September 22, 2023


How Art Works

Three Painters Check Jackson’s Portray Paper Blocks

10 min read

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 house at one nook or edge in order that sheets may be ‘sliced’ from the block after work. No paper stretching required, blocks will let you 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 informed 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 gave the impression of one thing I’d prefer to strive, being not too removed from the 300 gsm watercolour paper I’d 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 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, 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 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 buddy Claire. A couple of weeks again I’d seen this implausible 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 will 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 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 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 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 displaying 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 finest to make use of a knife to begin it off. Eradicating the paper progressively from the block has a barely old school ritualistic feeling, like manually chopping the pages of a e-book.



The final photos I did had been on the 8 x 10 in paper, some easy fast line sketches from photographs 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 want a creamier, extra textured paper, however the easy paper felt very pure to make use of. It took watery and thicker paint equally nicely, and the color stored its vibrancy. I’m undecided but whether or not it will 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 affordable, and would advocate them should you’re in search of a easy 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 Sizzling Pressed, Chilly Pressed and Tough 300 gsm Pure White Paper. These are very fairly priced blocks of watercolour paper, which have a easy and fashionable trying cowl and are available a pleasant dimension – the most important being 12 x 16 in. Right away I observed that the grain of the Tough paper was extra like my ordinary Chilly Press paper, so the Chilly Pressed was a bit high quality for me, however I favored the appear and feel 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 Pink Sable Reservoir Brush Sequence 91R Dimension 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 observed that salting didn’t work too nicely on the Tough or Chilly Pressed Papers, nevertheless it labored brilliantly on the Sizzling Pressed. I really 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. Subsequently, completely different results labored nicely 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 will wash off simply, so I used to be in a position to carry again the sunshine. I may 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 all the time one thing a watercolourist have to be conscious of.




My portray on the Tough Paper was of bamboo, completely different from my ordinary determine subject material. I needed 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 aspect, 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, notably for the worth, 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, 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 received numerous awards – most not too long ago 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 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 initiatives and sketches, so have been excited to strive these oil portray paper blocks. It has grow to be a compact, cost-effective competitor to conventional stretched canvas as a result of its eerily comparable texture and archival qualities, so I discover it excellent for small, fast oil sketches the place I’m attempting 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, 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 nicely. I’m of the understanding that that is recyclable, and the product is 100% vegan, that are each huge inexperienced flags for me when deciding on the suitable 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 shall 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 shall be taking a look at how the floor handles runny, concentrated mediums, (e.g. if there’s any bleeding), in addition to the appear and feel of oil paint on the textured floor of the paper. Will or not it’s tough to use easy layers of paint? How can I work with the floor to attain fascinating results?



I can see the block being a light-weight, compact different to canvas panels by way of 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 aspect of the block to have the ability to pull the sheets off, which put them prone to ripping, so not a wholly 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 to be like and behaves like tightly woven (assume linen), primed canvas, so preliminary layers of paint are easy and the colors are daring from the bounce. There may be minimal absorption, if any, and the paper confirmed completely no indicators of bleeding or buckling, regardless of me utilizing very concentrated functions 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 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 worth from £2.50 (3 x 4 in) to £12.90 (12 x 16 in), which I feel is implausible worth at a price of 17 – 86p per sheet. It is a very economical, ‘low stakes’ different to stretched canvas or board in case you are on the go, new to grease portray or seeking to observe strategies on an identical texture. I may also 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 primary promoting level for me personally could be their suitability for oil research; They reply extremely nicely to a variety of supplies and processes that I’d usually contain in my observe and so present an economically pleasant alternative for experimentation. I feel a spread of sq. sizes could be implausible, too!




About Rosie Phillips

Rosie Phillips is a 21 yr previous self taught painter primarily based in Norfolk. She received 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.

Visit Rosie’s website

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Additional Studying

Every part You Must Know About Acrylic Portray Paper

Every part You Must Know About Watercolour Paper

Artwork Paper Textures

Glossary of Artwork Paper Phrases


Store Jackson’s Paper Blocks on


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