The Magic of Dark Skies Exhibition

The Magic of Dark Skies Exhibition 1

16th March – 12th May 2024

10am – 4pm

The Sill – The National Landscape Discovery Centre

The Magic of Dark Skies celebrates the spectacular majesty of dark skies we find all over the world. From Northumberland to Norway, Devon to Maine, the night sky is a source of infinite inspiration and wonder to all. Six artists: Matilda Bevan, Stephen Fuller, William Morrison Bell, Lyn Asselta, Kristin Holm Dybvig, and Amy Shuckburgh, were invited to respond to the dark skies they reside beneath using soft pastels handmade by Unison Colour. The stunning pieces on display in this room are the result of this, beautifully commemorating the ten-year anniversary of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park.

Nestled within the heart of the National Park, Unison Colour hand-makes soft pastels to recipes and methods which have changed little over the past forty years. The colours we make were inspired by the clarity of light and subtlety of colour found within the landscape, impelling the artist John Hersey to create a medium that would hold colour in its purest, most intense form. The landscape continues to inspire us to this day, and not only in daylight hours. Northumberland is home to Europe’s darkest skies thanks to its vast, pristine landscapes and low levels of light pollution. On a clear night you can see thousands of stars, faraway galaxies, and even meteors, solely with the naked eye.

To honour a decade of Northumberland’s International Dark Sky Park, Unison Colour welcomed colleagues from the Northumberland National Park to our studio in Thorneyburn where, together, we created a bespoke Dark Skies palette of 18 soft pastels for the artists to use within their works. Cornflower blue, coral pink, and acid green contrast with deep navy and purple: the essence of the night sky distilled in 18 colours. Each artwork in this room is a reflection of the artists’ inner self, as well as the respective dark skies they were inspired by. Much like the night sky, they are distinct and varied, but are united in their appreciation and respect of the night sky. Throughout this exhibition is a unifying thread that winds between the art, the artist, and the viewer – the collective awe and admiration we feel is a reminder that we share the same sky, wherever we look up to it from.    

Following the launch of the exhibition, Lucy Brangwin wrote an amazing blog about the experience of the Dark Skies, and chats with the artists involved. The blog is broken into three parts, linked below…

The Magic of Dark Skies Exhibition 2

The Magic of Dark Skies: An exhibition in collaboration with Unison Colour and the Northumberland Dark Skies Park – Part I

The Magic of Dark Skies Exhibition 3

The Magic of Dark Skies: An exhibition in collaboration with Unison Colour and the Northumberland Dark Skies Park – Part II

The Magic of Dark Skies Exhibition 4

The Magic of Dark Skies: An exhibition in collaboration with Unison Colour and the Northumberland Dark Skies Park – Part III

An Interview With The Interviewer

Today we are turning the tables, and talking to Stephen Fuller, an Associate Artist both known for his atmospheric and dramatic landscapes, and his in depth interviews of other Associate Artists.

Interview With An Associate Artist: Nel Whatmore

In today’s ‘Interview with an Associate Artist’ we’ll be chatting to Nel Whatmore.  Nel has been a professional artist for 35 years and is the joint founder of the New Pastel School with Rebecca de Mendonça.

The Necessity of Touch

Touch. How often do we think about it as we paint? As a pastel painter, touch isn’t just about the feel of the materials or the hand of the papers used…

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