Friday, June 23, 2006

Unison Pastels - Yellow and Yellow Green Earth

These two Unison pastel sets are Yellow and Yellow Green Earth. The Yellow set is the one set where I've lost a pastel. It's somewhere in Italy on the border between Tuscany and Umbria!

None of the Unison pastels have names. They all have code names based on the set they belong to eg Y = Yellow and YGE = Yellow Green Earth.

Most sets have 18 different hues and tints of that hue - and the pastels are then numbered 1-18. I find this makes it very simple to keep your pastels organised in their related colours if kept in their original boxes - which is what I do.

On the whole, I've not come across many pastel brands sold in the UK that have a good strong pigment rich sunshine yellow - Unison is one of the few that provides such a shade with Y10. It was used along with other pastels from this set in "Spring Flowers and Pomegranate" which you can see at the end of this post.

Yellow Green earth is a really interesting set of quite muted colours which I like very much and find very useful in quite different settings - both in the UK and overseas.

I've yet to complete a painting using just this set but it's one of my ambitions to do so as the different hues work so well together.

The final image is Spring Flowers and Pomegranate which is 25.5" x 19.5". This was completed using Unison Pastels on Rembrandt Pastel card.

You can see this work and more flower paintings done using Unison Pastels in the Flowers Gallery on my website.

I've included below the websites of Heaton Cooper (based in the Lake District) where I've got most of my Unison Pastel sets and the distributor in the USA. To give you an idea of how much they cost, Heaton Cooper's on-line prices for a set of 18 Unison pastels is £27.50. Richeson, the USA distributor is pricing most individual sticks at $5.25. And yes, pastels are expensive, but these ones produce excellent results and will last you a very long time.

[NOTE: Apologies to those getting this sent to them twice. The pictures disappeared on Firefox and I needed to republish]

Related websites:
Pastels and Pencils - Flowers Gallery
Heaton Cooper
Jack Richeson & Co Inc (USA distributors)

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  1. I absolutely love the drawing you posted here! So lively and sparkling! I've never, ever been drawn to pastels myself, because I struggle against my own messiness and I think pastels would bring out the worst in me in that regard. But you've knocked me off the straight and narrow a couple of times in the past months--you may yet do it on this score, too!

  2. Laura - your style of drawing is made for pastels - you'd love them. Try them on abrasive support which is much less messy.

  3. Hi Katherine, I thought I might duck out after lunch and see if I can find your missing pastel LOL.

    Serously though, your pastel work is tempting me too, but I think I will concentrate on learning to sketch for the next year or so.


  4. I love trying out different media, and these look so tempting, but the cost! I always feel with pastels or coloured pencils (as opposed to paint) that I must buy the very biggest range because you can't mix or dilute like you can with wet media.

  5. Ciao Robin - I think it fell off that wall by the terrace if that helps!

    Julie - there are some good starter sets around and Cass Arts in London (Charing X road / back of the National Portrait Gallery) always seems to have sales of good sets - and some are in half sticks which means you get more colours for less pastel. Pastels are definitely the way to go for people who like dry media. If you're a brush person you'll probably get on less well with them. I'll comment further in future posts re the mixing thing.

  6. This is a lovely still life Katherine. The color palette is so appealing and the whole piece very light and exquisite.

  7. Katherine I Love viewing these photos of your Unison Pastels. I find the yellow and green earth colors really exciting. Fresh sets of Pastels have always done that for me...they instantly make me want to paint!! Notice I said paint.... I have a wonderful box of earth color Senelier pastels someone gave me as a gift that I rarely touch...more of a brush person I guess.
    The still life is lovely and I enjoyed viewing the other flower pictures on your website...especially the Ranunculus!!

  8. Has anyone seen a website that compares the 'same' painting done c Unison c another manufacturers' brand? Are they truly worth the extravagance?

  9. Well I've been googling Unison pastels for years and I've never seen one. However I do think you can rely on the opinion of experienced artists - and a lot of us like these pastels very much.

    They're also not so much of an extravagance when you look at the number involved in a set of colours and the size of the pastel. However it depends what you're comparing them to.


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