Friday 29 April 2016

The snow capped mountains - Soft pastel painting on Canson paper

A soft pastel painting inspired by the majestic mountains as seen at Himachal Pradesh.

When I am painting forest scenes I normally go for the dark toned papers like black and dark 
brown. However since this is a winter scene with cool colours, I wanted to add a little warmth 
so I decided to go with a light orange coloured paper. Canson Mi Teintes comes in many
different colours and each artist makes his/her choice regarding selection of the base 
colour of the painting.

The breathtaking views of the mountain range and the play of light and shadows creating 
dramatic effect on the slopes is a beautiful sight. The tip of the tall trees glow as the morning 
sunlight falls on them. 

A soft pastel painting of the snow capped mountains by Manju Panchal

The snow capped mountains
Soft pastel painting on Canson paper
Size 6" X 8"

I will be submitting this painting in DPW challenge  dated an 16,2016. The challenge
remains open for long so even if I have missed submitting in that week I can always do so later on.

The weekly subject keeps changing and it is fun to paint something different from
your regular subject.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

A walk in the woods - Coorg ( Madikeri )

In the past few days I have created several thumbnail sketches of Landscapes and seascapes 
using the soft pastel medium. The plan was to create final pieces of art referring to some of 
them. Along with the study sketch, I will also be using the original photograph taken by me.

The first soft pastel painting that I have finally selected is inspired by my visit to Coorg, ( Madikeri ). Coorg is a very quiet and peaceful hill station in Karnataka. Its green all round 
the year and a paradise for photographers and artists. Any road you take leads to some great 
views. The trees, the bushes, the red soil, the distant hilly mountains, you can spend hours and 
hours soaking in the beauty of the surroundings.

The image below is of a soft pastel painting created referring to one such sights that I came 
across during my routine morning walks. The early morning sunrays, the fence running across 
on the left, the green foliage around, some wild flowers, each element adding to the beauty of 
the landscape.

No matter how many landscapes I do, everytime I am doing a forest scene, the greens intimidate
me the most. Getting the right green becomes a challenge. Therefore I use soft pastel palette
which is a combination of Mungyo, Gallery and Kohinoor soft pastels. Each brand comes
with a different collections of "Green shades" , therefore combining all of them I get fairly
different shades from bright to dull. The Camlin brand too comes with some beautiful greens.

Soft pastel painting of a landscape from Coorg ( Madikeri ) by Manju Panchal

A walk in the woods
Soft Pastel painting on Canson Mi Teintes paper.
Size 6" X 9"

Soft Pastel Palette
A Mix of different brands.

Another of my soft pastel painting is in progress referring to my Phuket and
Phi Phi islands visit recentlyFrom forest, I am moving to cliffs and mountains and some
breathtaking views of white sanded beaches.

To view my paintings you can also visit my FACEBOOK page. If you like my works
please share with friends. Thanks for browsing.

Friday 22 April 2016

Rabindranath Tagore - A portrait study using white pastel pencils

In September 2015 I posted about the Strathmore Artagain 400 series black paper. It is a
fairly new paper in my collection and was recommended by a friend who is also passionate
about art. I used it just once to try out a tree sketch as given below and loved it. It has a
fine grain textured surface which works fine with white pastel pencils.

Tree sketching on strathmore paper using white pastel pencil. By Manju Panchal

The idea of using Strathmore black paper for sketching a portrait was working on my mind
since long and therefore I finally decided to start off with study sketch. Study sketch because
its a new paper and it will take me a few portrait works to understand what technique will
work best. Will I have to blend a lot or just create scribbling and strokes ? There are a whole
lot of questions in mind which get answered only when I actually sit down to sketch.

The subject I selected for my portrait study is Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, a poet, philosoper and an artist. ( Photograph courtesy : Wikipedia )

Sketching on black paper, I realised is a lot different as all the tonal values have to be
created using only the white pencils. The colour of the paper acts as the darkest tone.
As always sketching a portrait is more challenging than doing a landscape or still life work.
It is challenging but a very satisfying experience too. I enjoyed my step by step
involvement in creating this work and would definitely work more towards it.

Portrait study sketch of Rabindranath Tagore by Manju Panchal

Portrait study of
Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore 
on black Strathmore paper

The three different pastel pencils that I have used for the above portrait study are as seen in the 
image below. I have been using these three brands frequently for my other works too.

1. Conte A Paris white pastel pencil
2. Cretacolour White pastel pencil
3. General soft white pastel pencil

The other tools used apart from the above pencils are a kneaded eraser, normal eraser and 
blending tools. The pencils as above are available at ART STATION, Andheri West OR
the next best thing which I find easy and it saves time too is to check it out on online stores
like FLIPKART, AMAZON or SNAPDEAL. These days many art products are easily
available online and at discount too.

Some time back I had ordered CRETACOLOUR water soluble graphite pencils from
AMAZON. I received it and I have used it in combination with Camlin water soluble
graphite sticks to create some beautiful study works. Will be posting about it soon.

Thanks for browsing and I would love to read your comments if any.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Recently sold Portrait works in different mediums

Given below are the images of  some of my recently sold Portrait works created in different mediums. The details about each one of them can be found in my blog by using the
SEARCH column as on the right side of the BLOG. 

Some of these are my latest works and others have been created in the past. However I have 
written a post about each one of them in my Blog describing in detail about the paper used, 
medium etc.

Apart from doing landscapes, I love doing portraits as well as still life paintings. I have not 
done much of still life lately but creating a still life painting from a live object too is very challenging.

As an artist, I would love to draw and sketch and paint too BUT the whole issue is that there are
so many things to do and time just passes by. Which reminds me as always to take "One step 
at time". 

Presently I am into creating soft pastel landscapes. I have already posted about the 
"Thumbnail Sketches" that I have created recently. Referring to them and the original
photograph I will be creating landscapes and seascapes in different sizes.

Working in the same medium and subject can be saturating at times. Hence I take a break 
sometimes to either try out something new which refreshes my mind OR I work on Portraits.

I know from my own experience that when the mind is tired and exhausted no matter how hard
you try, you never get it right. Therefore my "Way of working" is start two different works at
the same time. When I get saturated with one, I keep it aside and start working on the other one.

A beautiful quote that I came across today which is exactly what I feel every time I paint.

"I may not be there yet but I'm closer than I was yesterday."

Saturday 16 April 2016

Few more Thumbnail sketches of Landscapes and trees

Painting every single piece of art is a journey in itself. It starts with the visit to a beautiful place.
Then I capture the most breathtaking views in my mind as well as the camera. I make all my
observations pertaining to the colours, atmospsheric perspective, etc. Many a times I squint my
eyes to gauge the right values. Seeing and observing well helps me in rendering the right
colours to get the feel of the atmosphere.

It is much later some day when I am browsing through my photographs that I take the decision
to finally go ahead and create the painting and to capture my memories on paper. Then starts
the process of creating a Thumbnail Sketch followed by the Actual painting.

What I enjoy the most is the entire procedure or the steps involved in creating every single
painting. I do it loosely and with a free mind not worrying about how the painting will
eventually look in the end. Not every painting meets my expectations. I make mistakes and I personally that these mistakes help me learn better because it gets me "Thinking". I reevaluate
my technique and colour theory and try to analyse how and where I went wrong?

In conclusion Every painting that I create makes me "Experiment and Explore" and the whole
journey of art is a thrilling experience. Given below are some more of my recently done
thumbnail sketches using soft pastels.

Creating thumbnail sketches/ preliminary study works of forest and nature scenes by Manju Panchal

Thumbnail sketches from
Himachal, Phuket and Coorg.

" We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to."  Terri Swearingen.

I came across this beautiful quote recently which is so inspiring. We all need to make a 
collective effort to save trees and to maintain the beauty of the nature. When I am travelling,
I come across some amazingly beautiful old trees and I do not miss out the opportunity
to sketch it out or capture it in the Camera. In the above collection of Thumbnail sketches
I have done some study works of trees too and hopefully soon I plan to create some artworks
referring to them.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

From photograph to thumbnail sketches - soft pastel medium

Most of my landscape paintings are inspired by NATURE.

Over a period of years, I have shortlisted a whole lot of photographs for my future artworks.
The intention is to create Landscape paintings as and when I get time. Therefore I decided to
create a series of thumbnail sketches which will help me visualize the final outcome as
the painting will look on completion.

Thumbnail sketch or study sketch is "The most important deciding factor for me" to go ahead
with the final painting procedure. I have used charcoal and water colour medium too for
creating these small study works but this time around I have used only soft pastels. The size
is more or less, always 4" X 5".

Given below are four thumbnail sketches created by referring to photographs taken by me
on different locations.

Thumbnail sketches
Created on Fabriano Elle erre paper
and Canson Mi Teintes paper.

After completing the thumbnail sketches, I analyse the final colours, values, composition etc
which helps me to decide whether to go ahead with the painting or redo the thumbnail sketch
by making the required changes. 

The upper two sketches turned out fine as planned in the mind but the lower two were a bit complicated scenes with a whole lot of overlapping elements. So the technique and steps that I followed did not quite work out. Therefore I may have to redo the lower two by following a totally different plan altogether. The photographs that I referred to for the lower two thumbnail sketches
are as below. They are from LANGKAWI island ( Malaysia ) and I am definitely planning
to do both these landscapes some day in my style.

Two landscape photographs from Langkawi ( Malaysia )

Creating thumbnail sketches, I feel, has brought about a lot of discipline in my art journey.
I was inspired to do so after seeing many other artists doing the same. My personal
experience also taught me that whenever I went ahead with a large sized artwork
without a preliminary study, the painting either got ruined or did not turn out

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Portrait sketching - A study work

Canson Mi Teintes is available in many different shades and it works beautifully with charcoal
and pastel medium. I have used the dark grey paper for portrait shading earlier. Many artists
use black, beige and other toned papers as well. I get inspired by looking at all the beautiful
work done by other artists and I love to experiment with new papers, mediums, stationery etc. 
The whole idea is to grow as an artist and to learn something new and better everyday.

Using a beige coloured paper I created a simple portrait, ie face at an angle. Since the paper 
colour is new to me I have not overworked on the portrait. Just bare minimum strokes to get the anatomy of the face right. Sketching a face at an angle is a challenge and I plan to do a few more sketches of these kind. 

The colour of the paper acts as the midtone and the highlights are created using
General and Cretacolour white pastel pencil. The darker shades are obtained by Camlin and 
General charcoal pencil.

A charcoal and white pastel study work on Canson Mi Teintes paper by Manju Panchal

Portrait study work
Charcoal and pastel work on Canson paper

Different colours in Canson Mi Teintes paper for pastels and charcoals

Canson Mi Teintes papers
in different colours

A beautiful quotation 

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

Saturday 2 April 2016

Charcoal portrait work on Canson c a grain paper

I am taking a break from my water soluble graphite works. Not because i am not enjoying
doing it, but I feel the need to use a graphite pencil ( water soluble ) for sharp strokes. I
visited ART LOUNGE recently but did not like the one's which they have. So instead, I have
gone ahead and ordered Cretacolour 8B set of 6 pencils from There are other
pencils from other brand too but since these are not very expensive and I am on a "TRIAL"stage
I do not mind combining these with my CAMLIN water soluble graphite sticks.

In the meantime, I decided to spend a few hours on an old incomplete work of mine. It is the
portrait of a beautiful young girl from Kutch with her traditional jewellery and a very captivating smile. Years back too I was using Canson c a grain paper, which is acid free and it has a
textured rough surface. I have done a post on the different papers I use for my charcoal
works. CLICK HERE to know more about it.

Charcoal portrait of a young girl from KUTCH, by Manju Panchal

A smile
Charcoal sketching on Canson c a grain paper
Size 7.5" X 10"

I recently visited ART LOUNGE  which is having its annual sale at
this moment. Will write about ART STATIONERY that I picked up from there in my next post.

Thanks for browsing through my blog.