Wednesday 31 January 2018

A limited palette water colour painting

“Water colour condenses time and consolidates experience.” Frank Marcello

Murud Janjira is a picturesque little fishing village on the lush western coast of Maharashtra, 150 km south of Mumbai. We visited this place during monsoon on one morning we came across this scene which inspired me to create the water color painting as shown below.

The hazy sky, the mist in the air and the distant fort made for a good composition. For this artwork I decided to go with a limited palette. The four colours I used are ( Camlin Artists water colour tubes )

  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Raw Sienna
  • Crimson
  • Burnt Sienna
A water color painting of a morning scene at Murud Janjira, Maharashtra

A Misty Morning
Water Colour painting on handmade paper
Size 7” X 10”

Hand made paper works out good for certain subjects where I need the paper to have a good water holding capacity and so it stays wet for a long time. I enjoyed working on this subject.

Thank you for visiting my blog and browsing through my works.

Wednesday 24 January 2018

On the way to Uttarey, West Sikkim - A soft pastel painting

"Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and spiritual satisfaction." 
E. O. Wilson

Bordered by Bhutan, Tibet, West Bengal and Nepal, Uttarey is a small village located on the Northern slope of Singalila Range in North Sikkim. We paid a visit to this beautiful place while we were on a holiday to Sikkim last year in May. The road to Uttarey from Hee Bermiok had some stunning views on the way. The abundant greenery, the mountains, the waterfalls mesmerize you.

The soft pastel painting as below is inspired by one such scene that we came across while we were on our way to Uttarey. It feels good to be doing a pastel landscape after a long long time.

A soft pastel landscape painting of a scene from Sikkim by Manju Panchal

On the way to Uttarey, North Sikkim
A soft pastel painting on Canson MT paper
Size 7" X 10"

A few images of the steps leading to the creation of the painting as shown above. I started off by picking up a few pastels and placing them on a small white tray so as to avoid a lot of confusion as the painting progresses. I keep the pastel pencils by the side as I use them to create the small branches and other details where ever necessary.

Initial step to creating a soft pastel painting, a scene from Sikkim

Initial stage of the soft pastel painting.

I wanted to limit myself to a few pastels but as the painting progresses I have practically all my pastels out at my workplace. As seen in the photograph below, I have my Kohinoor and Derwent pastel pencils, Mungyo, Camlin and Sennelier soft pastels all around me as I add more colours to my landscape painting. 

Initial step to creating a soft pastel painting, a scene from Sikkim. By Manju Panchal

My pastel collection
at my workplace.

Thank you for visiting my blog and browsing through my artworks. If you wish to see my other works visit my INSTAGRAM page, where I upload my paintings on a regular basis.

Thursday 18 January 2018

Creating soft pastel thumbnail sketches

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

Before starting off with the pastel painting, I always do a few thumbnail sketches or study works on small cut outs of Canson Mi Teintes paper. 

It is my way of doing a preliminary study of a complicated subject. By creating these small works using limited palette of pastels, I am able to simplify the scene by understanding the value masses, the composition, the additions and subtractions. If I am happy with the small sketch and if it looks good to me, then I go ahead and follow the same steps when I am recreating the work in a bigger format. Many a times I create more than one thumbnail sketch of the same subject in order to try out different compositions.

Follow my latest works and techniques on INSTAGRAM and if you love my works and they inspire you, share them with your friends.

Soft Pastel thumbnail sketch/study work by Manju Panchal

Thnumbnail sketch, 3.5" X 5"

Soft Pastel thumbnail sketch/study work by Manju Panchal

Thnumbnail sketch, 4" X 5" 
Dubare Forest, Coorg

Soft Pastel thumbnail sketch/study work by Manju Panchal

Thumbnail sketch, 3" X 4.5"

Thank you for browsing through my artworks and if you are interested in joining me in my upcoming workshops do drop in a mail to me at

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Cleaning and Organising my Soft Pastel Palette

"Drawing is not the same as form; it is a way of seeing form." Edgar Degas

Given below is an image of my "Soft Pastel Palette" with all my pastels put together in different boxes, grouped and segregated as per their hue. Earlier I would clean them up using a jar of old Rice/Semolina, but this time my pastels were not too messy, hence I used a partly moist cloth to roll up individual pastel on it. It worked and I could identify the exact colour of the pastel. CLICK HERE to see my earlier post on cleaning of pastels. 

Pastel palette, collection of different brands of pastels

Pastel Palette ( A mix of different brands )

Over a period of last six years I have purchased many different brands of pastels, experimenting and exploring, in an attempt to find the most suitable one. However I realized that each one them was good in its own way. Some are hard and I use them for initial blocking in of colours. Others are soft and work well to cover up the value masses. I have my favorites from each brand. The broken pastels as seen above in the pastel palette are from the following brands:
  • Mungyo
  • Gallery
  • Koh-I-Noor
  • Camlin
I also have one box of Sennelier pastels ( 24 Landscape colours ) which are very very soft and hence I use them for finishing touches as and when required.

How often do I have to clean my pastels? It is a question which has no definite answer. Sometimes I create a few works and then shift to my charcoal or water colour medium. In that case I keep my pastels well covered, so they remain clean for long. However if I am into pastels for long then after every few paintings, the pastels get jumbled up and dusty and then it becomes mandatory to clean it up or else it gets difficult to distinguish one colour from the other.

Now that my pastels are all organised, I plan to create a few forest paintings on Canson MT paper. I shall try to photograph them in different stages so that I can post the step by step technique that I use to create my soft pastel works.

Thank you for being a part of my art journey. I appreciate your support which means a lot to me. If you wish to see all my paintings together in gallery format, please visit my INSTAGRAM page.

Sunday 14 January 2018

Trying a cloudy sky using water colour medium.

"Avoid illustrating. Express the intangible, the atmosphere, the smell....the sound, the feeling of the place."Alvaro Castagnet 

It is important to know and understand water colour as a medium and reading quotes by master water colorists every once in a while helps. I enjoy reading quotes by Joseph Zbukvik, Alvaro Castagnet and others. I also take out time to watch them doing their paintings. It enlightens me and encourages me to never give up.

Today's post is a painting of a beautiful sun kissed sea and I am sharing a poem which I came across recently while I was browsing through PINTEREST.

The Sun kissed sea

A beauty rare, beyond compare,
is sun kissed sea,
No scene so calm, no scene so fair,
As this to me.
When floods of light dispel the night,
The morning kiss on waves
which sparkle with delight,
Is loveliness.
When ends my day, I trust and pray,
My voyage be
O'er the waters, where some golden ray,
May kiss the sea.

A water colour painting of s seashore in the morning by Indian artist Manju Panchal

The Sun kissed sea
Water colour painting on hand made paper
Size 7"X 10"

With my soft pastel palette, all organised and cleaned up, I am ready to begin with my pastel art. To begin with I shall be doing a few thumbnail sketches or study sketches, which will help me warm up. Small study works are great in order to understand the composition, value masses, colour etc. It helps you visualize the final outcome. If it looks fine in its initial stages then it encourages me to go ahead to create a bigger sized artwork on the same subject.

Are you into doing study sketches too? If yes, do write to me and share your experience. It will be fun to know more about it.

Follow my latest works and techniques on INSTAGRAM and if you love my works and they inspire you, share them with your friends.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday 11 January 2018

At Benaulim beach, Goa

"Inspiration comes of working everyday."Charles Boudelaire

Today's post is a small 5"X 7"study work of a scene that I came across while I was at Benaulim beach, Goa some years back. It was this wild clustered growth of  foliage and dry thin branches against the backdrop of the vast ocean that attracted my attention. Another reason was probably I wanted to put my Winsor and Newton Cotman series, rigger brush to use.

Painting greens and foliage is always a challenge and painting such scenes from nature teaches you a lot. Rigger brush was of great help towards the end to pull out the tiniest of random branches which would have otherwise been difficult with the other brushes. I am loving the rigger brush and will write a detailed review about it soon.

A water colour painting of a scene from Benaulim Beach, Goa. By Manju Panchal

At the beach
Water colour painting on handmade paper
Size 5” X 7”

Hand made paper is great for wet on wet technique and is pretty economical too. I am using Petals hand made paper which is easily available in art stationery stores in Mumbai. I would have preferred using the cold pressed or Matt version but unfortunately, it is not easily available so I settled for the rough textured one.

Rough hand made paper

Petals hand made paper

If you are into water colour paintings, I would love to know about the papers that you use. Do leave in a comment.

Thank you for visiting my blog and browsing through my works. It means a lot to me. 

Follow my latest works and techniques on INSTAGRAM and if you love my works and they inspire you, share them with your friends.

Charcoal drawing and sketching workshop - 26th of January, 2018.
Timings 10 to 1 pm. ( Only six participants )

Monday 8 January 2018

PIXABAY - Free reference images for painting.

"It is in the silence of nature where one will find true bliss." j.j.c  ( Courtesy: Pinterest )

In December, I created a charcoal drawing of the scene as below to understand its basic tonal value structure.It is a beautiful landscape depicting "Fog and mist". I have referred to a photograph taken by Thomas B, Deutschland.( Courtesy: PIXABAY ) I am grateful to Mr Thomas for uploading this photograph and making it free for commercial use.

This photograph reminded me of my own visits to Mahableshwar and other hill stations during monsoon period when we would encounter such marvels of nature and hence inspired by the foggy lake scene, I created this water colour landscape using very limited colours from Camlin. The dark foliage and the drooping branches on the left pushed the other elements in the distance, creating depth. With this painting, I inaugurated my newly purchased rigger brush and Raphael mop brush. One of these days I shall create a post about the different brushes that I use to create my water colour paintings.

A water colour painting of fog and mist at the distance, by Manju Panchal

Fog and mist at the distance
A water colour painting on hand made paper
Size 7"X 10"

I am working on a few more water colour paintings before I make a switch to soft pastel medium, so keep browsing. Pastels are fun and I am very excited with the thought of getting back to them. 

To know about my upcoming workshops in different mediums CLICK HERE

Thank you everyone for visiting my blog and INSTAGRAM page.

Saturday 6 January 2018

At Dalhousie - Charcoal landscape on toned paper

"To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles." Mary Davis

Today's charcoal and white pastel drawing on Canson MT paper is inspired by a scene from Dalhousie, a beautiful hill station in Himachal Pradesh. This road was leading us to our hotel and the entire pathway was lined up by tall coniferous trees and variety of other miscellaneous dense growth on either sides. 

Being a resident of a crowded city like Mumbai, I never get to witness such a sight and hence enjoy every moment of it while I am out there. Nature has so much to offer us and the least we can do is to take care of the environment so as to preserve it for posterity. Drawing and painting places that I have visited in the past gives me immense pleasure. It is my way of sharing the beauty and magic of nature with the rest of the people who have either been there or yet to visit.    

Charcoal drawing of scene from Dalhousie on toned paper. By Manju Panchal

Pathway in the woods
Charcoal and white pastel pencil drawing on Canson MT paper
Size 5" X 7"

This is first of my landscape forest paintings on toned paper. I am quite happy with the outcome and may go on to create some more in this series. Today I removed my soft pastel collection and sat cleaning and organizing them so that I can restart some colored works soon. I love charcoal medium too but working with the same medium for too long can lead to saturation and then a little change refreshes the mind. So keep looking for some new works which I shall be posting soon.

Thank you all for the support that you have provided me. My blog has now crossed 78,000 pageviews and it would not have been possible without the support of the viewers. Thank you all for the same. If you like my works and techniques do visit my INSTAGRAM page to view all my works together in Gallery format.

Friday 5 January 2018

Stepping into 2018, a new beginning.

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."Albert Einstein


The year 2017 has come to an end and this is my first post of the year. It was an interesting year with respect to my art journey and its time to share some of my favorite works that I managed to create in different mediums.

I am extremely happy that I could devote some of my time for my water colour passion and went on to create several landscapes and seascapes. It has been a struggle, trying to understand all about the different techniques involved in creating a single water colour painting and while doing so I am exploring, experimenting and learning a lot. The learning experience that comes with the process of painting is of utmost significance to me as it helps me grow as an artist.

Water colour paintings by Indian artist and blogger Manju Panchal

Water colour paintings created in 2017

Find below few "Portraits" that I tried out on Strathmore and  Canson MT paper. Both these papers have great textures and I plan to work with them for my future works too.

Portrait drawings by Indian artist and blogger Manju Panchal

Portrait drawings created in 2017

Some of my personal favorites in soft pastel paintings that I created in the beginning months of last year. 

Soft pastel paintings by Indian artist and blogger Manju Panchal

Soft Pastel paintings created in 2017

In conclusion 2017 was a great year and I am grateful to all those who have been supporting me in my journey of art. My family, friends, my art workshop participants, my blog and Instagram followers, a very big THANK YOU to each and everyone of you for appreciating my art and motivating me to further continue working with same enthusiasm.

Thanks a lot for stopping by and browsing through my works. Looking forward to reading your comments.