Unison Dark Jewel Pastels
Trees at Postbridge, Devon
The painting opposite was inspired by a line of trees standing out against the sun on a warm fall day. We walked for about six miles, hopping from bog to bog, because it had rained for the previous few days. We were hoping to cross the waterfall on the East Dart River, but the river was in full flow, so we had to retrace our steps.
It was on the way back that I spied these trees and took some photos. I thought the subject would work really well with my box of Unison Dark Jewel Pastels.
Unison pastel production began in the 1980's by John Hersey, artist who felt that factory made pastels were somewhat lacking. Although factory production has grown, the pastels are still hand made to John's recipes, using earth and synthetic earth pigments. The box of 18 Dark Pastels comprises some of the earthiest colours.
Unison Dark Jewels
The 18 stick box of dark jewel pastels has three main colour tones. The top row ranges from red, through brown to dark khaki. The middle row ranges through blue to dark yellow greens, whilst the third row ranges through deep blue violet to almost blue black. The set is, quite straightforwardly numbered DK 1 -18.
The dark pastels set has been an invaluable addition to my basic set of pastels, which does have four or five darks, but that small number presents a 'this or that' colour option; by which I mean the artist is forced to ask the question, do I use dark blue or do I use dark purple? The aditional set provides a range of dark tones within a colourway. For example, when creating the painting of a line of trees at Postbridge I used the full range of dark blues, plus some of the dark greens, finally adding a few touches of dark red/brown wich is a complementary colour for all the blues and therefore lifts the whole painting from being muddy.
Lifeguards Relaxing at Trebarwith Strand, Cornwall
The lighter colours in that piece were from the Landscape pastel set.
In the painting 'Lifeguards Relaxing at Trebarwith Strand in Cornwall' I used the dark pastels range almost exclusively for the rocks, especially those in the foreground, which allowed me to depict them realistically and with depth and yet still keep the focus of the painting on the Atlantic and the Lifeguards. Much of the sea is also painted using Unison Darks.
This pastel set has been such a useful addition to my ever expanding range of materials, that I don't know why I didn't buy them sooner!