Creative expression with Unison Colour black, white and grey toned pastels.
Colour! That beautiful word that sums up so much in mood and emotive response. However, the wonderful world of shade, tone and line that using black, white and all the subtle shades between have a purity to expression that most certainly equal, if not surpass, paintings created in colour.
There is no hiding with paintings and drawings created with black and white media. The viewer has to be captivated by a composition that works with shade, tone and line to create the drama, mood and ambience and so on, to create an emotive response to a subject that an artist using colour can evoke in a much easier way.
The world of colour, particularly in painting, is an exciting one. But equally so are the drawings and emotive responses to subject by artists who choose to use drawing media.
For the artist like myself who revel in creating atmospheric drawings using a variety of black and white drawing media, graphite and so on to express what I feel and have very much an inner need to paint and draw, my drawing media has to be top notch.
The expressive drawings, monotone and limited palette mixed media drawings I create with carefully selected media, sit alongside colourful paintings on an equal merit as they win awards too. Unison Colour pastels are most certainly a media I frequently use in such mixed media drawings.
The backbone to everything I do as an artist is based on good solid drawing – drawings created with expression. The materials I choose have got to be the best. As such they give me flexibility and freedom with what I can and do create and instil confidence in my work. It’s very true – you pay for what you get.
The creative process is ultimately limited when selecting cheap and inferior art materials – especially when it comes to pastels. Cheaper brands may be attractive in price but there are big compromises with what you want to achieve. Pigments are never as bright, most are really dusty because cheep of fillers used alongside the poor quality pigments in assembly. Furthermore stick, pencil and block prove difficult and disappointing to work with being very gritty and break far too easily leading to lots of frustration. Colour choices are often limited too.
Unison Colour pastels are none of the above. The superior hand made pastels come in a really broad range of fabulous colours and use the highest quality pigments in ratio to binders when hand rolled and labelled offering an expert finish.
The pastels are just the right consistency and size in round ‘stick’ format being neither too hard or too soft. It’s no wonder pastelists globally are so switched on to Unison Colour pastels. Personally, I am proud to represent this great British company as an Associate Unison Colour Artist.
Patrons who buy and collect my work instantly recognise the quality in my work. Fundamentally, each and every work of art that I create has been created with confidence based on the superior products chosen. Using Unison Colour pastels in any capacity is always exciting and rewarding in all aspects of my art and reap so many rewards in use.
One such accolade (and indeed honour) was when the Editorial Director of ‘Search Press’ publishing company released ‘Drawing Dramatic Landscapes’ – my first book with the publishers which was launched in May 2021. The book is also the first in the publishers ‘Innovative Artist’ series which makes it an extra special publication too.
The 166 page publication is packed with numerous pastel paintings, with step by step guides, my ethos and approach together with an in-depth analysis of chosen media used too.
The success of the book sales so far and creative content is due in part not just for my enthusiasm for creative exploration with a huge variety of drawing and painting media but also down to the quality of materials used to create the expressive drawings which feature throughout the book.
A two year project in the making Drawing Dramatic Landscapes features exciting en plain air landscape drawings, pastels and mixed media work together with lots of studio approaches too.
The Unison Colour black and white pastels I always use for my beautiful and expressive black and white pastel paintings are Grey 1, 2, 9, 10 ,11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18, Carbon Black 1 and 2, Dark 21, 22, and 23, Grey 34, 35 and 36, Additional A31, A32, A33, A37, A49, A50, A51, A52, A53, A54 together with the lighter whites Light 1 and Grey 28. This selection of top quality Unison Colour pastels cover all of my ‘monotone’ expressive drawing needs.
You will notice that there are some very subtle blue and purple tones in much of this selection on Unison Colour pastels. The inclusion of these wonderful subtle soft pastels work brilliantly well when working with mixed media – particularly my favourite seasonal subjects which include Autumn and Winter landscapes. I revel in these seasons! The structure of the landscape is revealed in all its glory when the leaves fall. When the first snows appear the sharp contrast between black and white linear forms in the landscape have me up and out as often as I can – Unison Colour pastels with me. They are quick, easy and compelling to use and get the essence of the subject expressed on paper in really exciting ways.
When time allows I’m always looking for further exploration of my subjects where I use Unison Colour pastels in combination with other media which include Acrylic Inks, Gouache, Watercolour, Charcoal and other drawing and painting media. The rich tapestry of layering I create in my paintings when combining such media together creates real depth and exciting expression.
The velvety combinations of Unison Colour pastel used together or with other media are wonderful. the examples as extracts from ‘Drawing Dramatic Landscapes’ show just how perfect they are to use creating positive outcomes each and every time.
I particularly like the way Unison Colour pastels create and express textures in landscape so beautifully and easily. The pastels seem to glide across the surface and when worked with more vigour hold together without breaking, inspiring confidence in mark making.
One of the first things I do with my Unison Colour pastels (as with other pastels too) is to remove the wrappers. However, before I do I make a little swatch colour on a separate colour chart I’ve created myself for the full range of Unison Colour pastels, and add the colour in place. It’s a bit like stamp collecting I guess and yes, after 30 years of using Unison Colour pastels I do have the full range!
The actual swatch has the added benefit that I can see at first hand the EXACT colour I need without any concern that a chart I see on the internet (computer calibration etc) would create any doubt with a selection I would make when restocking and buying multiples again of my favourite colours.
With the wrappers now removed, I’m free to use the pastels on their sides and edges to create the maximum amount of mark making with these sumptuous gorgeous pastels. Broad sweeps of Unison Colour pastels on their sides are like working with chisel brushes that are loaded with pigment and thus both painted marks and rich pastel marks are sympathetic to one another.
Layering one media over the other has other advantages too. The interchange between thin glazes of watercolour, opaque layers of pastel and other dry media such as charcoal and gouache paints add amazing depth to mixed media paintings. There is a continuous push and pull with spontaneous mark making and then careful consideration periods during the creative process with each and every expressive painting. Unison Colour pastels inspire quick changes to be made with loose and broken stumbled marks of areas of rich and heavy saturation with vigorous applications of pastel media in different areas of the painting.
Unison Colour fixative holds the pastel in place and also helps create further layering with textures of scumbled and open mark making. Again, for most of these I use the Unison Colour pastels on their sides. Unison Colour fixative when heavily applied (as with any brand of fixative) makes the pastel marks darker. I have leant to use this to my advantage to deliberate use it in this way to increase the tonality of Unison Colour pastels even further.
This technique is particularly effective with masking techniques and to create a lighter and darker area juxtaposed to one another and indeed blends of rich saturated darks in shadow areas for example. Later in the year we will be adding a video to the Unison Colour Pastel Academy featuring all of these expressive drawing techniques together with careful masking so you will be able to watch and learn how paintings combining these techniques are created in that exciting video.
Unison Colour black, white and grey pastels are really amazingly versatile – not only as media used together but when used with other media too. What’s been featured is only really the start! There is no doubt that once you start to use the full range of Unison Colour black white and grey pastels as I have you too will discover their amazing quality, dexterity and exciting visual mark making capabilities.
By working with such a top quality pastel range that Unison Colour offer you will have the confidence to let the pastels take you on a wonderful journey of creative discovery with rewarding outcomes. They most certainly do for me regularly both in the studio and outdoors as featured for you in my Search Press publication ‘Drawing dramatic Landscapes’.
Drawing Dramatic Landscapes Author Robert Dutton Recently published by
Search Press ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782217589
Available here on the Unison Colour website, in all good leading book retailers and online at Amazon.