Thursday, 20 July 2017

Rocks and pebbles at the beach - A water colour painting

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

In my last post I mentioned about my newly purchased Arto Campap Cold Pressed paper ( 300 gsm ). I created a small water colour study of "Rocks" on it. I have been photographing close up of rocks since very long but never really got into creating an artwork referring to it. Rocks make an interesting subject to paint as it helps understanding the shape, shadow and textures on its surface.

I kept my water colour palette limited to just three colours, namely burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and paynes grey. Burnt sienna and ultramarine blue when mixed in different proportions create beautiful shades of grey. In fact these two are the maximum used colours in my palette.

Working on textures was lot of fun, though I need to improvise on it. In all this was a quick experimental work and it was an exciting experience. I am waiting to create some more works where in I will get to work on rocks.

An original water colour painting of rocks on Arto Campap CP paper by Manju Panchal

Rocks and pebbles
Water colour painting on Arto Campap CP paper
Size 3.5" X 4"

In the past I have created charcoal drawing of "Rocks under the water" using my charcoal tools
I do get tempted to pick up my charcoal tools once again and I will do that eventually, however for now I want to spend some more time working with water colour medium.

Thank you all for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Selecting the right water colour paper

"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop." Confucius

While browsing through Winsor and Newton official site, I came across some interesting facts put together in a very simple language regarding selecting the right water colour surface for water colour paintings. I am sharing these on the blog for all water colour enthusiasts.


An ideal amount of absorbency allows the colour to sit on the surface of the paper rather than sink into the paper itself. The right amount of absorbency facilitates the reflection of the maximum amount of light, making the colours of your artwork all the more vivid.


White papers produce the brightest images whilst coloured papers are used for opaque or juxtaposition techniques.


To ensure that your work will stand the test of time, you will need a stable surface upon which to work. Long term stability comes from papers being acid free.


After exploring a wide variety of papers in the past few months, the one paper that I have definitely liked is CAMPAP. I have managed to create a few good paintings on its surface and am pretty satisfied with the effects too. However what I presently have is the 200 gsm version. Therefore I went ahead and ordered ARTO CAMPAP 300 gsm cold pressed paper from

Arto Campap watercolour paper CP 300 gsm

The paper is pure white in colour and has textured surface on both the sides. I created a brushstroke on small test piece sized 1" X 4" on both sides and the images of the close up of the paper is as below.

The textured surface on Arto Campap cold pressed water colour paper

Textured surface on one side
of Campap 300 gsm CP paper

The textured surface on Arto Campap cold pressed water colour paper

Textured surface on the other side
of Campap 300 gsm CP paper

Many artists say that either side of the paper can be used. Its a personal experience and choice. Looking at the textures as above I would personally prefer the lower one which is more smooth as compared to the top one. 

If you are into water colour paintings I would love to know which is your favorite water colour paper and why?. Do leave your reply in the comment section and I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for visiting my blog. If you like my works please share.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A water colour painting of a view at Pangong Lake, Ladakh

"The only way to deep happiness is to do something you love to the best of your ability." 
Richard Feynman

Yestersday I watched a documentary on Richard Feynman, an American Theoretical Physicist and was very inspired by his life, works and philosophy. I went through some of his quotes and have posted one of my favorites to share it with all of you.

Today I am posting my third water colour study on Fabriano Artistico CP paper. I am beginning to like this paper. The subject that I have chosen is yet another beautiful view at Pangong Lake in Ladakh. At 14,270 ft above sea level, it is a stunning lake in the Himalayas and offers some great views for artists, photographs and nature lovers.

I worked a little slow on this painting and was more patient with the colour mixing, especially of the distant dry barren mountains. For the ocean I have used ultramarine blue from Camlin and Cerulean blue colour from Winsor and Newton Cotman series. I purchased the Cotman series quite some time back and now am putting it to use as some colours have started drying up.

A water colour painting of Pangong Lake by Manju Panchal

At Pangong Lake, Ladakh
A water colour painting on Fabriano Artistico CP paper
Size 5" X 7"

I am also posting the initial stage of this painting where in I have just completed the first layer of colours for the background and the lake. For this particular painting, I tried to keep the painting procedure very simple. I finished the lake in one layer itself.

Initial stage of painting Pangong Lake, Ladakh on Fabriano paper

Initial stage of the painting
At Pangong Lake

Thank you for browsing through my works.

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Gulfoss Water Fall , Iceland

"A man paints with his brains and not with his hands." Michelangelo

My today's post is a small water colour study inspired by Gulfoss waterfall. I have used a reference photograph taken by my husband while he was in Iceland. It is my second water colour study on Fabriano CP 300 gsm paper. 

Painting a waterfall, unlike seashore and other subjects, is a tricky affair. The brushstrokes have to be in the direction of the flow to suggest movement. This was a new subject for me, however I gave it a try. After completing it I did a little self evaluation and came to a conclusion that if I were to try a "Waterfall" again I would go in for a few changes in my techniques. 

Trying out different subjects in any medium is fun. Some subjects can be more challenging than the others, however it is a fun learning process and I am enjoying every moment of it.

A water colour painting of Gulfoss waterfall on Fabriano Artistico paper

Gulfoss waterfall
Water colour painting on Fabriano CP paper
Size 5"X 7"

In this painting apart from using my normal Camlin water colour tubes, I have made use of my Winsor and Newton palette as the Cerulean blue shade in Winsor and Newton is very vibrant and beautiful.

Thank you all for taking out time to browse through my artworks.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Trying out Fabriano Artistico 300 gsm Cold Pressed Paper

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary." Pablo Picasso

As I mentioned in my last post that I am in the process of trying out different water colour papers available to me. One of the last papers on my list was Fabriano CP paper. So I finally tried out a painting on Fabriano cold pressed water colour paper. The water colour painting as below is a quick study work of Pangong Lake in Ladakh. 

I have not yet been to this heavenly place but have used reference photograph provided by a close friend. I am grateful to her and all other friends who keep sending me some great photographs of nature in order that I can continue to stay inspired in my art journey.

Since it was meant to be a study work, I did not really pay much attention to the distant mountains and its shadows. I completed it in a short span of forty minutes or so. In my next painting I will have to be more careful about the anatomy of mountains and perspective which is very important in landscape painting and I struggle with it all the time.

A water colour painting of Pangong Lake in Ladakh

Pangong lake
Water colour study work
Size 5" X 7"

Fabriano Artistico 300 gsm paper is a great paper to work with. It has good water retention capacity and is acid free. I purchased a single big sheet and it is water marked "FABRIANO + ARTISTICO" on its shorter side. I will continue to work on it for some time before making my choice between Arches and Fabriano. Both are used internationally by water colour artists and each artist finally makes a personal choice regarding the selection based on different factors.

What I am looking for in a paper is 
  • It should have good water retention quality
  • It should be acid free
  • It should be a professional quality paper
  • I should be able to life off the colour easily from the paper
  • It should be readily available in nearby stores
So far I have tried out Brustro, Campap, Strathmore, Arches CP, Fabriano studio quality, Fabriano HP and Fabriano CP. After another few paintings I will be able to shortlist either one or two of my favourites which work best for me. In the meantime the exploring and experimenting shall continue.

Thanks for browsing through my blog.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Road to Gurudongmar Lake, North Sikkim - A water colour painting

"You start painting the moment you look at the subject, not with the first brushstroke." 
Joseph Zbukvik

The last stretch of the road that leads to Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim passes through a dry barren landscape and offers breathtaking views. The dark grey road against the pale surroundings, leading to the distant snow covered mountains looks majestic. The beauty of nature cannot be explained in words. We have to be there to see it, feel it and get inspired by it. 

As quoted by Artist Joseph Zbukvik, you start painting a beautiful scene the moment you set eyes on it. This scene appealed to me a lot and that very moment when we were travelling through this beautiful terrain, I had decided to paint it some day. I enjoyed working on this painting and used my newly purchased Paynes grey colour ( Camlin Artists water colour tubes ) for the road.

A water colour painting of road to Gurudongmar Lake, By Manju Panchal

Road to Gurudongmar Lake
Water colour painting on handmade paper
Size 11" X 15"

Posted below is the initial stage of the painting where in I have blocked in the simple basic shapes using diluted colours. Once it is dry, I redo the second layer adding the right values and details where ever necessary.

Initial stage of water colour painting, Road to Gurudongmar Lake

Initial stage of the water colour painting
on hand made paper

As mentioned in my last post I am in the process of trying out Fabriano CP 300gsm paper. I plan to create a few small study works to understand the paper. Later if I like the paper a lot, I shall continue using it for my future works too. 

I conduct art workshops from time to time to teach the basics of different mediums and to share the techniques that I use to create a painting. If you wish to attend one of them you can mail me at and I shall get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank you for browsing through my works. 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Benaulim beach, Goa - A water colour painting

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

Some time back I created a water colour painting of a solitary palm tree at Benaulim beach, Goa. I enjoyed creating that painting and therefore decided to do one more on a similar subject. This time I selected a close up of the tree with its leaves spread out and the sea waves in the background. As I mentioned in my last post, Campap paper is working good with me so I have used it once again for this water colour painting.

While doing the leaves in the painting as below, I worked on "Colour mixing" in order to get the right greens. When it comes to colour mixing, I have realized that no amount of reading helps. It's only when I actually begin a painting and try out various permutations and combinations, that I learn a lot. Theory is great but practice teaches a lot more.

In conclusion, every time I start off a new painting, I keep a test strip of the same paper with me where in I try out different colour combinations that I desire. This step by step approach really helps me a lot. For a warm dark green I combine sap green and burnt sienna. For the rest of the greens I use various options of blues and yellows.

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

A Palm tree at the beach
Water colour painting on Campap paper
Size 5.5" X 8"

In the last few months I have been working exclusively in water colour medium and have tried out many different papers. One last paper that I need to work on is "Fabriano Artistico cold pressed water colour paper." I have already worked with the hot pressed version and I loved the paper. However for landscapes I think a little texture will be of great help.

Thanks for visiting my blog and do visit my INSTAGRAM page to browse through my latest works.