Posted on Fri 23 Sep 2016
Iadmit I am a bit of a fan of Jackson’s and their fine art materials, and here I have the pleasure of testing their Artist Oil Colours. There is something exciting about handling a tube of paint and these 60ml tubes in a range of 51 colours are handsome, perhaps due to their hand-painted labels, which clearly identify colour, the degree of opacity and pigment source. It’s only when you open and use them, however, that you can really see that these are quality paints and why they are so popular. Of note is that they are manufactured in the UK, using the finest quality pigments and linseed oil.
I was sent 12 colours in its Artist range to put through their paces. Having squeezed out the pigments around my palette I initially tested all the colours with and without white to get a feel for them then experimented with making different greens using all three blues – cerulean, ultramarine and phthalo blue – with four yellows – yellow ochre, raw umber, cadmium yellow and lemon yellow. I was able to mix a good range from dark blue greens using phthalo blue and raw umber to brighter, sharper greens using cadmium yellow with cerulean blue or phthalo blue. Lemon yellow produced an acidic green; ultramarine and cadmium yellow made a muted green; and cerulean and yellow ochre resulted in an interesting grey green.
It is always important to play with colours to understand how they behave.
Do they flow easily, move around the surface, mix and blend well? The answer is yes to all these questions.
All the paints felt lovely under the brush, creamy and smooth with a generous pigment load. In a small dipper I put Jackson’s fast-drying oil painting medium. I have to say it was the first time
I had used this product and it was quite a revelation. I used it to moisten my brush before putting it in the paint and other than that I only used genuine turps to clean my brushes. The next morning the painting was touch-dry.
Bembridge Sands, Jackson’s Artist Oil Paint on Jackson’s clear primed linen board, (30x40cm)
Oil in action
To put these oils through their paces I chose to complete two contrasting paintings. The first is of a view just outside of our harbour mouth here on the Isle of Wight, Bembridge Sand (see above). I chose Jackson’s clear primed linen board and the following colours: phthalo blue, cerulean blue hue, French ultramarine blue, burnt umber, raw umber, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, light red and titanium white. I used a Carb- Othello pastel pencil to outline the subject then started by roughly blocking in the sky using cerulean plus a little white lower down, phthalo blue a bit higher and ultramarine with touches of burnt umber higher still. I was very pleased with the feel of the paint under my brush; it felt smooth and creamy, blended easily and made the description of the sky easy.
I moved down the painting to the water, experimenting with phthalo and cerulean blues with tiny touches of lemon yellow and white in the sea, still using the fast-drying oil medium. The sand areas were mixed with yellow ochre and white and in places hints of light red and raw umber.
For the tree line I initially used phthalo blue, raw umber and a little cadmium yellow. The greyer greens were made from cerulean blue, raw umber and light red. I only needed the smallest amount of pigment to alter a green subtly. When
I wanted to add a warmer glow in places, a very small amount of lemon yellow on top as a glaze worked well.
Once I had covered the entire painting I went back in to moderate and blend areas. I echoed colour around the painting, adding touches of lemon yellow and white into the lower sky for instance.
The next morning when I went back to look at the painting, it was touch dry – quite extraordinary – which allowed me to tidy up a few edges and add smaller details such as pebbles. These are wonderful quality paints and nothing short of what I would expect from Jackson’s!
I was keen to keep going with the paint and my second painting is of Agriturismo Casafrassi in Tuscany, a favourite painting spot of mine. This was a scene fresh in my mind and I wanted to develop a recent watercolour into an oil painting.
I used Pebeo linen board and the following colours: ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, yellow ochre, raw umber, light red, cadmium red and white. I also picked up Jackson’s fast-drying oil medium.
I began by blocking in the buildings using the sunny yellow ochre with touches of white and raw umber, aiming for a mid-tone then dabbing this colour in other parts of the canvas where I saw a similar colour. My aim was to link passages of similar colours of paint to create a cohesive visual story.
I didn’t try to add detail at this stage; I just thought of blocks of colour. For the grey greens in the distance I used cerulean blue hue with tiny touches of cadmium red and yellow and for the remaining green areas, ultramarine with a small touch of lemon yellow.
The roof colour was mixed from cerulean and light red; the tree trunks and similar darks such as the roof on the right were made from raw umber with touches of red and blue. The last area to block in was the sky using ultramarine, phthalo leaves on the left.
The completed blocking-in stage for Agriturismo Casafrassi (below). This stage took about an hour to do.
The second stage involved going back over all the areas; this is the bit I really enjoyed doing! I began centrally with the buildings and operated the same principle of dotting colour as I saw it around the canvas. I still didn’t overload the brush, but used enough paint to blend in and move around.
Shadow colours were made from ultramarine and cadmium red for warmth.
The tricky perspective in the building on the right was important to make right, but I also felt I shouldn’t over state it in terms of detail, as it is on the periphery of the painting and I didn’t want it to be too dominant.
In terms of choice of colours I was mindful to keep just essential colours to create harmony. A huge range of colours can be made from a limited palette and it makes for good practice to follow this principle.
Detail was added slowly, and I considered which areas needed lightening or darkening. I used daubs of brushstrokes so that I could see the change between the brushmarks. The finished painting, Agriturismo Casafrassi, can be seen below.
Agriturismo Casafrassi, Jackson’s Artist Oil Paint on Pebeo linen board, (30x30cm)
Would I recommend Jackson’s Artist Oil Colours? Without doubt my answer is a resounding yes. They matched other leading brands in terms of quality, pigment content and flow of paint coupled with their competitive price, which is closer to the main Student brands. This makes them extremely good value and it’s not surprising that this is Jackson’s best-selling oil paint.
Jackson’s Artist Oil Colours are available in 51 colours in 60ml tubes (from £3.70 to £8.80) and 225ml tubes (from £10.30 to £20.50). Visit www.jacksonsart.com for further details.
This product report is taken from the October 2016 issue of Leisure Painter
Click here to purchase your copy