Moleskine Sketchbook page : Toucan and Orchid

Moleskine Sketchbook pages -Leopard

sketchbook page - leopard - jungle

Got some moleskine sketchbooks the other day, love the pages! Here is my first entry, felt inspired to make some textures to get the look of a jungle. This is with a pigma brush pen, love the fuzzy edges it makes.

Journaling page

Sketchbook Journaling page

Journaling pages

Horse chestnut tree in early summer

Here are some of my journal pages, I write in a Leuchtturm 1917 A4 size book with a Lamy fountain pen, I love the feel of the pages a lot.

Horse chestnut tree sketch

On these pages I took some notes from

Sketchbook pages- succlucents garden

Tried to make a pleasing arrangement of various succlucents:

Plants sketches

Sketchbook page

Sketchbook pages

Sketchbook pages

Sketchbook pages

More sketches and forms

Today’s sketches, hope you like them:

Sketchbook page

Foliage dappled light

I was doing yoga when I saw this pattern of light and shade made by the tree on the wooden floor. As I was staring at it there started to appear the most beautiful glittering colors in the light areas. I ran to get my sketchbook and some faber castell metallic pens, here’s the result:

Foliage dappled light

New sketches

Today I tried to make some new forms, hope you lile them:


Finished painting – Adventure of the Soul

Birthday present for my 12 year old son, Aryaman, showing his Natal chart and a few inspiring lines from Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri:

Part of what the Soul of Savitri says to Savitri:
☀️I guide man to the path of the Divine
And guard him from the red Wolf and the Snake.
I set in his mortal hand my heavenly sword
And put on him the breastplate of the gods.
I break the ignorant pride of human mind
And lead the thought to the wideness of the Truth;
I rend man’s narrow and successful life
And force his sorrowful eyes to gaze at the sun
That he may die to earth and live in his soul.
I know the goal, I know the secret route;
I have studied the map of the invisible worlds;
I am the battle’s head, the journey’s star.☀️

Watercolor and pen on paper

Painting Size: 22″×15″

Zodiac signs


World map illustration

The earth and the stars..

Have not been able to do much on the painting, yesterday was my son’s birthday and I had been busy baking muffins; so.. I am late with his present, I hope to finish it within this week. The compass I want to do in antique chrome, add gold accents whereever I can for his natal chart, some nice calligraphy and strengthen these first washes and get a good feel of an old, worn and lost mysterious map:

World map

Sketch for ‘Adventure of the Soul’

Lines are from the epic poem ‘Savitri’ written by yogi Sri Aurobindo which I read every night. It deals with the transendence of man and the emergence of a gnostic immortal superman race upon earth explained through a sweet myth about how the heroine conquers Death in order to save her husband and bring him back to life. I opened it at random with thoughts of my son, and it opened to this page with the lines “I know the goal, I know the secret route; I have studied the map of the invisible worlds; I am the battle’s head, the journey’s star.” They are said by the Soul of Savitri (the heroine) to Savitri. It fits in seamlessly with the theme which I have envisioned and I have included them here.

World map illustration

World map illustration

Home is where the heart is

A quick sketch from the painting on my coffee tray, its a print from one of the golden age illustrators, I am not exactly sure who though:

Home is where the heart is

Concept for my new painting – Adventure of the soul

I am thinking of doing a painting as a gift for my child whose 12th birthday is coming up. I am so proud of him. I made some thumbnails, I think I am going to integrate his natal chart too into the design somehow:

Thumbnail sketches

Color study – morning rays

I did a color study of a distant mountain range catching the rays of a rising sun. I treated it very simply, separating the light side from the shadow side. The color of the shadows are in the violet range, complementary to the warm, golden light on the light side. There are two tones both in the light side and shadow side, that of the light snow and the darker mountains.

Distant mountains in morning sun

‘Color Strings’ and More studies – Diamant und antik Messing

I have done a few more – of a diamond, a lamp casting light on the ground and of an antique brass sphere. Cut diamonds have sharp planes, this is the only material in which I felt comfortable using the wet on dry method. The squares in the middle of the page are dry brush, the rest are in the wet in wet technique which gives soft edges. The pool of light gradates from light and warm in the inside to darker and cooler outwards. The brass has mixes of raw sienna gradated from cool on the top with ultramarine blue which gives the texture to warm on the bottom side with a bit of hansa yellow medium and winsor orange to neutral on the right hand side. All the mixes have a warm neutral tone mixed into them which I have already premixed on my palette recently. I have tones and darks (both opaques and transparents) leaning towards yellow, red, pink, violet, blue, cyan and green!! I have seen oil painters use premixed colors called ‘strings’ to make painting easier and quicker. It’s not possible to mix values beforehand in watercolor but I have thought of this version, and it works! I am very pleased with myself for thinking of it, it avoids a lot of hassle makes it pain free to gradate from warm to cool.


Material studies.jpg

Material studies

My color palette

My Color Palette

Check out this link here to learn more about ‘color strings’ :

I was quite fascinated when I saw images like this in google search. I think Frank Reilly invented this system.

Some hints on painting various surface materials

I did some more studies and I specially like the way the way the last pink floating ball has come out. It is of a matte surface in outdoor light. Matte surfaces absorb light and have a uniform gradation from light side to shadow side. Here, the color gradation is also visible from orangish on the left, sunlight side to a slightly more saturated pinkish salmon tone at the centre and more of a reddish violet on the right top side which is catching the skylight. The bottom shadow side shows a bit of the reflected light of the green grass hitting it from below which also gradates from left(warm) to right(cool).

Reflective surfaces reflect light from light sources as well as other surfaces around them and values on them jump suddenly and donot have a uniform gradation. Highlights are sharp and take on the color of the light source except for metals (gold always keeps a dull yellow highlight, copper an orangish one..regardless of color of light source)

Translucent surfaces allow light to pass through them partially. As the light passes through layers of tissue in a grape, the light becomes more chromatic on the other side as it picks up the color of the material. The shadow is very slight, maybe a sliver across the middle. In semi transparent colored glass (maroon ball) the colored light spills out on the other side and makes for a light reflection in the cast shadow.

Pearls have all kinds of pastel colors bouncing off them, no deep shades. Soft highlights.

Every material has its own way of absorbing and reflecting light which gives it its own unique visual appearance.

Material studies

Material studies

Material studies

Just doing some quick and messy color studies of different materials and textures – trying to see in a broad way and figure out the values – what makes a grape look translucent, a pearl iridescent, surface of a cherry highly reflective, a polished ball (in grey) highly glossy , a matte surface (also in grey) look , well , matte; dull ,relective sheen of an onion, an orange… not that satisfied, will try to do some more:

Material studies