Three Painters Check Jackson’s Portray Paper Blocks

We requested painters Catherine MacDiarmid, Tom Loffill and Rosie Phillips to check Jackson’s Portray Paper Blocks for watercolour, acrylic and oil. Under they share their ideas on utilizing the gummed pads, that are glued on 4 edges with area at one nook or edge in order that sheets might be ‘sliced’ from the block after work. No paper stretching required, blocks can help you paint freely figuring out your paper is not going to buckle.

Above picture: Watercolour on Jackson’s Watercolour Paper Block 300 gsm 15 Sheets 12 x 16 in Scorching Pressed by Catherine MacDiarmid


Tom Loffill Exams Jackson’s Acrylic Portray Paper Blocks

I used to be requested to evaluate Jackson’s Acrylic Paper Blocks. Having by no means beforehand encountered blocks I requested how they differ from paper pads. Josephine instructed me: “Whereas a pad is usually simply glued on one edge, a block is glued on 4 edges with one nook or edge free to slice the sheet from the block after use. This implies paper doesn’t need to be stretched to work, and you’ll paint freely figuring out that the paper is not going to buckle.” This appeared like one thing I’d prefer to strive, being not too removed from the 300 gsm watercolour paper I’d often use, and so I agreed.



Jackson’s Acrylic Paper Block 290 gsm 15 Sheets 12 x 16 in

Jackson’s Acrylic Paper Block 290 gsm 15 Sheets 8 x 10 in

Jackson’s Acrylic Paper Block 290 gsm 15 Sheets 4 x 6 in

Jackson’s Skilled Acrylic Paint:


Paper Blocks


My first impressions of the blocks had been that they had been properly designed with a transparent, crisp font on the duvet. The three blocks I acquired had been 4 x 6 in, 8 x 10 in and 12 x 16 in. All of them are 290 gsm, clean white with 15 sheets every. The Jackson’s web site says they’re made with “lignin-free wooden pulp… Acid-free, FSC Licensed, and vegan-friendly.” They’ve been particularly made for use with acrylics, and there are additionally oil and watercolour equivalents.


Paper Blocks


In addition to the blocks I acquired some Jackson’s Skilled Acrylics, which I used together with my very own System 3 paints. My first use was for a portrait from lifetime of my pal Claire. A couple of weeks again I’d seen this improbable multi-coloured coat she has and I requested if she would put on it for a portrait. I believed the intense white of the paper appeared like it might offset the colors properly. I went with the 12 x 16 in (near A3 dimension) and labored on my easel, the solidity of the block made that very simple to do. I began with fairly watery paint for the primary layer, changing into much less watery as I went on. I favored the best way the paper took the marks, it felt very pure. I loved engaged on the image, and was proud of the consequence.


Paper Blocks


Subsequent, I used the 4 x 6 in (postcard dimension) blocks to do 4 work of the garden exterior my window. That is one thing I’d meant to do for some time, I really like the 2 tones of inexperienced attributable to the shadow of the home, and the shifting form of the chimneys’ shadows. I combined the 2 shades of inexperienced after which labored in a short time, with none water. I did two layers on every, leaving some white of the paper exhibiting by the transparency, creating some sense of texture. This was the primary time I’d peeled the paper from the block, which was pretty simple to do, there may be one small un-gummed part from which you begin, after which work round. It’s greatest to make use of a knife to start out it off. Eradicating the paper step by step from the block has a barely old school ritualistic feeling, like manually slicing the pages of a guide.



The final photos I did had been on the 8 x 10 in paper, some easy fast line sketches from photographs of Renaissance and Historic Egyptian sculptures. For these I used the Jackson’s Skilled Acrylic Cyan Blue. I favored how vibrant the color was towards the white of the paper.



Total I favored the blocks very a lot. I often want a creamier, extra textured paper, however the clean paper felt very pure to make use of. It took watery and thicker paint equally nicely, and the color stored its vibrancy. I’m unsure but whether or not it might substitute the textured paper I like to make use of, however I’ll get pleasure from utilizing the remainder of the blocks. I believe the costs are very affordable, and would advocate them for those who’re on the lookout for a clean white paper for acrylics.


Paper Blocks


About Tom Loffill

Tom Loffill is a painter, primarily of portraits, primarily based in north London. He has been shortlisted for the Jackson’s Portray Prize 2023, was chosen for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition in 2021 & 2022, and exhibited on the Royal Academy Summer season Exhibition in 2018.

Visit Tom Loffill’s website

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Catherine MacDiarmid Exams Jackson’s Watercolour Portray Paper Blocks

I examined Jackson’s Watercolour Paper Block Scorching Pressed, Chilly Pressed and Tough 300 gsm Pure White Paper. These are very fairly priced blocks of watercolour paper, which have a easy and trendy trying cowl and are available in a pleasant dimension – the biggest being 12 x 16 in. Immediately I observed that the grain of the Tough paper was extra like my traditional Chilly Press paper, so the Chilly Pressed was a bit advantageous for me, however I favored the feel and appear of the Tough paper. I favored the whiteness of the paper and was eager to check whether or not the gummed edges would maintain if I ‘flooded’ the floor.




Jackson’s Watercolour Paper Block 300 gsm 15 Sheets 12 x 16 in Scorching Pressed

Jackson’s Watercolour Paper Block 300 gsm 15 Sheets 8 x 10 in Chilly Pressed (Not)

Jackson’s Watercolour Paper Block 300 gsm 15 Sheets 12 x 16 in Tough

Jackson’s Purple Sable Reservoir Brush Collection 91R Measurement 1


Paper Blocks


First, I painted experimental swatches, to check totally different methods – graduated wash, wet-into-wet, lifting out, blooming, clingfilm (the place you lay cling movie over the paint whereas moist and take away as soon as dry), salt (placing rock salt onto a moist wash), wax resist, and scratching with a blade.



In relation to totally different methods, I observed that salting didn’t work too nicely on the Tough or Chilly Pressed Papers, nevertheless it labored brilliantly on the Scorching Pressed. I really like an excellent bloom and all three papers labored for this impact. The clingfilm left an total mottled impact on the Tough Paper, which I labored with on my portray of bamboo. As an artist I discover I shortly adapt to totally different artwork supplies that I take advantage of. Due to this fact, totally different results labored nicely on every of those papers.


Paper Blocks



Paper Blocks


I then painted some options onto the Scorching Pressed and Chilly Pressed papers, resulting in a portrait on the Scorching Pressed. I favored portray on the Scorching Pressed, which stunned me. The paint dried in clear marks, and it might wash off simply, so I used to be in a position to carry again the sunshine. I might create a couple of layers, however as with most watercolour paper there was a restrict to these layers – say about 4 or 5. I actually hammered this portray to check the paper, and I overworked it, which that’s all the time one thing a watercolourist should be conscious of.




My portray on the Tough Paper was of bamboo, totally different from my traditional determine material. I wished to check masking fluid and the way nicely the gummed sides of the block held after flooding the floor. After masking out the leaves, I painted the background in three washes, utilizing cling movie to create textures. The gummed edges broke on one facet, however the remaining held, and the paper was nonetheless flat as soon as dry. The masking fluid got here off fairly nicely, though it did go away some residue on the paper. It was arduous to inform whether or not this was as a result of warmth of the day, my previous fluid, or the paper.



Total, these are good papers, significantly for the value, and I’m going to be working with them once more. I’d advocate them as decently priced, strong high quality papers.





About Catherine MacDiarmid

Born in Kendal in 1972, after gaining a level in Visible Arts from De Montfort College in 1994 Catherine has lived and labored in Kendal. She started exhibiting her artwork in 1998 and has work in collections in Turkey, France, the USA and the UK.

Catherine has exhibited within the BP Portrait Award, and her work is included within the first 500 Portraits, a Nationwide Portrait Gallery publication. She was short-listed for Sky Portrait Artist of the 12 months 2014 and 2018 and was a semi-finalist in 2019. Catherine has additionally gained numerous awards – most just lately the Cass Artwork Prize within the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour 2022.

Catherine belongs to a number of artwork collectives together with the Lake Artists Society and the Up to date British Portrait Painters (CBPP), and was a founder member of Inexperienced Door, a collective of artists primarily based in and across the South Lakes.

Visit Catherine’s website

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Rosie Phillips Exams Jackson’s Oil Portray Paper Blocks

I’m acquainted with canvas paper and have loved utilizing it previously for smaller tasks and sketches, so have been excited to strive these oil portray paper blocks. It has develop into a compact, cost-effective competitor to conventional stretched canvas on account of its eerily related texture and archival qualities, so I discover it good for small, fast oil sketches the place I’m attempting to experiment and be unfastened, in addition to commissions and extra finalised work. I used to be so eager to strive these that I truly tore by the packaging earlier than I received an opportunity to get a photograph.




Jackson’s Oil Paper Block 290 gsm 15 Sheets 12 x 16 in

Jackson’s Oil Paper Block 290 gsm 15 Sheets 8 x 10 in

Jackson’s Oil Paper Block 290 gsm 15 Sheets 5 x 7 in

Jackson’s Skilled Oil Paint:

Sennelier Inexperienced For Oil Liquid Medium

Gamblin Galkyd Solvent Free Gel

Roberson Impasto Oil Medium


The blocks arrived in a sturdy cardboard field, filled with paper and taped securely. The sides of the blocks retained their level and weren’t bashed round. They had been protected in a layer of polyethylene, which protected them nicely. I’m of the understanding that that is recyclable, and the product is 100% vegan, that are each massive inexperienced flags for me when choosing the best provides. The packaging design is glossy and up to date – I actually like the colors! A pleasure to create with aesthetically, but easy sufficient to not set off my sketchbook perfectionism.

I might be experimenting with quite a lot of mediums to check the general look/really feel of the oil blocks; linseed oil, gamblin, liquin, impasto medium and sennelier inexperienced for oil liquid medium. I typically incorporate graphite into my work, so may even be introducing this to see how the paper lends itself to mark making/combined media. I might be taking a look at how the floor handles runny, concentrated mediums, (e.g. if there may be any bleeding), in addition to the feel and appear of oil paint on the textured floor of the paper. Will or not it’s troublesome to use clean layers of paint? How can I work with the floor to realize fascinating results?



I can see the block being a light-weight, compact various to canvas panels when it comes to plein air work. The blocks are a lot more durable to wreck in transit than stretched canvas as every web page is tightly gummed collectively, although because of this I did need to ‘dig’ into the facet of the block to have the ability to pull the sheets off, which put them prone to ripping, so not a completely seamless course of, although this didn’t pose a lot of a difficulty.

I actually benefit from the really feel of the paper – it seems and behaves like tightly woven (assume linen), primed canvas, so preliminary layers of paint are clean and the colors are daring from the leap. There’s minimal absorption, if any, and the paper confirmed completely no indicators of bleeding or buckling, regardless of me utilizing very concentrated purposes of medium and powerful marks. Thick brushstrokes maintain their form and texture, while thinner washes preserve a crisp define.



I discover that skinny washes with the oil primarily based mediums produce a watercolour-esque look, while liquin and gamblin produced drier preliminary marks which introduced out the floor of the paper. It handles impasto work extremely nicely, and I used to be impressed that the paper retained its form whatever the paint thickness utilized.




The blocks every have 15 sheets and vary in value from £2.50 (3 x 4 in) to £12.90 (12 x 16 in), which I believe is improbable worth at a price of 17 – 86p per sheet. It is a very economical, ‘low stakes’ various to stretched canvas or board if you’re on the go, new to grease portray or seeking to follow methods on an identical texture. I also can see work produced on the blocks being mounted and introduced for exhibition with nice ease.

I’ll completely be recommending the blocks and am very eager to experiment additional with them! The principle promoting level for me personally can be their suitability for oil research; They reply extremely nicely to a variety of supplies and processes that I’d sometimes contain in my follow and so present an economically pleasant alternative for experimentation. I believe a spread of sq. sizes can be improbable, too!




About Rosie Phillips

Rosie Phillips is a 21 yr previous self taught painter primarily based in Norfolk. She gained the Sworders’ Artwork Prize for Rising Artists, The Sir John Damage Artwork Prize (Extremely Recommended) and the John Dalton: Gently Does It Artwork Prize. Final November Rosie took half in Sky Arts’ Portrait Artist of the 12 months, the place her portray was shortlisted by the judges.

Her figurative work is an examination of physique language and inward states. In her work, she goals to ‘interrupt’ fleeting moments, observing the methods during which the determine naturally contorts and establishes itself in response to it’s setting.

Visit Rosie’s website

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Additional Studying

Every thing You Must Know About Acrylic Portray Paper

Every thing You Must Know About Watercolour Paper

Artwork Paper Textures

Glossary of Artwork Paper Phrases


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