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 house at one nook or edge in order that sheets could be ‘sliced’ from the block after work. No paper stretching required, blocks assist you to paint freely realizing 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 overview 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 should be stretched to work, and you may paint freely realizing that the paper won’t buckle.” This seemed like one thing I’d wish to strive, 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 have been that they have been properly designed with a transparent, crisp font on the quilt. The three blocks I obtained have 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 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 couple of weeks again I’d seen this incredible 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 could 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, changing 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 pleased with the outcome.


Paper Blocks


Subsequent, I used the 4 x 6 in (postcard measurement) blocks to do 4 work of the garden exterior my window. That is one thing I’d meant to do for some time, I like the 2 tones of inexperienced brought on by 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 via 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’s 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 steadily from the block has a barely old school ritualistic feeling, like manually slicing the pages of a ebook.



The final footage I did have 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.



General I favored the blocks very a lot. I normally desire a creamier, extra textured paper, however the clean paper felt very pure to make use of. It took watery and thicker paint equally properly, and the color stored its vibrancy. I’m undecided but whether or not it could exchange the textured paper I like to make use of, however I’ll take pleasure in utilizing the remainder of the blocks. I feel the costs are very cheap, and would advocate them for those who’re in search of a clean 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

Follow Tom on Instagram



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 fashionable trying cowl and are available in a pleasant measurement – the most important being 12 x 16 in. Right away I seen that the grain of the Tough paper was extra like my common Chilly Press paper, so the Chilly Pressed was a bit high quality 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 Purple Sable Reservoir Brush Sequence 91R Measurement 1


Paper Blocks


First, I painted experimental swatches, to check completely 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 completely different methods, I seen that salting didn’t work too properly on the Tough or Chilly Pressed Papers, nevertheless it labored brilliantly on the Sizzling Pressed. I like a superb 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 rapidly adapt to completely different artwork supplies that I take advantage of. Due to this fact, completely different results labored properly 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 shocked me. The paint dried in clear marks, and it could 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 have to be aware of.




My portray on the Tough Paper was of bamboo, completely different from my common determine subject material. I wished to check masking fluid and the way properly 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 aspect, however the remainder held, and the paper was nonetheless flat as soon as dry. The masking fluid got here off fairly properly, though it did depart some residue on the paper. It was exhausting to inform whether or not this was because of the warmth of the day, my previous fluid, or the paper.



General, these are good papers, notably for the value, and I’m going to be working with them once more. I might advocate 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, the US 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 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.

Visit Catherine’s website

Follow Catherine on Instagram



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 turn into a compact, cost-effective competitor to conventional stretched canvas attributable to its eerily comparable texture and archival qualities, so I discover it excellent 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 strive these that I really tore via 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, full of paper and taped securely. The sides of the blocks retained their level and weren’t bashed round. They have been protected in a layer of polyethylene, which protected them properly. 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 proper provides. The packaging design is glossy 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 usually incorporate graphite into my work, so may also be introducing this to see how the paper lends itself to mark making/combined media. I will likely be how the floor handles runny, concentrated mediums, (e.g. if there’s any bleeding), in addition to the feel and appear of oil paint on the textured floor of the paper. Will or not it’s tough to use clean layers of paint? How can I work with the floor to attain 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 break in transit than stretched canvas as every web page is tightly gummed collectively, although for that reason I did should ‘dig’ into the aspect 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 appears 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 robust marks. Thick brushstrokes maintain their form and texture, while thinner washes keep 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 properly, 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 feel is incredible worth at a charge of 17 – 86p per sheet. This can be a very economical, ‘low stakes’ various to stretched canvas or board in case you are on the go, new to grease portray or trying to apply methods on an identical texture. I can even see work produced on the blocks being mounted and offered 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 could be their suitability for oil research; They reply extremely properly to a variety of supplies and processes that I might sometimes contain in my apply and so present an economically pleasant alternative for experimentation. I feel a spread of sq. sizes could be incredible, 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 Counseled) 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 by which the determine naturally contorts and establishes itself in response to it’s atmosphere.

Visit Rosie’s website

Follow Rosie on Instagram



Additional Studying

The whole lot You Have to Know About Acrylic Portray Paper

The whole lot You Have to Know About Watercolour Paper

Artwork Paper Textures

Glossary of Artwork Paper Phrases


Store Jackson’s Paper Blocks on