My Unison Pastels

I have enjoyed making marks on paper since discovering my mother’s notebook and pencil, aged 4. Like most children, I drew a little house. The thrill of seeing a blank page suddenly come to life has stayed with me and I have been painting on and off ever since. I was often given a paint by numbers kit as a birthday or Christmas present and I naturally turned to oil paints for my early creative attempts. Impatience to get something finished the same day made me try watercolours and for many years these and latterly watercolour pencils have been my favourite mediums.

Twelve years ago, I joined an art class in the local village hall, with a tutor who painted in watercolours in a very precise, almost photographic style, by tracing the subject and then transferring it to her paper. I followed her method and produced some accurate but flat and lifeless scenes.  I felt constrained and asked if she ever did any work with pastels, but no, she didn’t like them as they were too messy, and you couldn’t be precise enough with them. Then one day the class visited an artist in his studio. I was taken aback by the impressive painting of a breaking wave on his wall; I could ‘feel’ the spray and the water running around my feet. I felt I should go back to painting in oils and asked him whether this was painted using water-based oils. “No, it’s pastel” he said! Well, that did it. I saw an advertisement in “Paint” magazine for Unison pastels and bought a small selection of colours for my own version of a wave.

Wave, in pastel.
Wave

I had an old pastel pad that had been my mothers and the following day I tried them out on a quick sketch of a beach and took a photograph of the late afternoon sky to work on at home. I had an acceptable painting in under an hour and loved the whole experience of using them.

My Unison Pastels 1
Burnham Beach

This was the sky that I painted the next day.  I enjoyed the way the soft pastels blended but without losing their underlying colour; this looked a much more realistic sky to me than my attempts with watercolours.

I have gradually built up my collection of Unison pastels and painted various subjects, still life, landscapes and flowers.

But I mostly paint sea and sky and that has become my favourite subject.

A pastel painting, looking out to sea, with the sun not far from the horizon.
Evening Light

I still use watercolours occasionally and I have always taken them on holiday with me because they are so easily portable and don’t take up much room. Then last Christmas I had a present of the Landscape set of Unison pastels. I found the composition of them and the way they could be used for bold ‘washes’ of colour made it really speedy to put down the basic shapes, which suited my new style of painting. Earlier this year I took my Landscape set off to the North Norfolk coast and did this painting of the marshes.

 

My Unison Pastels 4
Stiffkey Marshes

This was done only using the Landscape Set of 8 pastels and I’m so happy with it. The range of shades and tones from those 8 pastels means I will definitely be taking those on holiday with me in future

I have produced other paintings with the 70 plus pastels that I own and I’m so pleased with them I can’t imagine using anything else.

 

My Unison Pastels 5
Bluebells

If you enjoyed reading this…

Please consider subscribing to our mailing list to receive updates about our Associate Artists, and any other Unison Colour news, and exclusive offers.

Use the buttons below to help spread the word.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Blog Posts

My Unison Pastels 6

My Painting Journey with Pastels

While appreciating art as a viewer, I remember sitting, for what it looks to me hours and hours, modelling for my mother’s paintings while my brothers were playing.

My Unison Pastels 7

Bailey: The Artist’s Experience

3 Artists write about their experiences of taking part in the 5 Day Pastel Challenge, painting their own version of ‘Bailey’ by Sue Kerrigan-Harris.

My Unison Pastels 8

Exploration

The dictionary defines a journey as an act of traveling from one place to another. This would seem to imply a start and an endpoint. For me, as an artist, there really is no ending to my travels.

Tray of broken red Unison Colour pastels.

Fragility and Brokenness

Having recently joined the Unison Colour community as an Associate Artist, I was excited to interact with other pastellists in Unison’s Facebook Group. Early on, I was intrigued by the comments on a fairly sad posting.

COVID 19 INFO

Please note that during this period, we can’t allow visits to our premises.

Got a Question?

Then ask Away...

Please don’t hesitate to send us any questions, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
If you’d rather send us an email, please get in touch at:

Or give us a call on +44 (0)1434 240203

Trade/Sales Enquiries

For sales enquiries, including trade, please contact us as below:

UK

liz@unisoncolour.com or call Liz on +44 (0)1434 240203

China and Russia
Europe
North America
ROW (Exc. China and Russia)

login