A chat with Jackson’s Art about Unison Colour Soft Pastels

Back in November, I had a call from Unison Helen. “Would you be happy to go to Jackson’s Art HQ and talk about our pastels?” she asked. My answer was a resounding, “Yes, of course!”.

Jackson’s Art is my favourite art shop and the chance to visit the store and see their beautiful art studio was my idea of a dreamy day out!

Train ticket booked and very early alarm set, I travelled up to London on a chilly Saturday in November to meet Hayley and Darius, the creative film duo at Jackson’s Art. Liza Takahashi was there too, with a selection of FAQs on soft pastels. Liza is their fantastic blog writer, we had worked together back in 2014 to create a piece about my animal portraits.

You can read it here…

Profile photo of Nina Squire.

Pastel Artist Nina Squire and her love of animals – Jackson’s Art Blog

Pastel Artist Nina Squire tells the Jackson’s Art Blog all about her life as an animal portraitist.


I’ve been admiring Jackson’s Art Studio on their social media so a chance to visit it in person was so lovely. The space is everything I dream of, high ceilings, beautiful light from large windows, the essential arty Belfast sink and art paraphernalia steeped in creative history.

Lots of materials at Jackson's.

It’s always a little nerve wracking talking to a camera but Liza put me at ease and it was just like an arty chat over coffee. I had brought a selection of my favourite art materials and recent artworks, including my favourite seascapes and colours to show some of the techniques I love using with pastels. I particularly wanted to make sure that I showed off the versatility that I love about Unison Colour Soft Pastels. I’d also requested a pack of Jackson’s Arts Sanded Sample pack to show the difference they can make to your artwork.

I spent a lovely day with the team and I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to leave. Here’s me in my dream studio.

Nina Squire at Jackson's

Those that know me well will know that they have had to edit out lots of pastel chat. The one top tip that didn’t make the cut? If you ask ten different pastel artists, then you’ll get at least ten different answers. I hope you’ll agree that my Jackson’s Art video covers just enough to get people started. There’s so much more about pastels I love and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Here’s their video – I hope it covers all of your pastelley FAQ’s. Fingers crossed, they’ll invite me back for Chapter two!

#thepastel8 Visit to Thorneyburn

A fabulous day was spent at Thorneyburn last Friday in the company of Fiona Carvell, Michelle Lucking, Nina Squire, Cathy Pierce, Lynn Howarth, Meral Altilar, Lucy Brangwin and Rebecca de Mendonça.

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6 Responses

  1. the information video by Nina Squires about using soft pastels is brilliant. So many useful ‘how to’s’ delivered so well by Nina. Only thing i would have like added was how to store your completed pastel painting and how to frame them.
    thank you

  2. That was an excellent, informative video, thank you Nina Squires and Jackson’s Art. Plenty advice without over loading, well paced and easy to follow. I like the way all aspects are covered including the safety bit in respect of pastel dust.
    Unfortunately in the past I was let loose on walls with @unisonpastels. Being in such a state of excitement I guess working on such a massive scale and using only the very best! I grew careless and so have become hyper sensitive to pastel dust, common sense sadly did not prevail! I would like to add to Nina’s good advice take extra care when brushing the dust of textured surfaces. The heavier particles will have already dropped below the surface but the tight accumulation of fine particles when brushed are invisible to the eye unless observed across a beam of light. They curl and swirl in all directions depending on draft and air currents like steam so is very easy to breath. I also always brush in opposite direction and either into a bin or even out of the window! Yes I too always have a damp cloth to hand. Im still a bit dodgy with that cuppa!
    I also found the section on papers particularly useful and will go for that Jackson’s pack to see what might suit best. Cant wait for chapter two! Thanks again.

    1. Yes, I agree, they are a joy to use and I often get carried away! I’m glad you enjoyed the video and thank you for your lovely feedback. You’ll love that selection pack, looking forward to seeing what you create with it. Happy pastelling. Nina Squire.

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