Friday, 23 June 2017

A boat at Vaddi beach Goa - Water colour painting

"Painting is the art of discovery and you are constantly enlarging your horizon or finding yourself every time you paint." Romare Bearden

Painting is beautiful phenomenon that helps you rediscover yourself each day as you paint a new subject, learning and exploring new facts. Eventually it helps you grow as an artist.

On the 12th of June I posted a water colour painting similar to the one that I am posting today. The earlier one was created on Arches cold pressed paper, however this time I have tried out another scene from Vaddi beach, South Goa, on Fabriano studio quality water colour paper. Every paper is so different and each one has its own merits and demerits. All of them are good in their own ways and its just that each artist has his/her preferences according to the style and technique that one follows.

This beautiful scene at Vaddi beach with the calm sea in the background and clear sky above served as a great subject for my water colour painting.


A boat at Vaddi beach
Water colour painting on Fabriano studio quality water colour paper
Size 6.25" X 9"

What I am loving about this paper is that the colours remain very vibrant and dark and do not fade out after drying. I purchased a pad of these papers during sale some year, so I am using it now to try to understand its texture and quality.

It is not that every painting that I starts sees the light of the day. At times there are disappointments. The painting gets ruined due to various reasons, the most significant of them being "Impatience". At such times I take to creating small study works or simply browse through the net watching works of other great artists whose work I admire a lot. It motivates me to get started once again. Perseverance, I believe, is the key to finding and reaching your goals.

Thanks once again for browsing through my works.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A water colour study work of A Cloudy sky at the beach

"Watercolour is probably the most satisfying of all mediums. Although difficult in the beginning, after practice its mysteries will unfold, providing the utmost pleasure for the dedicated." Robert Lovett

Water colour painting is getting fun. Painting a little every day is helping me loosen up my style. It is a great learning process. I am moving ahead one step at a time.

The painting below is something that I wanted to try out since long ie a cloudy scene during monsoon in Goa. The landscape in Goa during monsoon is magical.With the onset of rains the sky changes dramatically into different shades of gray and blue. With every new painting, I get to explore a little of colour mixing. For the grays in the sky I have used ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. The three primary colours too mix to give a good gray colour. 

The paper that I have tried out for this painting is Brustro 300 gsm. It is difficult to do wet on wet on this paper as it starts drying up pretty fast, which then leaves hard edges. Therefore for my future works I will have to rethink about this paper as I am more for wet on wet works.

A water colour painting of a cloudy day at the beach by Manju Panchal

Monsoon Magic
Water colour painting on Brustro paper
5.5" X 7.5"

My art is about finding simple beautiful scenes in nature and bringing them to life on paper, to relive the happy moments for ever. Presently I am trying out the seascapes and mountainscapes in water colour medium but later some day I would want to do forest scenes too. Before getting to the forest landscapes I need to get a proper understanding of the "Mixing of greens" which can be very intimidating. I am in no hurry and would love to go slow, one step at a time.

My sincere thanks to all the visitors for browsing through my works.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

A Solitary Palm tree at Benaulim beach, Goa

"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long time ago."
Warren Buffet

A beautiful solitary tree that I came across at Benaulim beach in Goa, motivated me to create the water colour painting as seen below. The tree had its shadow as well as reflection in the water underneath. The tree with its drooping leaves and branches also kind of narrated its survival story. Determined and resolute it stood facing the strong monsoon winds, rooted firmly to the ground. We all need this kind of determination in life at some time or other.

It was fun creating this painting as it was my maiden attempt at painting palm leaves. I used a flat brush and a thin round brush to get the effects that I desired. I also tried my hand once again at a cloudy sky but need little more practice at getting it right. A beach scene gives an opportunity to work on sea waves, sandy seashore and a beautiful sky.

A water colour painting of a palm tree at Benaulim beach, Goa by Manju Panchal

A Solitary Palm tree
Water colour painting on Campap paper
Size 5.5" X 8"

Benaulim beach is located along the South Goa coastline and is not as commercialized as the other beaches. One can enjoy some tranquil moments here in the company of nature. 

My works can also be browsed at my INSTAGRAM page. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Monday, 12 June 2017

A boat at the beach - A water colour painting

"The silence of nature is very real. It surrounds you.......you can feel it." Ted Trueblood

The painting below is a quiet moment spent at Vaddi beach in Goa. The beach with crystal clear waters are led by the fields on either sides of the road which are marvelous during the rains.

We visited this beach during monsoon. It was early in the morning, the sky was bright and clear and we felt good to spend some time watching the sea and the waves. The tides were low and I wondered looking at the boat, as to when it would set out to high seas once again.

I have used Arches cold pressed paper for this water colour painting and am beginning to understand more about its texture and water retaining capacity. Knowing the brushes, paint and the paper helps a lot in creating a painting without any hurdles.

water colour painting of a boat at the beach on Arches cold pressed paper. By Manju Panchal

Boat at the beach
Water colour painting on Arches cold pressed paper
Size 7" X 9"

I am fascinated by the beaches and therefore it is one of my favorite subjects for painting in any medium. Nature in any form inspires me to paint. 

Thanks for browsing through my works.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

The snow capped mountains around Gurudongmar Lake.

"People come and go, the mountains remain. Mountains are permanent things. They are stubborn, they refuse to move." Ruskin Bond

Today I am posting a water colour painting of a scene that I came across when I visited Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim. At an altitude of 17,100 ft above the sea level the snow capped mountains look magnificent against the backdrop of clear azure sky. In fact every view around was picturesque in its own way.

When I painted the Gurudongmar lake, I enjoyed creating the reflections in the water. In this particular painting I tried to get the sand and rocky texture in the foreground plateau. I have used raw sienna, burnt sienna, yellow ochre and ultramarine blue ( Camlin artists water colour tubes ) in the foreground plateau.

water colour painting of snow capped mountains around Gurudongmar lake by Manju Panchal


A view from Gurudongmar Lake
Water colour painting on Fabriano Artistico hot pressed paper
Size 5.5" X 7.5"

For this painting I have used Fabriano Artistico hot pressed paper  which is great but I want to use the cold pressed version next time. So yesterday I managed to buy a sheet for Rs 415/- and am excited to try it out soon. The hot pressed paper will go well for my water colour portrait works as it has a smooth surface.

Presently I want to continue working on few more landscapes and seascapes as I am enjoying experimenting and exploring the water colour medium.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Teesta river flowing down the Yumthang valley

"There is something of the marvelous in all things of nature." Aristotle

When you stand there looking at the creation by nature, it overwhelms you and you begin to appreciate everything around more than ever.

While returning from Zero point ( Yumesamdong )  in North Sikkim, we came across this particular scene with Teesta river flowing down the Yumthang Valley, surrounded by white grey rocks, a sandy patch and greenery in the background. We stopped for a while here and spent few moments soaking in the beauty, then went ahead to click a few photographs.

Teesta river is a 309 km long river flowing through the Indian states of West Bengal and Sikkim, before going to Bay of Bengal through Bangladesh.It carves our from the verdant Himalayas in temperate and tropical river valleys and forms the border between Sikkim and West Bengal.
( Courtesy: Wikipedia )

I wanted to try out this scene in water colour medium and used a small cut out of Strathmore water colour paper ( 4" X 5" ). The river water was beautiful shades of blue and I have used a mix of Winsor and Newton ( Cotman colours ) and Camlin paints for this artwork.


Teesta River
Water colour study work on Strathmore paper
Size 4"X 5"

The rocky path in the foreground is the path through which most vehicles travel. It is a very bumpy ride. There used to be a road earlier which got destroyed in the past earthquake. Many parts of North Sikkim face the same situation, however the final destination is worth the ride.

I enjoyed painting on Strathmore 300 gsm water colour paper. It has good water retaining capacity and the paper does not abosrb the colours much. As a result the colours remain bright with minimum application. I am tempted to create some more works on this paper so as to know my final review in comparison to Arches and Fabriano papers.

Thanks a lot for visiting my blog. If you are into water colour painting, I would love to hear about the papers and colours used by you. Do leave in a comment to share the same.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Plein air water colour painting in my travel sketch book

"I have no talents. I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

One morning at West Sikkim, it rained heavily and the mountains and valleys as seen from the balcony of our homestay, suddenly started disappearing in the mist and clouds. The view was heavenly and I felt the sudden urge to capture the beauty unfolding before my eyes in my sketch book. And I did precisely that. Using my two round brushes and a palette I created my small "Plein air painting". It took me not more than ten minutes to create this small artwork and it felt really good.

Dante Alghieri said "Nature is the art of God." and I believe every word of the quote. I am grateful as an artist to be inspired by nature's beauty which in turn helps me create my art and keeps me busy and happy.

Water colour plein air painting of a scene during monsoon at West Sikkim by Manju Panchal

Monsoon in the valley
Water colour Plein air study work in my sketch book
Size 4" X 5"

When I am travelling I carry with me the following,

Sable hair water colour round brush

Two round sable hair brushes

Small travel sketch book

Small 4" X 5" sketch book
( Cartridge sheets )

Water colour palette with Camlin paints

My water colour palette
with Camlin water colour artist's water colour paints

Carrying a travel kit such as above always helps. I get to paint when there is an opportunity. Moreover the kit is not very bulky and the sketch book has cartridge sheets in it which can also be used for pencil drawings and sketches. These sketch books are easily available these days in stationery shops.

Sketch books are fun. They play a very significant role in learning process. I use them all the time. It has now become a habit. I have a sketch book for every different medium and my collection is growing.

Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and do visit my INSTAGRAM account to browse through my paintings.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Sunrise - A water colour painting

"The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world's joy." 
Henry Ward Beecher

The water colour painting as below is with reference to a scene that I came across on an early morning at Temi Tea Garden, in the south of Sikkim. 

I have used the wet on wet technique on Campap paper. I have this paper in my collection along with many other papers. Now that I am into water colour medium, I am in the process of trying out all the different papers and learning so much about each of them.

Water colour painting of sunrise scene at Temi Tea Garden

Sunrise over the hills
Water colour painting
Size 5" X 7"

Wet on wet technique in water colour painting is a challenging method because it produces highly unpredictable results because there are many factors that matter, like the texture of paper, its weight and the amount of water in the brush etc. However there is something magical about the way colours flow and blend with each other, creating beautiful dramatic effects.

Thank you for visiting my BLOG. My art blog has now crossed 55,000 page views and I am grateful to all the viewers for their support. Blogging has added new life to my art and I now paint more passionately than ever. 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Water colour painting inspired by the white sandy beaches of Florida

"There are no half measures when it comes to watercolours. Watercolour demands constant devotion." Pierre Tougas

Yesterday I completed my second water colour painting on Arches cold pressed paper. I love the beaches and have done a series on them. Be it in Goa, Phi Phi island or Florida, they are all beautiful in their own way.

The 7" X 9" watercolour painting below has been inspired by the beautiful white sandy beaches of Florida. I have painted a lot of them before on hand made paper. Now I am trying out my new works on Arches, Fabriano and other acid free papers. Shifting from one paper to another gets a little tricky as the paper surface, it's water absorbing quality etc is different and hence it takes a little time getting used to it.

In the painting below, I tried to do the sky using wet on wet technique and I had all the steps planned out in the head, but as the paper started drying up it led to a little confusion and then the brush strokes were just spontaneous. Next time probably I will keep the spray bottle by the side to keep the paper wet for a longer time. Like I always say, every painting is a new learning experience and I am always looking forward to painting something new and challenging.

A water colour painting of white sandy beach of Florida, By Manju Panchal

Morning at the shore
Water colour painting on Arches cold pressed paper
Size 7" X 9"

My next painting that I have already worked out in my mind is a beach scene from Goa and also another landscape scene from Sikkim. I also plan to check out the "Fabriano Artistico" hot pressed paper which I recently purchased from the Himalaya Stationery store at Fort.

Thanks for browsing through my works.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Using Arches 300 gsm cold pressed paper

"Master water first and then paint." Josh Goldberg

Gurudongmar Lake is a stunning lake situated at a height of 17100 ft above sea level in north Sikkim.
The lake can be reached by road from Lachen via Thangu. The approach road from Thangu to Gurudongmar passes through a rugged and enchanting terrain with high alpine pastures covered with many rhododendron trees. It is a difficult journey and most tourists leave Lachen early morning by 4 or 5 am as it takes three to four hours to reach the lake. However once the destination is reached it is an unbelievable sight and the beautiful view all around is mesmerising. To me it was like a dream come true.

Before creating any painting, as a rule I always create a few study works which helps me simplify the shapes, understand the values and colours. Creating a study work also helps me to decide on my technique that I would apply in order to create that particular work. Sometimes it is wet on wet and other times I go with wet on dry technique. I have used my newly purchased Arches cold pressed paper for this painting and if everything works out well I may use it as my preferred choice for water colour medium.

Water colour painting of Gurudongmar Lake on Arches cold pressed paper, By Manju Panchal

Gurudongmar lake
Water colour painting on Arches cold pressed paper
Size 7" X 9"

In conclusion, I enjoyed working with Arches cold pressed paper. It has a great textured surface which is ideal for landscape painting and being 300 gsm, it can hold water for long and does not buckle much. I am planning to create a seashore painting next on the same paper. After creating a couple of works on this paper I will be able to understand its quality better.

Thanks for visiting my blog and browsing through my artworks.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Mobor beach, Goa - A water colour painting

"Watercolour is a lifetime pursuit..........mostly uphill." Robert Wade

I love the quote as mentioned above. After having done a lot of charcoal and pastel artworks, I definitely find water colour more challenging, however it has its own advantages. What I love most about this medium is that it gets done fast and I do not have to worry about its getting smudged. I can conveniently store it in a folder.

Mobor beach is a beautiful serene beach in the south of Goa. I visited this beach during the monsoon and enjoyed the views around. It was a cloudy day and the distant trees and mountains got reflected in the still waters. I decided to use water colour medium to capture the mood and atmosphere of the moment.

This painting also gave me the opportunity to paint a cloudy sky and the reflections in the water. I tried the wet on wet technique for the sky and had to be pretty organised and quick in adding the colours. I need to work on many more such landscapes to understand the painting technique. It is more about understanding the paper, the amount of water in the brush and how dilute is the paint. I am loving this medium and plan to continue with it for a few more paintings.

Water colour painting of Mobor beach, South Goa, by Manju Panchal

Mobor Beach, Goa
Water colour painting on Fabriano paper
Size 6.5" X 9"

I painted Vaddi beach, Goa, some time back and to view the same CLICK HERE. 

Presently I am using Camlin artists water colour tubes and am exploring all the different papers that I have in my collection. Over a period of time I have purchased hand made paper, Fabriano , Arches cold pressed paper, Campap and Brustro water colour paper. I may finally settle down for the one which works best for me depending on my technique.

Thanks a lot for viewing my artworks.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

An early morning view at Temi Tea Garden, South Sikkim

"If you hear a voice within you say ,'You cannot paint', by all means paint and that voice will be silenced." Vincent Van Gogh

While in Sikkim, we decided to spend a day at Temi Tea Garden in a homestay. When we reached there it was late evening and the weather was a bit dull and cloudy. The distant mountains and valleys were all covered in fog. Hence the morning sight took us by surprise as we were greeted by a clear sky, bright sunlight and it was a pleasure as we watched the scene change slowly.

Water colour painting, a study work of an early morning view at Temi Tea Garden, South Sikkim

Morning at Temi Tea Estate
Water colour study work on Campap paper
Size 5" X 6"

I enjoyed working on Campap paper. The wet on wet technique worked pretty well on this paper.
Presently I am working on some more water colour study works in my sketch book. After having done a couple of them I plan to create paintings sized 7" X 10" or more.

If you are interested in attending a workshop organised by me visit my ART WORKSHOP page to know more details.

Thanks for browsing through my works.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Gurudongmar Lake and Zero point - water colour study works

"All my life through, the new sights of nature made me rejoice like a child." Marie Curie

The above quote says exactly what I feel while I am in the arms of nature. My recent visit to North Sikkim made my dream come true as I got the opportunity to visit Gurudongmar lake, Yumthang valley and Zero point. Words cannot express the beauty of these places and as I always write in my posts, one has to be there to feel it and live it.

I captured the beauty of north Sikkim in my Camera ( Cannon and Sony ). Gurudongmar lake is the second highest lake in India, at a height of 17100 feet above sea level. It is one of the most beautiful, spectacular and sacred lakes surrounded on all sides by snow capped mountains.

Legend has it that, Guru Padmasambhava ( also known as Guru Dongmar ), touched and sanctified the lake, and thus even in extreme winter, a portion of the lake does not freeze. The lake is also one of the sources of river Teesta, which flows through Sikkim, West Bengal and Bangladesh to merge with the Bay of Bengal.

Given below are a few water colour study works of Gurudongmar lake and scenes from Zero Point in north Sikkim. Study works help me to understand the composition, brush strokes, colour mixing etc so that when late I am trying to recreate the same scene on a larger scale I will know the exact technique to follow.

water colour study work of Gurudongmar lake, North Sikkim

Gurudongmar Lake 
Study works on cartridge sheet
Size 4" X 5"

water colour study work of a scene from Zero point, North Sikkim

At Zero point ( North Sikkim ) 
Study works on cartridge sheet
Size 4" X 5"

After having done the "Study works" where in I tried out different techniques to get the scene as desired, I shall now decide on creating a larger painting on "Arches 300gsm cold pressed paper". 

I purchased a few sheets of Arches paper some months back but have somehow not gathered the courage to start on it. It is an expensive paper and I wanted to have the free and loose brush movements, and a little bit of experience in handling the water colour medium. It is time now to shift from handmade paper to Arches and I will know the difference once I paint on it. I would love to create a "Gurudongmar lake" painting on it soon.

Thank you all for your support and keep browsing.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Step by step -Water colour painting on hand made paper

"The artist does not see things as they are, but as he is." Alfred Tonnelle

It feels good to be blogging once again after a long number of days. I have not painted much for a while as I have been busy travelling. 

The water colour painting that I am posting today got completed last month just before I left home for my holidays. Its a painting which has been inspired by "A Journey to Ladakh". Ladakh is one of my dream destinations and some day soon I plan to visit this place with famuly and friends. The reference photograph for the painting below has been provided to me by a close friend and I am thankful to her for the same.

It is a 11" X 14" painting on hand made paper and I have used Camlin Artists water colour tubes for the same. To view my Palette, CLICK HERE. 


The road to heaven
A water colour painting on hand made paper
Size 11" X 14"

Posted below are the steps involved in creating this water colour painting. I have used both, the wet on wet and wet on dry techniques to complete the above painting.


Step 1. Wet on wet, creating the sky and distant mountains


Step 2. Adding the foreground using flat brush and painting the 
mountain in the foreground using warm colours


Step 3. Adding details on the mountain slopes using
wet on dry technique

While I was away, I carried my small travel sketch book, water colour palette, two round brushes, few pencils and an eraser in order to create some plein air paintings provided I got time and opportunity. Fortunately on some days I did get a good view from the Homestay where we were put up and I managed to create a few small water colour study works. I shall try and post them soon.

In the meantime I am also gearing up to get started with my portrait works. I also have plan to create a few landscapes especially with reference to some beautiful photographs that I took while I was at Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim.

Thanks for browsing through my works and do visit my ART WORKSHOP page in case you are interested in taking one of my workshops to learn the basics of different mediums.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Drawing a portrait on Strathmore Toned gray paper

"To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong." Joseph Chilton Pearce

After having done a couple of "Eye Studies", I finally decided to try out a portrait on Strathmore Toned Gray paper. The gray colour of the paper acts as the mid tone value and I have used the white pastel pencil and the charcoal pencil to create the lighter and darker values.

Strathmore toned paper is acid free, has a smooth texture which works well for my portrait works. Moreover the greatest advantage of using a toned paper is that I need a very few tools around which makes my workplace less messy.

Portrait of a woman on Strathmore Toned paper. By Manju Panchal

The Gaze
Charcoal and pastel drawing on toned paper
Size 4" X 5"

I enjoyed working on Gray Toned paper by Strathmore and would definitely want to use it even in future for my portrait and figurative works. 

Thanks for browsing through my artworks.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Two Women - Charcoal figurative work

"The vision must be sharper than the pencil". Bob Brendle

Inspired by the Indian tradition and culture, I had started a series on "Portraits and figurative works" in 2004. Back then I was a lot into charcoal medium. I have restarted my portrait works and am also working on some of my past incomplete works.

The Charcoal drawing "Two women" has been inspired by the beautiful women of Rajasthan. The painting is an attempt to portray their unparalleled grace and beauty.

The two women, draped in long veils, who stand together, in silence, dressed in their traditional attire, looking on at the distance. 


Charcoal figurative drawing of two beautiful women by Manju Panchal

Two Women
Charcoal drawing on acid free paper
Size 11" X 15"

There are more charcoal drawings such as these and I am enjoying once again, bringing them back to life. Portrait and figurative works are more challenging than doing landscapes. However I love both these subjects and will continue painting both of them.

My works can be viewed on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK page too.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Two more "Eye Studies" on two different papers.

" Drawing is the 'bones' of art. You have to be able to walk before you can run." 
Dion Archibald

Posted below are two more "Eye studies" as created on Canson Bristol and Strathmore Toned Gray paper. I purchased both these papers very recently from Art Lounge. They can also be purchased from ebay India or other online sites.

An eye study on Canson Bristol paper by Manju Panchal

An Eye study on
Canson Bristol XL paper

An "Eye study" on Strathmore Toned Gray paper. By Manju Panchal

An Eye study on 
Strathmore Toned Gray paper

Canson XL Bristol paper is acid free, ultra white and extra smooth. ( 180 gsm ). I used a combination of charcoal and graphite on this paper to create the eye study as above.

I am enjoying working with both these new papers. They are both good in their own ways. Strathmore is textured and being a toned paper I have to use only the white and black pencil to get the different values.

Canson Bristol XL paper

Canson Bristol XL paper

Presently I am also working on some of my old charcoal figurative works which need a little touch up. Will be posting one of them soon.

My works can be browsed through on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK page too.
Thanks for visiting my BLOG.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Drawing "An Eye" on Strathmore Toned Gray paper

"Where words are restrained, the eyes often talk a great deal." Samuel Richardson

When drawing a portrait it is imperative to focus on "Eyes". The eyes bring life into the portrait and they express the feelings and emotions the person is going through. Drawing eyes requires a lot of understanding of the underlying bone structure or rather human skull. Hence to get a better understanding of the eye and to try out my newly purchased "Strathmore Toned Gray paper", I decided to do few eye studies on this paper.

The pencils I have used are very soft Camlin Charcoal pencil, and Cretacolour white pastel pencil. Since it is a study work I decided to spend not more than forty minutes on each of them. The gray colour of the paper acts as the mid tone value. To view the other tools that I use for my charcoal drawings you can CLICK HERE.


Charcoal drawing of "An Eye" by Manju Panchal, on Strathmore Gray Toned paper

Charcoal drawing of "An Eye" by Manju Panchal, on Strathmore Gray Toned paper


Two Charcoal drawings of 
An Eye Study
on Strathmore Gray Toned paper

The Strathmore toned paper has a very smooth surface and yet has a little texture which helps the charcoal and pastel to fix on it well. I enjoyed working on this paper. Whenever I buy a new paper I start off with a few study works because it helps me know the feel of it. I try out all my pencils and other related tools to understand what works best on it. 

After having worked with different papers I have come to one very significant conclusion, ie every paper has a different texture and feel and a pencil which may have worked very good on a different paper may now always work on the new one as well. Therefore it is best to read and research through the net and listen to the advise of other artists BUT when it comes to actually using a pencil on a paper, the safest way is to try it out.

A new paper or a new set of colours is always an exciting experience for any artist. These days I do a bit of study myself on the net before going ahead to buy new art stationery. I have already tried Canson MT for similar works and it is very good. However I read a lot of positive reviews about Strathmore paper and fortunately it is available in Art Lounge or it can also be ordered online through Amazon India.

If you wish to purchase any of my original art or Commision a painting, contact me on my e mail id and I shall get back to you as soon as possible.

Thanks to all the viewers who have been consistently browsing through my artworks. 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

A Figurative Charcoal drawing from the past

"As a child I drew like Raphael but it has taken a lifetime for me to draw like a child." 
Pablo Picasso

I have been organising my paintings lately and while doing so came across some of my old artworks created in charcoal medium. When I first began using this medium, I had limited tools, namely charcoal powder and a charcoal pencil named AMBASSADOR. Using these two mark making tools and a set of beautiful tortillons I went on to create many charcoal artworks.

Today I am posting one of the old works, which needed little touch up. It is a charcoal drawing inspired by the loving relationship between father and son. It is the time spent with the children that creates beautiful memories.


Moment of Joy
Charcoal drawing on paper
Size 8" X 10"

I have titled the above painting as "Moment of Joy" because this image conveys a feeling which probably we have all gone through while we were growing up. It evokes our childhood memories and we try to recollect what it was like to be out with parents and the precious moments that we spent with them. Time moves ahead and we are left with these beautiful memories.

I have been juggling between the charcoal and the soft pastel medium. Both are dry mediums and being self taught, I have experimented and explored both and come up with my own way of handling it. As we continuously work with a medium, we develop a mark making technique that keeps evolving with time. The way I create each stroke be it in charcoal or pastel, now defines my works. 

Portrait and figurative works have always appealed to me and I am glad that I am finally making a serious attempt at restarting it. So my paintings now will be inspired by "People and Places". I will continue my landscape painting as well.

Thanks for browsing through my works.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Annual sale at Art Lounge, Art Stationery shop at Churchgate, Mumbai

"Painting is by nature a luminous language." Robert Delaunay

Art lounge is an art stationery store at Churchgate, Mumbai and they are currently having their Annual sale which ends on 16th of April, 2017. I went there couple of days back to buy my soft pastel and charcoal products. Since they have their sale catalog online it helped me to shortlist the products.

I am listing a few things that I purchased this year. Until last year I was working more on black coloured Canson MT paper. But my recent landscapes on twilight shade turned out equally good. Therefore I added a few sheets of mid tone Canson MT sheets.

My final list of products that I purchased are as follows

  • A few Canson Mi Teintes sheets. ( Mostly mid tone colours )
  • General Charcoal and General white pastel pencil.
  • Few Kohinoor Toison Dor pastel pencils
  • Kneaded erasers
  • Kohinoor graphite pencils
  • Canson Bristol XL sheets ( Purchased this to try out my graphite works )
Cabson bristol xl paper












  • Strathmore Toned Gray ( Pad of 50 sheets ) I have used the Strathmore black paper and loved it a lot for my portrait works. Therefore decided to buy this one to try out my charcoal and pastel portraits on it.
Strathmore Toned Gray papers ( 50 sheets )












As with any other artist, I already have a big collection of papers, pencils, brushes and other products at home. Therefore I did not have to purchase as much as I did in the previous years. 

I am excited about the two new papers that I have purchased namely Strathmore and Canson Bristol. I have read a lot of good reviews about them so am confident that it will all work out good.

Apart from Art Lounge, the other Stationery stores that I frequently visit are Himalaya Stationery Mart  and Art Station. 

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.