Monday, 30 November 2015

The cold barren mountains of Spiti

”Beauty is truth, truth beauty”
—-that is all Ye know on earth,
and all ye need to know. ~John Keats

After having done couple of study works I decided it was time to create my second large sized painting. I selected a scene from Himachal Pradesh as it would give me the opportunity to paint the sky, distant mountains and the curved pathway with rocks strewn around. 

I started with wet on wet technique in the first layer using the transparent colours in the distance. After the first layer had dried up, I added more colours in the middle and foreground using wet on dry technique. For this particular painting I felt it was the right choice. The paper I have used is a non expensive hand made paper. Arches paper is definitely a very good choice and I plan to make a transition soon.


Mountains and snow
Water colour painting on handmade paper
Size 10.5"X 14"

Water colour medium is challenging. An error done cannot be easily rectified. So I am learning
to be more patient. I am enjoying this medium a lot and plan to continue doing some more.
I have started a seascape and will be posting the image when it gets completed.


Saturday, 28 November 2015

Experimenting with more water colour techniques

Apart from soft pastel and charcoal medium, I love to try out water colour medium as and when I get time. Doing small water colour works in my sketch book helps me to try out new techniques.

Given below are four more recent water colour study works of mainly seascapes and a forest . I have used my photographs taken at Goa as a reference. In each of them I experimented a little. In the forest scene I used a little of spray technique for the foliage. In others I tried out the sky differently. In all it was a great learning experience.

I love painting seascapes and one of these days I will create an enlarged detailed version of one of these paintings.

water colour syudy of seascapes and a forest by Manju Panchal

Water colour study works
on cartridge paper

I recently came across a beautiful quote which feels so true and most artists will agree with it.

"Educate the eye before you educate the hand. The hand will become cunning soon enough when the eye has learned to see, whereas if the hand be educated before the eye one may never see."
Carolus Duran

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

New sketch book with cartridge sheets

"One must always draw, draw with the eyes, when one cannot draw with the pencil." Balthus

I recently picked up a sketch book from Art Station, an art stationery shop close to where I stay. It has 4"X 5"cartridge sheets and it seemed perfect for my study works, be it in any medium. To my surprise it worked well for my water colour study sketches. So apart from pencil and charcoal sketches, I am also using it for small water colour paintings.

sketch book for water colour study works

The sketch book 

sketch book for water colour study works

The sketch book with one of my water colour study works

What I love about such sketch books is that 
  • It gives me the freedom to experiment with the medium. 
  • I get to create small landscapes or seascapes selecting subjects which I feel are a little challenging. 
  • I get to try out new techniques. If it does not work it does not bother me because I know I can try something else in the next work. 
  • Each artwork finishes in about 10 to 15 minutes and it gives me a fair idea as to how the bigger painting will look if I were to enlarge the work. 
  • The steps I follow get recorded in my mind like a tape and I can re run it once I am doing the same work on a bigger scale.
  • All my works are stored at one place ie in my sketch book itself so that I can browse it even in future at my convenience.


Given below are some of my recent water colour works done in this sketch book. After completing the work, I also make it a point to make a note underneath regarding something new that I tried on that work be it spray technique for foliage, or a different technique for creating the sky.  

Small water colour study works of landscapes by Manju Panchal

Small water colour landscapes on cartridge paper

When I started with the soft pastel landscapes last year, I had followed a similar approach of getting a better understanding of the medium. I would do these thumbnail sketches on small sized canson paper and later use them as reference to create bigger works. My landscapes can be seen HERE.

Thumbnail sketches of landscapes using soft pastels. By Manju Panchal

Thumbnail sketches of landscapes created using soft pastels

My works can be seen on INSTAGRAM and DEVIANTART.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Road to Spiti - a water colour painting

After having done couple of small water colour landscapes, I finally decided to take a leap and create a bigger painting.

The subject that I chose is a scene from Himachal, with mountains on either side and a road that curved and vanished in the distance. It was also time to test my new Winsor and Newton mop brush , which I had picked up couple of months back in order to create larger washes on the sky. The other brushes that I use are sable hair brushes from Himalaya Stationery.

water colour painting of a landscape from Spiti by Manju Panchal

Road to Spiti
Water colour painting on handmade paper
Size 10.5"X 14"

As an artist it gets difficult to control one's temptation to buy new art stationery. Everytime I visit an art shop I land up buying more than my CHECK LIST items. On one such occasion I had picked up the Winsor and Newton mop brush and a few other sable hair brushes from Himalaya. I had it in mind to use it some day and when I finally used all these brushes for the above painting it made me happy. Happy because I finally put them to use. Given below is the image of the four main brushes used in the above painting.


The brush at the top is mop brush from Winsor and Newton ( I paid Rs 1000/- for this brush and its worth all the money ) and the remaining brushes are manufactured by
Himalaya Stationery.


Monday, 16 November 2015

Experimenting with water colour techniques

Painting with water colour medium is teaching me new lessons everyday. Each day is a new revelation. I am getting more deep into "COLOUR STUDY" as I realise that some colours work and some don't for a particular scene and atmosphere. Then there are transparent and opaque colours, warm and cool colours. Knowledge about these fundamental aspects definitely helps in better painting.

Everytime a painting completes, I evaluate and analyse the artwork looking for areas where I could do a little better next time. Given below are two small study works on hand made paper using camel paints. Both the scenes are from my "TRIP TO HIMACHAL". The scenic beauty of Himachal is unparalleled. Its truly a paradise on earth. Painting scenes from Himachal gives me true happiness.
It revives the beautiful memories of the past. 



Two water colour studies of landscapes
from Himachal on handmade paper.

Joseph Zbukvik  ( Eminent water colour artist from melbourne )said in one of his interview's that "If you succeed everytime, you are not painting properly." 

Read his interview HERE. Courtesy Artist Sterkhov


Friday, 13 November 2015

Portrait study on gray hand made paper

"I created a vision of David in my mind and simply carved away everything that was not David." Michelangelo

I am enjoying creating portraits on toned paper.For my present portrait study, I selected a face at an angle. The pencils used are Camel charcoal pencil and a white pastel pencil

Erasing, which I keep to bare minimum is done using kneaded eraser. Kneaded eraser can be moulded to any shape and it really helps to lift the charcoal and pastel.

A portrait study of a woman from India on gray toned paper, By Indian artist Manju Panchal

Portrait study work
Size 5"X 7"

Thank you for visiting my blog and do browse through my latest works in INSTAGRAM.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Trying out a new handmade paper from Himalaya Stationery ( FORT )


As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently came across a handmade paper which I picked up from Himalaya Stationery. Not being too sure about how it will perform, I picked up just one sheet. After trying out three small water colour landscape paintings on them my conclusion is that this paper is a "DEFINITE YES" for me. The cost of each sheet is 35 Rs only and judging it by its thickness, it should be around 180 gsm. This paper holds water well and seems to be working fine with me for the "WET ON WET TECHNIQUE".

Given below are three different water colour paintings on this new handmade paper. I decided to select three different landscapes which could cover the clouds, mountains, sea, land, grassy land, shrubs etc. These are quick studies and I realised how the horizon line has gone haywire in the last two works. Anyways these works were done with the intention of getting the feel of this new paper and I was so very excited.

I have used some of my expensive brushes which I picked up from Himalaya, ie the sable hair brushes. They do make a lot of difference in comparison to the synthetic ones. Will post the images of the brushes that I have used for the present works. In fact I plan to use these brushes for most of my works from here on.

Water colour painting from Himachal pradesh on hand made paper. By Manju Panchal

A scene from Himachal Pradesh


Inspired by Goa beaches

water colour painting of a landscape from coorg by Manju Panchal

As seen in Coorg

My next plan of action is to create a bigger work sized 11" X 16" using water colour medium. But before I embark on a larger sized painting, as a routine I will first create a small thumbnail sketch to have a better understanding as to how the work will look with the technique and colours  that I plan to use. A thumbnail sketch helps me to evaluate my technique and then I can make changes accordingly in the bigger work.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Portrait of a friend - another study work.

The portrait as done below is of a close friend of mine. I clicked her photograph using the camera on my mobile and later the photograph as a reference. The curly hair was created by scumbling technique and I used the Camel charcoal pencil for the same.

I have a miscellaneous collection of charcoal pencils and will write a post on it soon. Each pencil has its own good use. Some are smooth, others are coarse. For toned paper especially the Canson series, the Camel brand goes well for me.

portrait study done using charcoal pencil and white pastel pencil by Manju Panchal

Portrait of a friend
Charcoal and white pastel work in Canson Mi Teintes paoer
Size 5"X 7"

No matter what medium and what subject I do, I get addicted to doing all of it. Art as a passion can make you create things which are sometimes totally unplanned. Along with doing portraits I am also taking out time to continue with my water colour studies in an attempt to zero in on the paper of my choice and to learn the Wet on Wet water colour technique

During my recent visit to town, I paid a visit to Himalaya Stationery and managed to get handmade paper for just Rs 35 a sheet. Surprisingly the paper has turned out pretty well. The wet on wet technique works pretty good on it. I have created two small works on it and am thinking of buying some more of these.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Portrait study - Face at an angle

Last few days have been busy with lot of different activities. One of the most significant ones being, I visited Jehangir Art Gallery to view the artworks of Artists Pramod Kurlekar and Nilesh Bharati. I had another artist friend to accompany me and it was a great experience as we got to interact with the artists and got to see their works in person. Will write a post about them soon.

In the meantime my "Portrait sketching" passion continues and this time around I sketched a face at an angle using charcoal pencil and white pastel pencil. Sketching a straight face is a lot more easier and less complicated. However sketching faces at different angles helps in understanding the basic anatomy of the face.

Portrait of a woman sketched using charcoal pencil and white pastel pencil, by Manju Panchal.

Portrait study work
Size 5" X 7"

I have been creating a lot more study sketches and will post the images soon.