Our manager, Dan Hersey, recently had the very pleasant job of visiting the Annual Show of the Pastel Society at the Mall Galleries in London, and awarding a special prize from Unison Colour. The Pastel Society is a registered charity widely recognised for it's success in promoting and encouraging the use of pastel within the contemporary art world.
The Society was founded in 1898, and the first exhibition held in the Royal Institute in Piccadilly. Founder members and early exhibitors included Brangwyn, Degas, Rodin, Rothenstein, Whistler and G.F. Watts. There are currently over fifty-five Members who are professional artists living and working in this country and abroad. Technical skill, originality, innovation and enthusiasm are all assessed before Membership is granted.
The Society is currently responsible for organising exhibitions, tutorial workshops, demonstrations and lectures throughout the UK. The Society's major showcase is the Annual Exhibition held at the prestigious Mall Galleries in London. This is open to entries from both Members and non-members with awards being given to notable works.
Workshops and demonstrations are also an essential part of the exhibition. Dan remarked on how impressive and varied the array of pastel work was. It was difficult to choose a winner.
Having looked around the entire exhibition four times, he finally decided to award the Unison Colour Prize to Jan Munro, for a collection of three works entitled 'Red Chair with.....', after having been initially attracted to 'Red chair with White Flowers' in particular, because of the exciting use of colour, bold mark making and the integrity of the composition. Jan Munro is a contemporary artist working and tutoring in Buckinghamshire.
She responded to her prize saying, 'I was thrilled to receive the Unison Award at the Pastel Society preview. I have always used Unison Pastels because they have a lovely creamy consistency and the colours are so vibrant. I work with broad side strokes laying on thick Pastel and the Unison Pastels suit this style. I recommend them to my students and to our local Art shop.
The paintings that won your prize were done on Sennelier Pastel card (dark grey) and were based around 'the Red Chair'. I wanted to flatten the perspective and concentrate on the colours and tones, with subtle variations within a simple complementary colour scheme, like turquoise and orange.'