Cathy Pearce’s Colour Wheel Set for the Complete Practical Colour Theory Course

The aim of the colour wheel set is actually to help you learn the basics of colour theory and not as an ultimate set of colours with which to paint every picture. As you will probably already have experienced, although you can change a colour, it’s very easy in this medium to make a colour more dull, it is very difficult, in fact impossible, to make a colour brighter. With this in mind this set of colours also gives you the bright, saturated version of the main colours which will be a really useful accompaniment to your existing pastel collection. The black, white and four greys will allow you to make tonal sketches in advance of your paintings in order to achieve all the correct tonal values when choosing your final palette.

I was lucky to have 4 years at art school at a time when colour theory was the first thing we were taught, it was all practical based using oil paint to mix our colours so we could see all the magic happening first hand. Specialising with pastel I realise that many new pastel artists and students don’t have any specific colour knowledge and if they haven’t ever used pigment in liquid form then they might not have any experience of mixing colours at all. With this in mind I knew it would be really useful to create a series of tutorials and workshops solely looking at colour theory for pastel artists.

So my starting point for these tutorials and workshops was to create a set of Unison Colour pastels which would best reflect the colours of a traditional colour wheel. So I spent much time perusing the Unison colour charts, my full collection and trying out various experiments until I came up with the final 12. I then added a white, a black and 4 tones of grey which had to be as neutral in temperature as possible to use for mixing.

We will look at;

Making your own pastel colour wheel reference, greyscale and colour value, colour temperature, choosing a colour palette, defining, describing and changing colours and finally colour relativity.

These are all essential elements required for making successful and balanced paintings.

When you have watched each of my videos you will gain much more experience and knowledge if you actually try these experiments for yourself as there is no better way to learn than to actually do it in practice. These experiments will then become good reference material for you to keep together in a sketchbook or on your studio wall. You won’t remember every detail so keep these results at hand then gradually over time you will realise that you’re putting this information into practice automatically, it just requires practice.

You can view and purchase the Colour Theory course and Colour Wheel set here…

Complete Practical Colour Theory Course for Pastel Artists in 6 Essential Lessons, with Cathy Pearce 1

Complete Practical Colour Theory Course for Pastel Artists in 6 Essential Lessons, with Cathy Pearce

Almost 3 hours of video tutorials solely looking at colour theory for pastel artists.

Although I am as interested in the history and the science of colour as I am the practical application, I have focused solely on the practical theory for these pre-recorded tutorials. My in-person course of colour theory workshops does cover more detail in the science and history of colour during our 6x 3 hour sessions. For more information about my work using Unison Colour Soft Pastels please head to my website where you can sign up to my monthly newsletter.

Enjoy using your new Colour Wheel set of pastels!

Anti-Twilight Arch

I feel particularly blessed to be living in the Wiltshire countryside with its huge open spaces and beautiful sweeping plains. Also I feel incredibly lucky to be living in a position where I see this view of what we locally call Oliver’s Castle.

Nessie’s Sunset

I am really excited to be sharing this blog with you. The view is looking over the western side of the North Tyne Valley, towards Dallycastle in Northumberland.


Colour is the element of my work which is remarked upon most of all. In fact I have many followers who tell me that they look out for my new posts as they find my joyful use of colour so up-lifting.

#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.

My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold A Rainbow In The Sky

The first difficulty in depicting a rainbow in pastel is not the rainbow itself but rather the treatment of the pastel dust in the underlying layers so that the beauty of the rainbow’s colours sit resplendent on top.

Dexterity and Mark Making

How we use and hold our pastels will determine what amazing marks we will make. Eventually, with practice and discovery through play, this will create our style.

Associate Artist Recruitment

Are you a pastel artist? Do you use Unison Colour pastels? Would you like to be part of our Associate Artist family?

Breaking Pastels

Who would believe what possibilities and potential lie inside these neatly wrapped lozenges of colour? They are essentially chunks of pure dry pigment, more intense in colour than any tube of paint.

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2 Responses

  1. Wow! What a fabulous tutorial from Cathy! It’s was clearly delivered covering all aspects of the Colour Wheel and how to use it! I spent the whole Bank Holiday weekend looking and learning from each lesson.

    I have a colour wheel that I purchased a couple of years ago but had no idea what all those black lines, geometric shapes and terminology meant! It is great spinning the layers around but if you are unaware of its purpose it just gathers dust. Now it ALL MAKES SENSE to me!

    Now inspired to have a physical go at creating my colour learning experience, I’ve purchased the pastel stick set. I’m going to get a spiral paper pad and do it myself. My learning style is ‘Pragmatist’, like to see and understand before putting things into action. Cathy is right you need to do your own colour wheel and it will help you to remember HOW to make colour work for you. Thank you so much Cathy and Unison Colour Pastels. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

  2. Thank you for leaving a comment Wendy. I am thrilled that I have enabled you to understand the colour wheel and can anticipate your sense of achievement as you get your fingers dusty with lots of glorious colour working your way through the practical exercises. Have fun as you see the colours emerge and change, working their magic with each other in various ways just as they did for the impressionists! Your colour confidence will grow with each section. Well done and best wishes, Cathy

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Anti-Twilight Arch

I feel particularly blessed to be living in the Wiltshire countryside with its huge open spaces and beautiful sweeping plains. Also I feel incredibly lucky to be living in a position where I see this view of what we locally call Oliver’s Castle.

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