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. Beneath 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 may be ‘sliced’ from the block after work. No paper stretching required, blocks let you paint freely understanding your paper won’t buckle.

Above picture: Watercolour on Jackson’s Watercolour Paper Block 300 gsm 15 Sheets 12 x 16 in Sizzling 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 advised 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 should be stretched to work, and you’ll paint freely understanding that the paper won’t buckle.” This gave the impression of one thing I’d wish to attempt, being not too removed from the 300 gsm watercolour paper I might normally 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 quilt. The three blocks I obtained had been 4 x 6 in, 8 x 10 in and 12 x 16 in. All of them are 290 gsm, easy 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 obtained 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 buddy Claire. A number 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 brilliant white of the paper appeared like it might offset the colors properly. I went with the 12 x 16 in (near A3 measurement) and labored on my easel, the solidity of the block made that very straightforward to do. I began with fairly watery paint for the primary layer, turning into much less watery as I went on. I favored the way in which the paper took the marks, it felt very pure. I loved engaged on the image, and was proud of the outcome.


Paper Blocks


Subsequent, I used the 4 x 6 in (postcard measurement) blocks to do 4 work of the garden outdoors my window. That is one thing I’d meant to do for some time, I like the 2 tones of inexperienced attributable to the shadow of the home, and the shifting form of the chimneys’ shadows. I blended 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 way of the transparency, creating some sense of texture. This was the primary time I’d peeled the paper from the block, which was pretty straightforward to do, there may be one small un-gummed part from which you begin, after which work round. It’s finest to make use of a knife to start out it off. Eradicating the paper progressively from the block has a barely old school ritualistic feeling, like manually reducing the pages of a guide.



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



Total I favored the blocks very a lot. I normally choose a creamier, extra textured paper, however the easy paper felt very pure to make use of. It took watery and thicker paint equally effectively, and the color saved its vibrancy. I’m unsure but whether or not it might change the textured paper I like to make use of, however I’ll take pleasure in utilizing the remainder of the blocks. I believe the costs are very cheap, and would suggest them in case you’re searching for a easy white paper for acrylics.


Paper Blocks


About Tom Loffill

Tom Loffill is a painter, primarily of portraits, based mostly 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 time 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 Sizzling Pressed, Chilly Pressed and Tough 300 gsm Pure White Paper. These are very moderately priced blocks of watercolour paper, which have a easy and trendy wanting cowl and are available a pleasant measurement – the biggest being 12 x 16 in. Right away I seen that the grain of the Tough paper was extra like my typical Chilly Press paper, so the Chilly Pressed was a bit fantastic 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 Sizzling 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 Crimson Sable Reservoir Brush Sequence 91R Measurement 1


Paper Blocks


First, I painted experimental swatches, to check completely different strategies – 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 completely different strategies, I seen that salting didn’t work too effectively on the Tough or Chilly Pressed Papers, nevertheless it labored brilliantly on the Sizzling Pressed. I like 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 completely different artwork supplies that I exploit. Due to this fact, completely different results labored effectively on every of those papers.


Paper Blocks



Paper Blocks


I then painted some options onto the Sizzling Pressed and Chilly Pressed papers, resulting in a portrait on the Sizzling Pressed. I favored portray on the Sizzling Pressed, which stunned me. The paint dried in clear marks, and it might wash off simply, so I used to be capable of deliver again the sunshine. I might create a number 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 at all times one thing a watercolourist have to be conscious of.




My portray on the Tough Paper was of bamboo, completely different from my typical determine material. I needed to check masking fluid and the way effectively 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 effectively, 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 worth, and I’m going to be working with them once more. I might suggest them as decently priced, stable 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, america 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 Yr 2014 and 2018 and was a semi-finalist in 2019. Catherine has additionally gained numerous awards – most 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 Modern British Portrait Painters (CBPP), and was a founder member of Inexperienced Door, a collective of artists based mostly in and across the South Lakes.

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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 initiatives and sketches, so have been excited to attempt these oil portray paper blocks. It has turn out to be a compact, cost-effective competitor to conventional stretched canvas as a result of its eerily related texture and archival qualities, so I discover it good for small, fast oil sketches the place I’m making an attempt to experiment and be free, in addition to commissions and extra finalised work. I used to be so eager to attempt these that I really tore by way of the packaging earlier than I acquired 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 perimeters of the blocks retained their level and weren’t bashed round. They had been protected in a layer of polyethylene, which protected them effectively. 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 appropriate provides. The packaging design is modern and modern – I actually like the colors! A pleasure to create with aesthetically, but easy sufficient to not set off my sketchbook perfectionism.

I will likely 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/blended media. I will likely 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 it’s troublesome to use easy layers of paint? How can I work with the floor to attain attention-grabbing 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 tougher to break in transit than stretched canvas as every web page is tightly gummed collectively, although for that reason I did should ‘dig’ into the facet of the block to have the ability to pull the sheets off, which put them liable 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 to be and behaves like tightly woven (suppose linen), primed canvas, so preliminary layers of paint are easy and the colors are daring from the leap. There may be 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 robust marks. Thick brushstrokes maintain their form and texture, while thinner washes preserve a crisp define.



I discover that skinny washes with the oil based mostly 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 effectively, 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 worth from £2.50 (3 x 4 in) to £12.90 (12 x 16 in), which I believe is improbable worth at a fee of 17 – 86p per sheet. This can be a very economical, ‘low stakes’ various to stretched canvas or board if you’re on the go, new to grease portray or trying to observe strategies on an analogous texture. I can even 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 effectively to a variety of supplies and processes that I might usually contain in my observe 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 12 months previous self taught painter based mostly in Norfolk. She gained the Sworders’ Artwork Prize for Rising Artists, The Sir John Harm 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 Yr, 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 through which the determine naturally contorts and establishes itself in response to it’s atmosphere.

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Additional Studying

All the pieces You Have to Know About Acrylic Portray Paper

All the pieces You Have to Know About Watercolour Paper

Artwork Paper Textures

Glossary of Artwork Paper Phrases


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