Wednesday 31 December 2014

Painting under progress - Niagara Falls in charcoal

I have been working on a charcoal painting of NIAGARA FALLS since a long time and it is nearing completion. The paper used for this work is FAVINI paper and is sized 16" X 16". This painting has been a great learning experience for me and I am eagerly waiting to complete it and frame it. As the year 2014 comes to an end this is probably one of my first resolutions of the year ie to focus and complete a pending project.

Niagara Falls
Work in Progress
Charcoal painting on Favini Paper

When I am working on my charcoal paintings, it normally takes much longer time to complete than my works in other mediums. Moreover it is one of my favourite mediums.

Sunday 28 December 2014

Soft pastel painting of a Landscape at Karnala Bird Sanctuary

Some time back I created a quick charcoal study of Karnala Bird Sancturary landscape using willow charcoal. Referring to the same photograph I decided to do a soft pastel painting. The light piercing through the bushes and the shadow of the trees cast on the road tempted me to do it in colours.

I have used Fabriano Tiziano black paper which comes in a pad of 24 sheets. Flipkart sells these so it can be purchased online.My Fabriano pad has sheets sized 12" X 16". Presently for a few works I will be using half the sheet, hence the landscape below is sized approx 12" X 8".

After the first layer of blocking in the colours I used Winsor and Newton fixative spray on the painting. However I avoid spraying in the end. Lifting the painting, I lightly tap it on the floor or base to dust off the loose pastel particles and it is ready for framing.

Soft pastel painting of Karnala Landscape by Manju Panchal

Casting shadows
Soft Pastel painting on Fabriano Tizano paper
Size 8" X 12"

I have started with another soft pastel painting from one of my Matheran photographs. Will be posting the image once it is complete. My artworks can also be viewed on my facebook page ie

Saturday 27 December 2014

Editing photographs of paintings using Adobe photoshop

Adobe Photoshop for editing paintings

I started my painting BLOG somewhere in January, inspired by all the other artists of the world who have been so active. Some of them paint and blog almost everyday. It has been a great learning experience for me as well. As I move forward taking one step at a time, I realise there is so much more to be done and the art journey goes on.

I recently started My facebook page ie . Therefore had to repost my new as well as old works on the site. Adobe Photoshop was on mind for long but I was just avoiding to use it but once I got into using it I have realised that it is not really that difficult or time consuming. Its just a matter of time and one gets used to it.

Posted below are my wet on wet water colour painitngs done some months back on Indian hand made paper. Both are small works and are done using reference photographs given by my friend who visited LADAKH. I want to do more of water colour paintings too but as of now am into doing soft pastel landscapes. Hence do not want to break the rhythm. 

Two water colour paintings of Ladakh Landscape
on Indian hand made paper
©Manju Panchal

My paintings can be seen on my facebook page 
and if you like my work then you can share my facebook page with friends.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Exposed roots of a tree - in charcoal and white pastel

I was to start a soft pastel painting of a landscape but at times due to personal commitments it is not always possible to devote sufficient time to art. But since I am a lot addicted to painting/sketching everyday, the next best option that I find very relaxing is doing a small study work. It takes roughly an hour or so and the feeling of having done some art work is absolutely great.

Today being one such day, I decided to do a tree study on beige coloured Canson mi tentes paper using charcoal pencil and white GENERAL soft pastel pencil. The beige colour of the paper acts as the midtone. Willow charcoal too has been used at places in the initial layers.

Charcoal and white soft pastel sketching of exposed roots of a tree by Manju Panchal

Small study work done in an hour
Exposed roots of a tree sketched on Canson Mi Tentes paper
©Manju Panchal

Edited photographs to be used as references for next few soft pastel paintings

The first step to creating a painting is selection of the next subject. The selection gets more complicated when there is a huge collection of photographs at your disposal. Hence I normally sit at night some day when I am not tired and then I go through my folder of different photographs. As a general rule I select four to five at a time and then get on to edit them.

Once editing is done as per the composition and light/contrast ratio that I want I save the images on my i pad for future use. Many a times it so happens that do not really use all the edited versions of my photographs. If I find something more meaningful and interesting then I suddenly change my mind. Its all upon the mood.

Most of these photographs as below are taken during our holiday trip to Matheran, a beautiful hill station.
One of them is from Karnala Bird Sanctuary.

Photographs to be used as reference for creating soft pastel paintings by Manju Panchal

Few edited photographs for future use as reference to
create soft pastel paintings.

When I use my own photos as reference it helps a lot as I have been to these places and I can relate to them. I know exactly the atmosphere as it was on that particular day and it helps to manage the colours well even if they have not been captured well by the camera. Its what I have seen that I want to paint. Nature is one of the most inspiring factors in my present art creations.

Monday 22 December 2014

Trying out willow charcoal on Canson Ca grain paper

Time to experiment with new paper. I enjoyed doing last two works on Fabriano paper, but since I am a big fan of Canson Ca grain paper I decided to check out the willow charcoal work on Canson paper too. I love to try all different papers so that in future when I am planning to create a big piece of art work then I will be able to make a choice which will be based on my experiments or rather study works now.

The photograph which I selected belongs to COORG ( Madkeri ) and my initial plan was to use this photo for a pastel work. But looking at the composition with the dark contrast of the foliage in the backgdraound and foreground I decided to create a charcoal work using it as a reference.

 For initial block in of values I used willow charcoal. Later to create the very dark values I used a variety of black soft pastels. The foliage and branches were created using charcoal pencils of different brands as shown below. Use of pastels was not in the plan but I was not satisfied by the pencils alone to create the depth, hence brought in the pastels in this work. 

Black charcoal soft pastel and charcoal pencils used for creating charcoal sketching of landscape by Manju Panchal

A. PRIMO charcoal pencil
B. Artist Charcoal Pencil
C. Camel charcoal pencil
Right above the pencils are three small pieces of broken soft pastels in black colour.

Charcoal painting of Coorg Landscape created using willow charcoal and charcoal pencils. By Manju Panchal

Charcoal painting of Coorg Landscape
A Study work on Canson Ca grain paper
© Manju Panchal

I spent a little more than an hour on this work and in conclusion I like this paper and would definitely want to use it for bigger works. However would try the other side of the paper which has a fine texture as compared to the one that I have used.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Added new still life paintings on my kitchen wall ( oil and acrylic paintings )

I have my still life paintings collection put up on one of the walls of my kitchen for the last ten years. Recently decided to change a few of them, replacing them with my oil paintings. Earlier works were all done using Camel Acrylic paints.

The three new paintings that I have now added are the Orange, the Capsicum and the Beetroot.( All sized 6" X 6" ). Rest continue to remain the same.

Collection of small still life paintings in acrylic and oil paints. By Manju Panchal

Arrangement of still life paintings on my kitchen wall.
© Manju Panchal

Small sized paintings can be put together on the wall in many different ways. Groups of two and three also go fine on certain walls. Presently I am engaged in doing Landscapes and want to continue doing so. In addition I am planning for an EXHIBITION of my recent works in the month of May 2014, so will have to decide on the CONCEPT, THEME etc. Will post details about it soon.

You can also view my works on my facebook page

Friday 19 December 2014

Rainy season, Foggy landscape in Matheran

"Even when you paint, you never stop drawing." Igor Babailov

A foggy day in Matheran, during the rainy season, water flowing down the slope in the muddy pathway. Using a reference photograph, once again created a Willow Charcoal landscape on Fabriano paper.

Charcoal drawing of a scene from Matheran

Foggy day in Matheran
Charcoal sketching on Fabriano Academia paper

Apart from Willow charcoal, I have used PRIMO charcoal pencil by GENERAL, and Camel charcoal pencil. The pencil was used in the end to do a little details like rocks, foliage etc. Since I had decided not to spend more than one hour on this work, I restricted myself on doing further details.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Another one hour charcoal sketch on Fabriano Academia paper

The last two charcoal sketches I made using willow charcoal were on cartridge sheet. This time I decided to use a sheet from Fabriano Academia pad. The fabriano paper has a texture on it and it gives a different look to the artwork.
Regarding the subject, I randomly selected a phtograph with mountains, rocks, slopes with grasses etc. ( Matheran ) Limiting my time to one hour ( size 5" X 7" ) I went ahead using willow charcoal and in addition all existing charcoal pencils in my collection, to create this work. It is a study work and therefore I did not concentrate too much on details. Just wanted to check out which pencil goes best with willow charcoal work. Sketching mountains and rocks is a lot different from doing trees and foliage. The movement of pencil and scribbling etc , its a different learning experience altogether.

Charcoal sketching of Matheran Landscape using willow charcoal. By Manju Panchal

Charcoal sketching ( A study work )
Created on Fabriano Academia paper
© Manju Panchal

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Getting the feel of Willow Charcoal

I am beginning to like willow charcoal. It is smooth on the paper and helps making quick sketches. However since I have not used it earlier in my charcoal paintings, I feel the need to create few quick sketches to get the feel of it. Then later I will decide , may be,  to use it ion the initial layer to block in the general values before beginning with the details.

This is my second landscape sketch ( Karnala Bird Sanctuary ) that I created using willow charcoal and Camel charcoal pencil. I had decided to time myself as I did not want to spend more than one hour on this. I only wanted to create a simple sketch without too many details BUT it gets difficult to stop once you start and I finally gave it up after having reached this far.

Charcoal sketching made using willow charcoal, By Manju Panchal

Charcoal study sketch using Willow charcoal
Created on white cartridge paper.
© Manju Panchal

Willow charcoal can get very messy and I realised that all my erasers had turned black in my charcaol painting kit. So I decided this morning to shift the willow charcoal to another small cardboard box, with a tissue paper placed underneath.

Willow Charcoal

Sunday 14 December 2014

Cleaning up - My Soft Pastel Palette

My present Soft Pastel palette consists of broken pieces of pastels of different brands placed together as per their colours and values. This arrangement helps me choose the right colour more easily rather than search in individual boxes of different brands. However over a period of time depending on use, it gathers a lot of pastel dust and the outer layer is very muddy which does not help in colour recognition in a precise manner.So the pastels need to be cleaned up.

I have been reading a lot on net regarding the different methods used by artists for cleaning up dusty pastels, so I applied one of them and it worked perfectly well for me.I took little rice in a bowl and dropped the broken pastels in them, shuffled it thoroughly and then removed it. The external surface of each individual pastel did get cleaned up. So I plan to follow this method even in future. 

Cleaning up broken pastels by shuffling them in a rice bowl. ( Manju Panchal )

Cleaning off the dust from broken pastels
by shuffling them in a bowl of rice.

Cleaned up Soft Pastel Palette by Manju Panchal

Pastel Palette with all cleaned up pastels 

The broken pieces belong to MUNGYO, GALLERY and KOH-I-NOOR

Matheran - a tree in soft pastels

This particular tree with lot of greenery in the background was a bit of a challenge and I almost gave it up midway but having put in efforts it is not easy to abandon too. Hence keeping it aside for a day, I restarted the same painting next morning with fresh mind and with the intention of completing it. 

It happens that in the process of doing a painting we realise that certain things could have been differently with respect to adding colours or shadows etc. This very realisation is the learning lesson that gets carried forward to the next painting where we implement the knowledge to avoid the mistakes made in the past.

Soft pastel painting of a tree in Matheran by Manju Panchal

Solitary tree
Soft pastel painting on Canson paper

This soft pastel painting is from a reference photograph taken at Matheran, a beautiful hill station close to Mumbai. We were there last December for a short holiday.

My paintings now can also be viewed on my facebook page
If you happen to like them you can share the page with your friends too.

Saturday 13 December 2014

Charcoal and Pastel painting of a bird on Canson paper

I had this beautiful photograph of a bird sitting outside our HOMESTAY in Coorg , with a confident pose and attitude. Being a bright sunlit day the shadow of the bird on the tiled ground surface had sharp edges and on the whole the picture made for a good composition. Not finding enough time to do it in colours, I decided to render it in charcoal and white pastel pencil.

I have used Camel soft charcoal pencil and General's white pastel pencil to create this painting on Canson mi Tentes paper.

Charcoal and soft pastel painting on Canson Paper
© Manju Panchal

Thursday 11 December 2014

Painting trees in soft pastels

The soft pastel Landscape painting below is from a photograph taken near the banks of river Kaveri, in the district of Kodagu, Karnataka. We visited this dense green forest area while we were holidaying in Coorg.

The photograph was clicked at around eleven in the morning and part of the landscape is in shadows. The sunlight piercing through the trunks falling on the edges of trunks and foliage around made for an interestng subject to paint. I have few more such photographs lined up for painting. In the meantime i have already started with my plein air charcoal sketching of Landscape and will post a few images soon.

Soft Pastel painting of a Landscape near Banks of Kaveri river, near Coorg. By Manju Panchal

Trees around
Soft pastel painting on Fabriano paper

Saturday 6 December 2014

Yet another Chitkul Landscape in soft pastels

When I am using my Himachal photograph as a reference I know for sure that I am getting the experience of doing rocks and boulders. Its a different terrain altogether. The roads are winding, and suddenly you come across a big boulder at the periphery as seen below. The plants, the vegetation growing around , all add to the beauty of the atmosphere. This particular landscape is from CHITKUL, a small beautiful town in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. ( Near the Indo -Tibet border ).

 In this particular landscape photograph there was a huge tree in the background but I avoided doing it in order to have a better composition. It was the month of June, the weather was chilly and I remember stopping after every few minutes to soak in the beauty of nature and to click photographs. No matter which side you looked and at what angle, there was something breathtaking which you did not want to miss out. I have many more photographs in my collection, and it becomes a difficult decision to select the next subject as many of them are pretty complicated with rocks, trees, water flowing etc etc. But I plan to do them all one at a time. 

Soft pastel painting of a Landscape at Chitkul by Manju Panchal

Boulder at the edge
Soft pastel painting on Fabriano paper

Friday 5 December 2014

Using Willow charcoal for creating a landscape sketch

Purchased willow charcoal, ( Made in China ) quite some time back. Never really got to try it. Have been doing a lot of soft pastel landscapes recently. Therefore to avoid reaching saturation level decided to do one of my next subjects in willow charcoal and Camel charcoal pencil. Its more of a study work, something like a rough sketch to get an idea about the composition and values. I did not spend more than forty minutes on this one.

This landscape scene is a small part of a big photograph taken at KARNALA Bird Sanctuary. I normally edit and while editing, crop the photograph and take only the part which I find interesting. The sunlight created some beautiful shadows on the road and I would love to do this painting in soft pastels soon.

Charcoal painting of Karnala Bird Sanctuary landscape by Manju Panchal

The Shadow
Charcoal sketching on cartridge paper

Using willow charcoal is a new experience for me and it will take a little time to get used to it but I quite enjoyed using it as it helps to do a quick study work. It looks pretty dark when applied on paper but the moment we smudge it with fingers it gets absolutely light. Hence I used Camel charcoal pencil to create the darker lines and shadings.
willow charcoal
Willow Charcoal set

Wednesday 3 December 2014

India Art Festval - Nehru Centre 2014

Attended the India Art festival on 28th and 30th of November at Nehru Centre, Worli. Got to meet artists from all parts of India and had a great time admiring the different works. Very inspiring and motivating.

Also got to meet personally an artist from Karjat, Mr Parag Borse whose works were exhibited on the ground floor, AC Hall. Truly amazing works rendered in soft pastels, charcoals and oils. It was a pleasure to meet him and talk to him. His exhibition was titled "VIBRANCY" and the works reflected exactly that.

Oil Painitng by Parag Borse

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Painting a tree in soft pastels

Using a random photograph from my "saved images" collection, created a soft pastel painting with the tree in focus.Each tree has its unique features, be it bark, exposed roots or branches and leaves.

I have used MUNGYO and KOH-I-NOOR soft pastels for creating this painting. In order to create fine lines to represent branches of trees, I use my charcoal pencils. In my collection of charcoal pencils, I have General, Conte A Paris and Camel.

Soft pastel painting of a tree from a reference photograph by Manju Panchal

The lone tree
Soft Pastel painting on Fabriano paper

An interesting quote

"Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought"

Monday 1 December 2014

The road leading to Spiti Valley - A soft pastel painting

The painting below is a reminder of the narrow roads that we took to reach beautiful heavenly places in SPITI valley. ( Himachal Pradesh ). Places like Nako, Tabo and Kaza which many people are still unaware of. Its a harsh terrain and after every few kilometres one comes across a very different mountain range with unique textures, colours and some unbelievable patterns. The breathtaking view at every turn of the road kept us in suspense and it was a pleasure to capture the moments in Camera. It was a quiet journey as not many tourists go beyond Kinnaur district.You do not get to see too many vehicles on the road too.

Its time to do a few landscapes with mountains and rocks. I loved creating this soft pastel painting. Did not want to miss out the details as can be seen on the road. The rides were bumpy and not very comfortable as the roads from Kinnaur onwards are not in a good shape.

Soft pastel painting of road leading to Spiti Valley by Manju Panchal
Moving on
Soft Pastel Painting on Fabriano paper

Saturday 29 November 2014

Soft pastel painting of Landscape at Karnala Bird Sanctuary

Last December we went to Karnala Bird Sanctuary ( close to Panvel ) and the soft pastel painting below is from an early morning photograph taken there. The weather was very pleasant and there were lots of dry bushes around. We walked on the muddy pathway enjoying the tranquility. It was so very quiet and we could hear all kinds of sounds created by birds and insects. There was also a group of bird watching enthusiasts with some real great sophisticated cameras and on the whole such short trips are real fun. They bring one very close to nature.

Soft pastel painting of Karnala Bird Sanctuary by Manju Panchal

Morning in Karnala
Soft Pastel Painting on Fabriano Tiziano paper
© Manju Panchal

The satisfaction of creating an original painting referring to one's own photograph is immense.
Years back when I started my journey of art, I remember referring to other artists work and had absolutely no idea how to go about creating an original art work. Then slowly it started with still life paintings to portraits and now I am feeling comfortable doing landscapes. It is a beautiful learning process and I continue to learn every day. 

Wednesday 26 November 2014

The morning glow - Soft pastel painting from my reference photogdraph

While we were in Coorg in May 2010, we stayed in a beautiful Homestay which was built on a small hill from where we had a great all around. Basically the Homestay was part of five acre coffee plantation which had whole lot of other trees too growing there. To get to the coffee plantations we had to climb on few rocky steps and dry bushes and once there we walked around looking for subjects to photograph. Insects, birds, dry leaves, the landscape around in general.

The soft pastel painting below is of the pathway which led to the coffee plantations and the morning glow through the dried bushes was captured by my son. I have cropped the photograph to get a good composition. I enjoyed doing this particular painting and spent a little longer time than usual as it had some new elements in it to be tackled.

The morning glow, a soft pastel painting of Coorg landscape by Manju Panchal

The Morning Glow
Soft Pastel Painitng
© Manju Panchal

Monday 24 November 2014

Back to my Coorg Landscape painting - soft pastel work

The scene below is yet from another of my COORG ( Madikeri ) photographs. We would set out for our morning walks with simple digital camera in hand, exploring the muddy pathways, spotting the birds, butterflies, insects etc. It was such a pleasure. Each road had something different to offer. 

I have been looking at these very photographs but somehow earlier I never saw the prospect of converting it into a painting but now that I am doing a whole lot of landscapes, I find my subject more easily. Some very simple landscapes with bushes, twigs, fallen leaves etc can make for a beautiful art work. My struggle with the greens continue and I wish to buy a set of pastels with probably 48 shades of just GREENS in them.

Coorg ( Madikeri ) landscape painting in soft pastels by Manju Panchal

The Muddy pathway
Soft Pastel Painting on white Fabriano Tiziano paper
© Manju Panchal

Sunday 23 November 2014

Trees in monsoon - soft pastel work

Last time we visited Lonavala we drove to Karla where the MTDC tourism bunglows are situated and the area is very green with beautiful trees and shaded paths. Being monsoon season the lush greenary was evident all around. Having spent a great part of our lives in cities, we long to be amidst nature. I made use of the opportunity and clicked a whole lot of photographs which I wanted to convert into paintings which is precisely what I am doing these days.

Below is one such soft pastel painting which I created using my usual set of soft pastels. Every painting is a challenge in itself but when the mood is right I go ahead and give it a try. It is this process of trying out something different, that makes us go through some obstacles. It could be related to creating some details, getting the right values or the colour of shadows. The list is endless and at the end of it there is always some lesson learnt. This is the never ending journey of art. It begins fresh every morning and ends with some dramatic story in the evening.

Normally every evening I take small decisions regarding my next days routine ie the subject to be painted next, editing few photographs, some unfinished work to be completed etc etc. It helps. Not in completing all the jobs that I have decided to do but it activates my thinking process which I guess keeps me going non stop with my art work.
Soft pastel painting of trees in KARLA during monsoon, by Manju Panchal

Shadowed by greens
Soft Pastel Painting on Fabriano paper
© Manju Panchal

Thursday 20 November 2014

Langkawi series - third soft pastel painting

Every beach that we visited in Langkawi had a different story to tell. The landscape, the rocks, its flora and fauna are breathtaking. The KILIM geoforest area has been declared a heritage site.

The still waters, the tranquil atmosphere and the rocks underneath the water, made for an amazing sight. Nature has so much to offer and we as common citizens need to be aware of its significance thereby doing simple things such as keeping it clean. 

The water had so many different shades of greens and blues and it was quite an experience creating this work. For quite some time now I have been working solely on landscapes and seascapes and plan to continue doing the same. One reason being that I want to have an exhibition of my works may be five to six months from now. Secondly I am enjoying the challenges that I come across in my day to day painting subjects. It helps me grow as an artist. 

Soft Pastel painting of blue green waters next to rocks by Manju Panchal

Beach at Langkawi
Soft pastel painting on Fabriano paper
© Manju Panchal

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Organising my soft pastel collection

Over a period of last few years I have purchased different brands of pastels in pursuit of finding a better one. This has led to a collection and the older ones are in broken pieces. As my last few paintings have been landscapes which require a lots of greens and browns etc, it was getting increasingly difficult to choose the right colour from different boxes. So I finally decided to collect all the small pieces of similar shades and arrange it together at one place in order to save my time and confusion. 

By arranging them all together now I can easily pick up the shade that I want as they are all close to one another and comparing one colour with the other gets a lot more easier. In addition it has helped reduce the chaos on my art table as I do not have to keep three different boxes around. The pastels below are a mix of MUNGYO, GALLERY and KOH-I-NOOR TOISON DOR

Arranging and organising different brands of soft pastels as per similar colours

Soft pastels arranged , with similar shades 
put together

After doing the first layer where in I block all the dark and light values, I normally spray the work with a fixative like Winsor and Newton and then go on to do my final layer which I leave unsprayed.

I also create ethnic Nameplates for the wall and other mixed media works which can be viewed in my blog .
For any inquiries regarding workshop or purchase of paintings you can contact me
Manju Panchal  : mob 9820683983 ( Mumbai )

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Rocks, blue green waters and reflections - soft pastel painitng

The soft pastel painting as given below has been created using a reference photograph which was taken while we were on Langkawi island in Malaysia during our last holidays. The rocks, the blue green waters and all the reflections around, it was a breathtaking view. 

While we were in Langkawi, we made it a point to visit all the different beaches as each one had some different view to offer and was unique in itself. Hence I have a big personal collection of the photographs and would love to convert all of them into paintings at some time later.

Soft pastel painting of a beautiful beach at Langkawi by Manju Panchal

Blue green waters
Soft Pastel painting on Fabriano Tiziano paper

Saturday 15 November 2014

Painting a tree in soft pastels

Finally a bigger soft pastel work for my kitchen wall. This was long due and it took me roughly three days to complete it. It is made with reference to yet another of my COORG photographs. This tree stood tall and sturdy in the five acre coffee plantation of the HOMESTAY where we stayed on three different occasions during our holidays.

The place is so green and shaded and the sunlight falling on trunk created a beautiful visual effect. For this particular painting I have used a brown coloured Canson Mi Tentes paper. I would have loved to use Tiziano paper but unfortunately the pad that I have is size 12" X 16" where as this painting happens to be much bigger in size.

Soft pastel painting of a tree in COORG by Manju Panchal

The Foundation
Soft Pastel painting on Canson paper
Size 18" X 26" ( Including mountboard )

Next I am working on two different paintings from my Langkawi holidays. The beautiful beaches there and its blue green waters are just amazing and capturing them on paper is going to be a great experience. Moreover I have selected photographs where there are rocks and I feel the need to paint rocks as they are important part of any landscape painting.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

The winding road - Another soft pastel painting

I have started shortlisting a whole lot of photographs from my personal collection in order to create more landscape paintings. As of now I am keeping the other mediums on hold as I am enjoying the whole process of doing trees, bushes, roads etc in soft pastels.

The image below is of yet another of my COORG landscape collection. The weather in Madikeri ie another name for COORG, is always very pleasant and the greenery on any road you walk is just amazing. Each view is an open subject for an artist. One of my "TO DO" lists is doing a PLEIN AIR painting ie painting outdoors, which hopefully I should be starting soon. Photographs do not capture the colours of nature as they are in reality.

Soft pastel painting of COORG landscape by Manju Panchal

The Winding Road ( COORG landscape )
Soft Pastel painting on Fabriano Tiziano paper

My next subject is a tree to be painted vertical with lots of greenery in the background. I am creating this new painting in order to fit it in the frame which has been lying with me since last year. The Size of the painting with the frame is going to be 22" X 30" and I am going to place it in one of my kitchen walls. I have not done a BIG pastel painting for long and am looking forward to doing this one.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Pebbles and rocks under the water - soft pastel work

I was dying to do a soft pastel landscape painting with pebbles and rocks under the water. So when I came across this photograph taken at Coorg during the morning walks, I decided to give it a try.

It was a challenge but I enjoyed every moment of it. Layering the pastels, blocking in the values, getting the greens right, the light and shadow and taking care of the perspective. This particular landscape, made me cover a whole lot of elements. It was a great learning experience.

I have decided to do a few more landscapes in pastels and have already shortlisted a couple of photographs from my huge collection. BUT there are no rules to be followed when it comes to painting. One fine day I may just decide to try out charcoal on my new WHITE FABRIANO TIZIANO paper which recently ordered through FLIPKART as it was on discount.

Soft pastel painting of Coorg Landscape with pebbles under water. By Manju Panchal

Under the water
Soft Pastel Painitng on Fabriano Tiziano paper

Two Days Soft pastel workshop on 12th and 15th of November from 10,30 am to 1 pm.
If interested please contact me on my mobile 9820683983.

I have also been doing lots of mixed media works which can be viewed on my second blog

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Few soft pastel works created during a recent workshop

Last two days were spent in SOFT PASTEL workshop. I had a participant coming all the way from Mulund and I was glad that at the end of the two days she had created five different works and was happy and determined to continue with this medium. I also had a young IT engineer who is so very passionate about her art and on her request our second day went in creating some complicated landscape. Overall it was a lot of fun.

 Art workshops are a great way of meeting people who are as passionate about art as you. Once together, apart from demo's and serious works, there is lot of sharing that goes on. Sharing one's experiences in the journey of art, sharing of ideas and of resolutions for the future. And lots of ART TALKS. Basically its a lot of fun.

soft pastel paintings created during a Basic Soft Pastel workshop conducted by Manju Panchal

Few of the soft pastel works done by participants during a Two Days Soft Pastel Workshop

The blue green waters at the shores of Langkawi - Pastel painting

While at Langkawi during our holidays, we were at a private secluded beach surrounded by rocks and caves. The gentle blue green waters hitting at the shore made a beautiful sight and I have made an attempt to capture the scene in my soft pastel painting done on Fabriano Tiziano paper.

I recently purchased this Fabriano paper pad from FLIPKART.COM where it was available on a good discount and I am enjoying the experience.

oft pastel painting of a seashore at Langkawi Island, Malaysia by Manju Panchal

The gentle waves
Soft Pastel painting on Fabriano paper

I have a big collection of many different photographs taken at all the different beaches of Langkawi island. My next pastel work in progress is once again of a lush green forest in COORG which I am doing referring to my photograph taken during our morning walk while we were holidaying in COORG. One reason why I am frequently painting the Coorg landscape is because the place is absolutely amazing. Secondly, we have been to Coorg on three different occasions and I have clicked photographs on all possible locations.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Rocks and mountains - Painting in soft pastels

A few months back when I decided to get into creating landscapes, I realised that a landscape is essentially made up of so many different elements and that trees play a very important role. Hence I worked on understanding the tree anatomy, creating several art works based on the subject "TREE". 

But recently I selected the painting as below from one of our MATHERAN ( Hill station close to Mumbai )reference photos and I realised that ROCKS, MOUNTAINS, CLIFFS etc too are not as easy as they seem to be. There is a whole lot of crevices, the different planes, the light and shadow play and most important "THE COLOURS". It is not always shades of brown. To get a better understanding of this subject, I guess, I will have to work on many more landscapes with rocks and mountains in it.

Soft pastel painting of mountain in Matheran By Manju Panchal

The morning glow
Soft Pastel painting on Fabriano Tiziano paper
Size 6" X 9" ( Excluding the mount board )

Mountains is a fairly new subject to me and I almost added four layers of colours to get it to this stage. Under normal circumstances I add the first layer and spray a fixative and a second layer of dark colours almost leads the painting to completion. I am also working on another seashore painting with rocks around. Will be posting image soon.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Rainy day - a pastel painting ( Karla - near Lonavala )

While on our visit to Lonavala recently, we went for a drive to Karla. Being rainy season the lush greenary was enchanting. I took couple of photographs ( with the intention of creating Landscape paintings ) and the pastel painting below is the first one which I have done from my reference photograph.

This one did look so complicated but I wanted to give it a try. As I do more of my landscapes, I come across situations where it makes me think, about the colours, the depth and slowly and steadily I find that things do get sorted out. I am also working on few more pastel works, mainly landscapes.

Soft Pastel Landscape painitng of a rainy day in Karla by Manju Panchal

Rainy day in Karla
Pastel painting on Fabriano Tiziano paper

Friday 24 October 2014

Soft pastel painting of landscape at CHITKUL ( Himachal Pradesh )

Once again referring to my photograph taken during Himachal trip, I created a soft pastel painting of
Landscape as seen at CHITKUL. Chitkul is a beautiful small village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh and I have already mentioned about it in one of my earlier posts. 

The rocks, trees and the surrounding mountains, all add up to the beauty of the place and it seems like a perfect destination for nature lovers. I have used my entire collection of soft pastels as I needed all possible colours I could lay my hands on. Apart from using my soft pastels I have also used my PRIMO charcoal pencil at certain places to create the branches of trees.

As for the paper, I continue to use my recently purchased black colour FABRIANO TIZIANO paper. 

Landscape painting of CHITKUL done in soft pastels by Manju Panchal

In the shadows
Soft pastel painting on Fabriano Tiziano paper
Size 6" X 9" ( Excluding the mountboard )

The Fabriano Tiziano paper is available in FLIPKART. I also use Canson Mi Tentes paper which is available at The Art Lounge at Churchgate.

Monday 20 October 2014

Pastel painting from a reference photograph

Finally I indulged in a pastel painting after a very long time. Pastel medium is one of my favourite mediums. It is very versatile and gets done much faster as compared to canvas and charcoal work.

The photograph I used as a reference for this particular painting was clicked by my son while we were holidaying in COORG. I particularly liked the perspective of the tree and its exposed roots. A very different composition from my normal previous works.

 It looked pretty simple to begin with but as I progressed I realised that it had too many details and finally I landed up using my MUNGYO, KOH-I-NOOR and GALLERY pastels too. A challenging photograph always helps in learning new lessons. I enjoyed doing this painting and am working on my next pastel painting which too is from my reference photograph taken at Himachal Pradesh.

The Mighty one
Soft Pastel painting on FABRIANO TIZIANO paper
size 6.5" X 9" ( Excluding the mountboard )

For this particular work I have used Fabriano paper but for my other works I shall continue using Canson Mi Tentes paper as well. Both the papers I find are good for creating pastel works.

I have used Winsor and Newton fixative after blocking in the values in the first layer. Normally after the last layer I avoid adding further fixative as it dulls the colours.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Climbing the slope - oil painting on 6" X 6" canvas

Created a hilly landscape using Camel Oil paints. Another of my COORG landscape painting ( From my personal collection of photographs ) is almost getting complete and I will be posting the image soon.

I have also been working lately on mixed media canvas paintings which can be browsed in my other blog

Oil painting of a landscape done on 6" X 6" canvas by Manju Panchal

Climbing the slope
Oil Painting on 6" X 6" canvas

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Painting a waterfall in oils

Another of my 6" X 6" canvas painting. This is my first waterfall painting done in oils. In charcoals and pastels its all about movement of pencil and chalks and the blending is a different technique altogether. But in painting with acrylics and oils its a whole lot about mixing the colours right, getting the strokes right and a lot of experimenting to get the values right. I enjoyed doing this work. Added three layers of colours ( Camel artists quality oil tubes )

The Fall
Oil painting on canvas
Available for sale

Art Quote

"The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection."

The Coniferous trees of Chitkul ( Himachal Pradesh ) - Charcoal Painting

Past few days have gone busy in
  • Creating mixed media works for my blog
  • Trying to complete my pending charcoal painting of Niagara Falls
  • Trying out different landscapes in acrylics and oils
While all the above is going on, I just about managed to take out a little time to Create a small charcoal sketching of Landscape as seen at Chitkul, a small village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. We were there for our summer vacations last year. The place is nothing short of a paradise. Beautiful white rocks, huge coniferous trees and Baspa river flowing through the village. Perfect place to be close to nature.

I have used my reference photo for the sketching and in particular, loved the light and shadow play
on the foliage in the foreground. It is always a great feeling to be able to create a painting of a place that you have been to and it brings all happy memories attached to it. 

Chitkul Landscape
Charcoal sketching on Canson Ca grain paper ( 180 gsm )
Size 4" X 5.5" ( Excluding the mountboard )

Saturday 11 October 2014

Narkanda - Hatu peak. A painting done from reference photograph

Continuing with my 6" X 6" series of acrylics and oils , I used my reference photograph from Himachal Tour. Hatu Peak stands at 11,000 feet, 5 kms away from a small town in Narkanda. The view around was heavenly. The huge rocks around were piled up and created beautiful compositions. I had to edit my original photograph to get the composition that I was looking for.

Hatu peak in Narkanda painted in acrylics by Manju Panchal

Hatu Peak
Acrylic painting on canvas
Size 6" X 6"

I have used Camel artists acrylic tubes in order to create the above painting.

Getting back to my 6" X 6" canvas paintings - Landscape art works

Back to my 6" X 6" canvas paintings. 

However, unlike my initial works which were based on still life subjects, this time I have decided to get into doing landscapes. I am using both acrylic as well oils in creating these small works from reference photographs.

Two 6" X 6" oil and acrylic paintings on canvas by Manju Panchal

Two Landscape paintings created on 6" X 6" canvas
Acrylic and oil medium on canvas

Art Quotation

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things 
I had no words for." By  Georgia O'Keeffe

Friday 10 October 2014

Ginger- still life painting in oils

Posted below is the image of a small 6" X 6" oil painting of ginger. In fact I created this painting quite some back when I was doing a series on fruits and vegetables. This particular painting needed a little touch up , which I did recently. 

Of late I have also been involved in doing lot of mixed media works which can be seen on my other blog

oil painting of ginger on 6" X 6" canvas by Manju Panchal

Oil painting on 6" X 6" canvas.

You can find similar still life acrylic and oil works in my earlier posts. The image below is of a few works which are presently put up on my kitchen wall. It adds a lot of colour and life into my home and I love these small works a lot as one can put them in groups of two or three or many together.
Any combination works.

Group of small still life paintings of fruits in oils done by Manju Panchal

Still life fruit and vegetable paintings.

Thursday 2 October 2014

Drop of charcoal

Placing a drop of water on a leaf, created a charcoal painting of the same capturing its shadow and the highlight created by sunlight. Painting from a live subject always helps to observe and analyse the details which I find is missing in photographs.

The pencils used for creating this charcoal painting are
  • Camel soft charcoal pencil
  • Conte A Paris charcoal pencil
  • PRIMO charcoal pencil ( General Company )
Also used my usual blending tools at certain places.

Charcoal painting of a drop of water on leaf by Manju Panchal

Drop of water
Charcoal painting on Canson Ca grain paper.

The Canson Ca grain paper is textured paper and is quite good for charcoal work.