Sarah Honywill

I stumbled into art relatively late in life with the help of a box of handed-down Swiss Carb Othello pastels bought in the 1950s by my husband’s impossibly chic aunt. They just seemed to work for me and I gladly swapped the warm embrace of office culture for one of cold studios, warm people and creative freedom.

I live in Plymouth, a gem of a city facing out into the Atlantic Ocean, Cornwall on one side and 250 square miles of Dartmoor to the other – I’m never short of inspiration.

My subjects tend to be natural still life – a pomegranate looking delectable, a defiant lobster on ice or water gently lapping again pebbles and fallen leaves in a Dartmoor stream. I generally work in ink pigment and chalk and oil pastel. Pastel for when I feel more ‘painterly’ and ink when I want more definition and a cleaner line.

Unison & Carb Othello pastels are perfect for what I do – just the right texture, nicely ‘oily’ and the colours are rich and fathomless. For me, choice of pastel is a very individual thing, too chalky and they are unyielding and hard work, too soft and they crumble to dust the moment pressure is applied. A trip to the art suppliers to choose from drawers of colours is an indescribable joy.

The ink pigment is applied dry to the paper and water added at the end of the process – if at all. There is nothing quite like coming to the end of the first stages, standing back and seeing the picture come out of the paper – colour, line and light and the intangible something which drew you to the subject in the first instance combine together to become something so much more than the sum of its parts.

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