Friday 31 March 2017

Charcoal drawing on Fabriano Artistico hot pressed paper

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

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

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

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

Charcoal drawing of a landscape from Coorg By Manju Panchal

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

Charcoal drawing of a landscape from Coorg By Manju Panchal

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Charcoal study - Using willow charcoal and charcoal pencil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for browsing through my artworks.

Sunday 26 March 2017

Step by step - Soft pastel painting of a landscape.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 2. Simplifying the shapes and adding colours

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 20 March 2017

Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary - A soft pastel painting

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

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

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

Soft pastel painting of Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary by Manju Panchal

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

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

Step 1. Basic outline and adding a few colours

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

Step 2. Simplifying the shapes keeping in mind the perspective

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

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

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

Thanks a lot for browsing through my artworks.

Thursday 16 March 2017

Key Monastery - Spiti valley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Monday 13 March 2017

Water colour painting - On the way to Ladakh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for browsing through my works. 

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Step by step drawing and painting - A seashore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steps involved in creating a soft pastel painting of a seashore

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

Steps involved in creating a soft pastel painting of a seashore

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

Steps involved in creating a soft pastel painting of a seashore

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

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

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

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

Saturday 4 March 2017

The woods - A soft pastel painting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for browsing through my works.

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Charcoal drawing of a tree

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

I love painting trees and am fascinated by them as a subject. I came across these beautiful lines on significance of trees and am sharing them with you. ( Courtesy: )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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