Sunday, 31 May 2015

Study sketches of landscapes from Himachal Pradesh

Soft pastels is a great medium to work with and one can easily get addicted to using them. I had decided some time back to shift to acrylics on canvas but then changed my mind as I am enjoying my recent works based on my visit to Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh. I have a whole lot of reference material in the form of photographs and sketches that I created on location and the places there are so amazing that I cannot resist myself from painting them.

Given below are images of some study sketches that I created on canson paper sized 3" x 4". I create a whole lot of study sketches but I do not necessarily enlarge all of them into actual paintings. I get selective. The ones which appeal a whole lot to me in terms of composition and right values become the reference as my next subject for a bigger painting which normally by my standard is 6" x 9".

Thumbnail sketches or study sketches of landscapes from Himachal Pradesh by Manju Panchal

Study sketches of landscapes from Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh

As I stated above I may not use all my sketches to create bigger works, however I take care to preserve all of them in a folder by protecting each of them with a butter paper in between so as to avoid smudging of pastels. Sometime in future you never know, one of them may come in use.


Saturday, 30 May 2015

Painting another scene from Nako village

Just completed another soft pastel painting of a street scene in NAKO, the beautiful town in Himachal Pradesh.

This was a scene during the morning hours when we were walking around the narrow lanes of Nako appreciating the beauty of the surroundings.

The houses in Nako are very different and have a unique character.The walls are made of stones and mud. It was interesting to capture the texture of the walls. Since I am new to this subject , I decided to just focus on the composition and values and therefore did not spend much time on doing the details in the foreground.

Original soft pastel painting of scene from Nako in Himachal Pradesh, by Manju Panchal

The morning light
Soft Pastel painting
Size 6" x 9"

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Nako, a heritage village in Kinnaur valley, Himachal Pradesh

Nako is one of the most picturesque villages of Kinnaur valley. ( 11500 ft ).The houses are beautiful made of stones and mud. The roofs are constructed with a layer of skinned out Eucalyptus tree trunks which are layered parallel to one another and dried out hay too is used in between. Prayer flags and stones with religious scriptures is a common sight.

After having done lot of landscape paintings, this time around I decided to paint a typical village scene in Nako using soft pastels. It was around 10 am and nice and bright day.The houses and the lane in between were in shadows which made for a good composition. It was so much like an architectural drawing and I tried to get the perspective right. Since this is my first townscape kind of a painting I restricted myself from overdoing the details.

Original soft pastel painting of a morning scene in Nako village, by Manju Panchal

Nako village
Soft pastels on Fabriano paper
size 6" x 9"


Monday, 18 May 2015

My Fourth Solo Art Exhibition at Gallerie Leela 22nd May to 28th May

Everyone is invited to my
Fourth Solo Art Exhibition  at Gallerie Leela ,
The Leela Kempinski, Andheri East.

where I will be exhibiting
some of my favourite paintings as created in the past few months
Influenced and Inspired by the eternal beauty of Nature.
Medium : Soft pastels and Charcoals.

Fourth solo art exhibition by Manju Panchal at Gallerie Leela, Mumbai


Created the invitation using Moldiv app on my i pad
You can click on the above link to see a video which shows the use of Moldiv App. 
( COURTESY You tube )


Framing of my pastel paintings

Every artist follows a particular pattern of framing his or her works. What works best to enhance the beauty of the painting matters the most. I decided to keep an off white mountboard around the art work before framing it under the glass.

The frame used is mostly vandyke brown coloured fibreboard frame, the thickness of which depends on the size of my painting. These frames are lightweight and very durable and I know this from experience as I have been using them for years now. For my charcoal works I have replaced the brown frames with the black ones.

Given below is the image of three of my framed paintings, all done in soft pastel medium.

framing of original soft pastel paintings by Manju Panchal using offwhite matt board and fibreboard frame.

Framed soft pastel painitngs

For my future art works I would love to experiment with directly framing the painting under glass ie by providing a spacer between the painting and the glass. With a spacer in between the pastel particles will fall below and the painting will not touch the glass. 

My paintings can also be seen on my facebook page www.facebook.com/charcoalspastelsandmore

I have also become a member of Fine art America and my paintings are on the page


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Centai Kok - White sandy beach of Langkawi

Given below is a small study work done in soft pastels on red coloured Canson paper. The beach is Centai Kok from Langkawi, Malaysia. Langkawi island is in the north west of Peninsular Malaysia and has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We visited almost all the beaches on the island as we had hired a car and that made it very easy for us.

Instead of the normal black or dark brown coloured paper, this time I chose a red coloured paper to see its effect on the overall painting. Little red of the paper shows through in the painting and I feel its ok as it adds a little warmth at places. Overall I feel using a complementary colour at times is not a bad idea.

Original painting of a scene from Centai kok, a beach at Langkawi, done in soft pastels by Manju Panchal

White sandy beach
Soft pastel painting on Red Canson paper
Size 6" x 9"

Painting a beach scene has been a different experience altogether as now I have the sky element which in turn will have clouds. Must try out more such compositions where a major part is sky.


Friday, 15 May 2015

Painting a waterfall in charcoal

This particular painting of waterfall in charcoal medium was done by me quite some time back but I had framed it behind the glass leaving no space in between. At that moment of time I was unaware about the right framing technique. But now I know that it is best to keep space between the painting and glass. Therefore I opened up the frame, managed to take a close up photograph and now I will be framing it with off white mountboard around it. 

It is a lot of hard work to reframe a painting but framing a painting the right way enhances its look manifold.Moreover for the durability of the art work ( to avoid fungus and deterioration over a period of time ) one has to follow the right technique. As I paint and sketch everyday, I get to learn lessons. About framing, about the right composition in a painting and about so many other aspects with respect to art. 

charcoal painting of a waterfall by Manju Panchal

The waterfall
Charcoal painting on Canson paper
Size 11" x 18"

A beautiful Quote that I came across recently,

"Three things you can't recover in life:
The word after it is said,
The moment after it is missed,
and the time after it is gone."



Wednesday, 13 May 2015

One of my last paintings for my upcoming Art Exhibition

For my upcoming Fourth solo Art Exhibition at Gallerie Leela, I had set a target of certain number of paintings and I have just about completed it.Now it is time to look into the invitation cards and framing of my artworks.

Therefore I can now take a break and indulge in other study works in different mediums which I am longing to do since long. One thing which is definite on my mind is to try out a landscape in my way on canvas using acrylic paints. I have done landscape paintings in acrylic paints earlier but it was mostly the technique of applying thick acrylic coats. What I want to try out now is using Camel acrylic paints in slightly dilute form.

The image below is a scene from Coorg while we were taking a walk. Everyday we would look out for a new path or road and then walk for miles soaking in the beauty of the surroundings.This road had a climb uphill and was densely populated with trees and shrubs on either side. 


original soft pastel painting for art exhibition at Gallerie Leela by Manju Panchal

Walk in the forest.
Soft pastel painting on Fabriano paper
Size 11" x 15"

I made a decision to stop working on this painting after a point of time so as to avoid over usage of colours. I may add a few touch ups just before framing.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Charcoal drawing of a bird in flight

"I don't say everything, but I paint everything." Pablo Picasso

The image below is a charcoal drawing of a bird in flight. I created this work quite some time back on Scholar drawing paper using a black charcoal pencil by Ambassador. I cannot find this pencil in any of the stationery stores these days.

Presently I am using Camlin soft charcoal pencil and charcoal powder for most of my charcoal art works.

Charcoal drawing of a bird in flight by Manju Panchal

Bird in flight
Charcoal painting on Scholar drawing paper
Size 7" x 10"

My works can be seen on INSTAGRAM and DEVIANTART too.


Saturday, 9 May 2015

On the way from Tabo to Dhankar monastery ( Himachal Pradesh )

The soft pastel painting below is of a view that we got to see while we were on our way to visit Dhankar Monastery from Tabo ( Another scenic town of Spiti valley ). Spiti valley is a bleak high altitude desert that inspired Rudyard Kipling to say, "Surely the gods live here, this is no place for men." Every turn of the road leads to a totally different view and life seems to be so much at peace.

The mountain cliffs with light falling on them, eroding with time as the loose soil falls below leaving sharp structures standing out, and the Spiti river flowing below.

Soft pastel painting of a view on the way from Tabo to Dhankar Monastery, By Manju Panchal

On the way to Dhankar Monastery
Soft pastel painting on black Fabriano Tiziano paper
Size 6" x 9"

Some day soon ie after my Exhibition I would love to try some water colour paintings.
One of my favourite and very inspiring water colour artists is Joseph Zbukvik
who is based in Melbourne, Australia and all his works are just amazing.


Friday, 8 May 2015

Another view from KOMIC village in Himachal Pradesh ( Spiti valley )

"To draw, you must close your eyes and sing." Pablo Picasso

The soft pastel painting below is from another view as seen from KOMIC village in Himachal Pradesh. ( 4513 mts elevation, one of the highest villages in Asia ). From this particular view the snow clad mountains could be seen at a distance. The otherwise barren land surprisingly had little vegetaion on its slopes and we also found patches of snow at some places. It was the month of June so the snow was in its melting stage.

Komic village is close to Kaza and from here we went to Kumzum Pass. I have painted a few scenes from Kumzum and wish to do some more.

Soft pastel painting of a view from Komic village in Himachal Pradesh by Manju Panchal

Way and Beyond 
Soft Pastel painting
Size 6" x 9"

My signature can be seen on bottom left of the painting and it is done using a black pastel pencil.

Thanks for browsing through my works. More of my works can be seen on Instagram.

Trees and shadows from a reference photograph from Perth

This soft pastel painting was an unplanned one. A friend who was on a holiday in Perth and who knows about the subjects that I am always painting, sent me a picture of this scene from a tourist location and it appealed to me a lot. So just took a quick decision to paint it.

Under normal circumstances I take time to decide regarding my subject that I am going to paint.
The idea takes shape in the mind and then passively I start upon a step by step procedure that I would follow to execute the art work. Finally when I am sure about the mental picture that I have developed in my mind then I start off with my thumbnail sketch and then the actual painting.



In the shadows
Soft pastel painting on canson paper
Size 6" x 9"

My paintings can also be viewed on my facebook page www.facebook.com/charcoalspastelsandmore
If you have any inquiry wrt to purchasing my artworks you can write to me at

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Roghi village near Kalpa - soft pastel painting

Roghi village is a small village about 8 kms away from Kalpa. The road leading to this village is a cliff hugging one way road with spectacular sights on the way. Once we reach the village we have to park our vehicle outside itself and enter the village on foot. The houses are all built on slopes ( I shall paint one of the traditional houses soon ) and the village is green with trees, barley crops, apple orchards etc.

Given below is a soft pastel painting of a view as seen from Roghi village. Normally I have been using the Tobacco and black paper of Canson Mi tentes, but this time I decided to use a light coloured paper as shown below.

Canson Mi tentes, Moonstone paper

Canson Mi tentes 
Moonstone paper

Landscape with mountains done using soft pastels by Manju Panchal


View from Roghi village
Soft pastel painting on Canson paper
Size 6" x 9"


Saturday, 2 May 2015

The snow peaked mountains as seen from Kalpa ( Himachal Pradesh )

At an elevation of 2960 mts above sea level, Kalpa is a beautiful town in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. This town is located at the base of Kinnaur Kailash snow capped ranges.
The spectacular view of the cold desert mountains from Kalpa is absolutely amazing.

I have made an attempt to make a soft pastel painting referring to one such scene from Kalpa that was visible from our Hotel. The photograph that I used was pretty washed out version, but since I was there and I have seen it all, I added the colours keeping in mind the values and the aerial perspective.


View from Kalpa
Soft pastel painting on canson paper
Size 6" x 9"

I photographed the painting along with the mat board. Now it needs a glass on the top before framing it using a fibreboard frame.