Hello friends and fellow artists, my name is Manish and I am from Maharashtra, India. I would like to introduce myself and about my art journey with a beautiful quote which has always inspired me. “The creative adult is the child who has survived” – Ursula K. Le Guin.
As human beings, we all have a creative soul. I consider myself fortunate to have my origins from the lands of Ajanta and Ellora. Having visited these places numerous times was for sure a source of inspiration. These places are a manifestation of the fact that creativity and art is something that has been with us since the beginning of our existence.
My journey with art and watercolor started as a kindergartner. A close friend of mine, who used to draw and paint very well was another source of inspiration. We used to draw together with chalk on floors and driveways. That was a start of my art journey. Spending afternoons drawing and painting with my friend was a daily ritual. As a part of art classes in school, we all used watercolor because they are fun to work with. In those days we did not have washable colors like my kids do now.
As I grew up, the time came in my life, like everyone else, when we decide, what we want to do with our lives. Like a typical Indian family where kids are supposed to become engineers or doctors if they are good in other subjects, I chose to become an engineer.
In those days, I also enjoyed engineering drawing classes more than any other subjects. Drawing the sketches of geometrical objects was fun. I won many friends by helping them with their engineering drawing assignments. The numerous nights spent with those friends drawing huge sheets are still a part of phone calls with them. We all miss our college days, right?
In those days, I also used to sketch my friends’ portraits and actors from magazines. After entering a professional life as a software engineer and getting married, I lost touch with art for some time. But then one day, while cleaning a closet, my wife found my old sketches rolled in a container, accidentally. She was impressed and happy to see those sketches. Until that time, she had no idea about my secret creative life. She encouraged me to start drawing and painting again and promised to help me with time to follow my passion. She is amazing, she also insisted I join art classes and get formal training. And finally, I resumed my journey again.
Now, I live in the United States and paint almost every day. Apart from drawing and painting, I read lot of books, blogs. I am thankful to all those people who take time out of their hectic life to share their hard-earned knowledge and experiences through their blogs. I recently took a weeklong class for figure drawing at a local art gallery.
About My Inspiration
I love the light and shades and the magic it creates in nature. Be it buildings, roads, lakes. With all my work, I try to capture this magic. I believe transparency is the power of watercolor and it is a great tool to create that magic on paper. I tried different mediums like color pencils, crayons, acrylics, but freshness and transparency are the qualities, that make me come back to the medium of watercolor.
I tried to draw digitally with gadgets, but honestly, I did not enjoy it. The stickiness of pigments, the roughness of a watercolor paper, touch of brush is what I enjoy. The moment we sign a finished artwork, the moments when we remove the masking tape from a painting are as magical as sunshine. I want to live those moments again and again. That is the reason I go back to my easel every day. It is that process that enriches an artist in me. It is a meditation for me.Painters who paint in a loose style inspire me lot. I follow a lot of artists from all over the world.
I try to paint loose and am having a little success with it. Most of the time, I draw from reference photos. I use my own photos taken while traveling. Sometimes, I just go out and roam around the town. Downtown is my favorite place and every time it gives me a new subject to paint. Even after visiting numerous times, I feel there are a lot of places yet to be explored.
I never start painting without a value sketch. I try to understand value structure with a sketch, simplify by removing what is unnecessary and finalize composition. It can be done with a mechanical pencil or ball pen. Sometimes, I draw 3-4 sketches and choose one which I like.
While painting I try to minimize the number of big shapes and connect them with big washes. Try to achieve three values high, low and medium throughout the painting. Usually like to paint cityscapes, beautiful houses and shadows on them.
Leaving the white paper randomly where I want to show bright lights and using dry brush to draw highlights or calligraphy stokes like branches of the tree or powerlines are some of my favorite techniques.
I bought my first set of Escoda brushes recently. I’ve wanted to buy them for a long time, so it was like a dream came true. I read lots of good reviews about the quality of these brushes from reviewers and artists and I can vouch for that. These are the best brushes I have used so far. The amount of water they hold really helps when you are painting big landscapes.
I have been using Da Vinci brushes for around 3 years and they are equally good. When you are a beginner, it is difficult to choose supplies, particularly brushes. You want to have all of them, but a set of brushes like this can give you a head start on your journey. If you are a beginner and confused about brushes this is set it for you.
1. Winsor & Newton Cotman travelers sketch box – I was using Winsor & Newton Cotman travelers sketch box for a long time. They are good quality colors for the beginner and economical as well. Convenient if you want to go out to paint.
2. Sennelier: After getting some confidence about my strokes and my work, I wanted to experiment with artist quality pigments. So, I did some research and decided to try Sennelier. I have been using it for almost a year and very satisfied with it. It is a wonderful experience to paint with artist grade colors.
Always 140 lbs., 100% cotton. I experimented with various brands of watercolor.
The rough texture of 100% cotton paper favors my painting style. All of these four brands handle the washes very well: Saunders Waterford, Arches, Fabriano Artistico, Winsor & Newton.
Palette & Sketchbooks
John Pike Palette: I usually paint landscapes with big washes, and it is great to have big mixing area. This plate has two big mixing areas and I have using it for several years happily. For sketchbooks, I like Artists Loft.
I am grateful to Charlie and the Doodlewash community for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself.