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Interview with Jennifer Thorpe - Winner of Unison Colour Product Prize

17 March 2017


"I didn’t start painting until about 18 months ago, I was good at art at school but wanted to become a hairdresser & I suppose at the time didn’t believe in myself. In the latter years, I couldn’t focus on art as I was also working as a receptionist & just didn’t have time to paint, until one day I decided I wanted to become a full-time artist & wanted to attack art in a big way."

What led you to use pastels?

When I first saw Zaria Forman's work I was completely blown away & I couldn’t get it out of my head. I wanted to do something like that, it really inspired me & got me thinking about the planet & looking at things in a different light.

"I had never used pastels before. In the beginning, I used pencils & charcoal. I attended an art class once a week but didn’t really get to use pastels so I bought myself a cheap set and had a go. They were disappointing so I invested in some unisons and the difference was massive, I haven't looked back. I love the fact that you can instantly put the pastel onto paper. Initially I didn’t want to break them up as they looked so lovely but now I do & I use the tiny pieces and sharp edges to draw in the detail on my paintings".

What is your favourite subject to paint?

 "I love painting seascapes & recreating the moody colours. You can paint the same scene over and over and it would be different every time. The colours change constantly, for instance the light on the sea in my painting "Luminosity" was the most amazing pink, but only for a couple of minutes in real life and then it was gone. I think people always feel a connection to the sea & it’s very therapeutic."

 What are your plans for the future?

 "I am very driven & enjoy making really big pictures, I just love the freedom of using the space & making them as big as possible. I want everyone to enjoy the beauty of nature around us & if I can help make that happen with my paintings that makes me happy".

"This year so far has been a whirl wind of good things happening!" 

 How did you feel to win the Unison Colour Product Prize?

"First, I couldn’t believe that one of my pieces had actually been chosen to be in the exhibition in the first place & I didn’t understand initially how difficult it is to be accepted. My husband & children came with me to London & my daughter went up to my painting straight away & said 'Mum it’s got winner next to it’, I was nearly in tears & it still feels unbelievable that I have won, & to receive 144 Unison pastels was fantastic"



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