. I have used my newly purchased Arches cold pressed paper for this painting and if everything works out well I may use it as my preferred choice for water colour medium.

Water colour painting of Gurudongmar Lake on Arches cold pressed paper, By Manju Panchal

Gurudongmar lake
Water colour painting on Arches cold pressed paper
Size 7" X 9"

In conclusion, I enjoyed working with Arches cold pressed paper. It has a great textured surface which is ideal for landscape painting and being 300 gsm, it can hold water for long and does not buckle much. I am planning to create a seashore painting next on the same paper. After creating a couple of works on this paper I will be able to understand its quality better.

Thanks for visiting my blog and browsing through my artworks.

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.