The Magic of Dark Skies 15 March – 12 May

The Magic of Dark Skies is a new exhibition at The Sill: Landscape Discovery Centre celebrating dark skies for the tenth anniversary of Northumberland International Dark Sky Park. 

Six national and international artists were invited to create new artworks under the theme of dark skies, using a specially created set of pastels to celebrate the anniversary. The exhibition honours the spectacular majesty of dark skies around the world – from Northumberland to Norway, Devon to Maine, the resulting works confirm that the night sky is an infinite source inspiration and wonder.  

The Dark Skies pastel mini set contains 18 soft pastels. Colours were carefully selected by staff at Unison Colour and Northumberland National Park and reflect the essence of dark skies. Colours range from cornflower blue, coral pink, and acid green to high contrasting deep navy and purple. 

The resulting artworks reflect the artists’ inner selves, as well as the respective dark skies where they are from. Much like the night sky, the works are distinct and varied, but are united in their appreciation and respect for the night sky, wherever they are from the world. 

The Dark Skies pastel mini set is available to purchase in The Sill shop. 

The exhibition runs from 16 March until 12 May. A selection of student artworks inspired by dark skies will also be on view.  

Unison Colour 

Nestled within the heart of Northumberland National Park, Unison Colour, hand-makes soft pastels to recipes and methods that have changed little over the past forty years.  

The colours are inspired by the clarity of light and subtlety of colour found within the landscape, compelling the artist John Hersey to create a medium that would hold colour in its purest, most intense form.  

The landscape continues to inspire us to this day, and not only in daylight hours. Northumberland is home to Europe’s darkest skies thanks to its vast, pristine landscapes and low levels of light pollution. On a clear night you can see thousands of stars, faraway galaxies, and even meteors, solely with the naked eye.  


The artists

Exhibiting in The Magic of Dark Skies

William Morrison Bell

William Morrison-Bell is a Northumberland born artist who uses a variety of media including pastel, charcoal, watercolour, and pen and ink. Born in 1956, he has a degree in English literature, and subsequently worked as a lawyer in industry until 2017.  After retiring he returned to Northumberland where he has combined running a farm with a patient and determined art practice.  He began drawing in the early 2000s and later started working in colour first through the medium of soft pastel (Unison of course!), and, most recently, using oils. His work is more concerned with a sense of place and an emotional response to the landscape he inhabits than with realism or photographic precision.

Artist William Morrison Bell

Artist William Morrison Bell

Stephen Fuller

Stephen is a professional pastel artist predominately based on the North Coast of Cornwall who became a full-time artist after a 30 year career as an aircraft engineer in the Royal Navy. As well as an artist he is also a sea kayak and kayak fishing guide.   He is additionally a former member of the Institute of Physics, a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Physicist with a particular focus on astrophysics and meteorology.  Stephen’s atmospheric and mood filled pastel seascapes and landscapes reflect both a deep love of the romanticism associated with the ocean / British landscape and a scientific understanding of the interactions between light and matter.  He currently splits his creative time between his studios on the North Cornish Coast and on the edge of the Trossach mountains in Scotland.

Artist Stephen Fuller

Artist Stephen Fuller

Matilda Bevan

Matilda Bevan lives and works in Northumberland.  She completed her Certificate of Fine Art at The Ruskin School of Drawing, University of Oxford in 1978 and the Turps Correspondence Painting Course in 2019.

Solo exhibition: Vein, The Granary Gallery, Berwick upon Tweed 10th February – 5th May 2024

Recent exhibitions include: The Dovecote Street Show, Amble, Northumberland 2023; The Morality of Attention, Terrace Gallery, London 2023; The Common Language of Green, St John’s Church, Healey, Northumberland 2022; Newsprint Open, Three Works Gallery, Scarborough 2022; Silent Disco, Greystone Industries, Suffolk 2021;  A Numinous Line, Wall North Contemporary, Hexham, Northumberland 2021; I Didn’t Lick It, Bruton Correspondence School, Somerset 2021;  Every Day, Terrace Gallery, London 2020.


Lyn Asselta

Lyn Asselta has considered the landscape her muse since she was a child.  Growing up on the coast of Maine, where weather often changed by the minute, the effects of atmosphere on land and water were an everyday, mesmerizing occurrence. That fascination has kept her occupied for decades while living along the Atlantic ocean and intracoastal waterway in northeast Florida and in the Smoky mountains of western North Carolina. As of 2019, she once again calls Maine home. She’s spent a lifetime reveling in the rich details of the natural world and she draws from her love of nature when creating her paintings.  Her chosen medium of pastel allows her to extend her tactile sense of communicating with the world into the painting process at her easel.

Asselta’s paintings have been exhibited throughout the United States and have been included in invitational exhibitions in France and China.  As a workshop instructor, she has taught in Canada, Curaçao and extensively across the USA. She is an IAPS (International Association of Pastel Societies) Eminent Pastelist, a Pastel Society of America Master Pastelist, a member of the Salmagundi Club of NYC, a Master Pastelist with the Southeastern Pastel Society, and is the founder and past president of the First Coast Pastel Society in northeast Florida. In 2009, Lyn was selected as an Artist in Residence at Acadia National Park in Maine.  Her work has been featured in art publications including Pastel Journal, Plein Air Magazine, and Pratique des Arts magazine (France).  Her landscape paintings and process have been included in several books on the pastel medium and plein air painting.

Kristin Holm Dybvig

Kristin Holm Dybvig (1963) is a Norwegian painter. Her works are primarily created in soft pastel that allows for exceptional degrees of intensity and fluidity in her abstract artwork and opens up for lyrical interpretations.

Kristin started her professional life as a graphic designer and art director, she went back to school and finished her diploma in art therapy at Tobias school of art in England. Back in Norway she worked in this field, mainly with children and young adults. The fascination for colour has been the common factor throughout her professional life and for the last years she has been devoted to developing her own artwork. This time all her skills acquired from her diverse professional life are challenged and used to convey her concern and love for untouched nature to the viewer.

Kristin bases her artwork on memories of places and experiences that is reinterpreted and reinvented through colour. Today landscapes without traces of human activity are rapidly decreasing everywhere. A vibrant and lyrical use of colour conveys her respect and love for the old untouched landscapes to the viewer. By bringing together the past and present and by focusing on the experience Kristin elevates the subject from place to atmosphere, her compositions vibrate with character and comes to life.

Artist Kristin Holm Dybvig

Artist Kristin Holm Dybvig








Amy Shuckburgh

I am a British artist, living in Somerset and London. I work in soft pastel, oil paint and collage, using strong colour and energetic marks to explore scenes of domestic life as well as rural and urban landscapes. Inspired by expressionism and fauvism, I augment colours, abstract and simplify shapes, and use dynamic marks to convey the emotion felt in a place. I frequently use poetry as a catalyst for my compositions and in the titles of my work. As well as exhibiting and selling across the UK, I take on regular commissions for portraits and landscapes.


Amy Shuckburgh (b. 1977, London) makes landscape and figurative work in oil, pastel and collage. She studied MA Contemporary Curating, Goldsmiths College, London, (2004-05); BA Hons English Literature, Leeds University (1997-2000). Further courses studied include: The Royal Drawing School (2015); Slade School of Fine Art, London (2008) L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris (1996), St Ives School in Cornwall (1995).

Recent solo exhibitions include: No 6 Bruton, Somerset (2023); Picture, London, (2022, 2021); ‘Motherhood’, Olympia Auctions, London, ( 2018). Group exhibitions include: Moncrieff Bray, Petworth, (2023); Bath Society of Artists (2023); Moorwood Art, Bruton, (2023, 2022, 2021); ‘Art for Youth’, Mall Galleries, London, (2023, 2022, 2021); The Art Shop Gallery, Abergavenny, (2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018).

Amy is the recipient of the Heatherley’s Drawing Prize, 2019 and an elected Associate Artist at Unison Colour since 2020. Amy’s portrait of playwright Harold Pinter (2006), is permanently displayed at the Harold Pinter Theatre, London. Amy is a published writer and educator.

Artist Amy Shuckburgh

Artist Amy Shuckburgh