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The Best of the Jackson’s Art Blog on its 11th Birthday

The Jackson’s Art Blog turns 11 this week! To celebrate, our team of writers got together and chose some of their favourite posts. The list is a broad mix that includes a celebration of Alizarin Crimson, an interview with Anthony Whishaw RA and advice on which colours to fill your watercolour box with. Enjoy this little walk down memory lane and discover the wealth of information that is found within our posts.

chosen by Clare McNamara

In this post our print expert Jill Watton introduces a revamped Printmaking department at Jacksonsart.com, and explains comprehensively the fundamentals of Japanese woodcut printmaking technique (known as Mokuhanga); the different varieties of wood you can use, and describes how the tools and colours used offer outcomes that differ vastly from western relief print techniques. An insightful read combined with inspiring imagery.

‘ I love this… it’s aesthetically beautiful and really interesting’ – Clare McNamara

Mokuhanga: New Arrival Japanese Woodblock Printing Materials

 


chosen by Christine Kent

This test report by Clare McNamara compares four black watercolour papers and how a variety of media appear on them, including watersoluble pencils, marker pens, watercolours, gouache and acrylics. The article states the facts and presents them with clear visuals. A great point of reference for anyone curious about working on black paper.

‘One of the questions I often have as a watercolourist is why would I choose one paper over another, that’s why I love reading comparison posts like this one as it looks at each paper side by side and weighs up the pros and cons of each range. It helps to make better, more informed decisions and means I end up wasting less money on paper that isn’t best suited to my way of working or doesn’t have the finish/texture that I’m looking for.’ – Christine Kent

Black Watercolour Paper Comparison

 


chosen by Julie Caves

In this article, Julie answers the question ‘what paints should I fill my watercolour box with?’ It offers a great explanation of colour mixing that can be applied to other media, not just watercolour. By gaining basic understanding of colour theory you are able to make informed decisions about which colours in particular you’d like to invest in. The concepts are made clear and practical, and demonstrate that a broad spectrum of colour can be mixed with a palette of just eight paints.

Choosing Colours to Fill Your Watercolour Box

 


chosen by Lisa Takahashi

This interview with Johanna Basford was one of my very first posts for the Jackson’s Art Blog. In the interview Johanna is very open about her approach to pen drawing and how she combined printmaking with drawing. Since the interview Johanna’s colouring books for adults have soared in their popularity.

Guest Artist: Johanna Basford

 


chosen by Julie Caves

There is a huge selection of erasers out there and this gives a clear explanation of the different types so you can find the best eraser for you. During the extensive testing Julie discovered the best way to erase coloured pencil, a question often asked at Jackson’s. This post contains lots of useful information and tips for drawing.

Choosing a Rubber: Comparing Erasers

 


chosen by Lisa Takahashi

The skill and mastery of Rubén Belloso’s pastel portraits is undeniable, and in this interview conducted by Julie Caves Rubén shares why he paints faces he sees in the street, and why he never uses fixative. The interview is adorned with images of the artist at work, and his awe-inspiring finished pastel works.

Rubén Belloso Adorna Master Pastel Portrait Painter

 


chosen by Christine Kent

Evie Hatch’s article on Alizarin Crimson delves into the history of the pigment, how it replaced a historical yet fugitive colour, and then takes a closer look at colours produced by a multitude of paint-makers using the pigment, including Michael Harding, Daniel Smith, Jackson’s and Schmincke. Essential reading for anyone looking to further their understanding of this beguiling deep, cool crimson.

‘Blog posts like this one are perfect to bookmark as the colour mixing images are really useful (and beautiful to look at), It’s always good to know where pigment comes from and how it has evolved and been used throughout the history of art. This article breaks it down visually so that you can see how the colour is used and how you could incorporate it into your colour mixes on your palette.’ – Christine Kent

The Enduring Appeal of Alizarin Crimson

 


chosen by Julie Caves

An introduction to simple oil paint making and a good explanation of using empty paint tubes for handmade paint or to store your own favourite paint mixtures. It covers different oils, making a grinding slab, and tries different methods to fill and crimp tubes to find the best way. Clear, practical information that demonstrates making paint and putting it in tubes needn’t be complicated.

Filling Your Own Oil Paint Tubes

 


chosen by Dan Brady

Dan Brady’s interview with Anthony Whishaw RA was conducted at a time when the Royal Academy was shut as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown, and consequently Anthony’s retrospective exhibition was put on pause. In this interview Anthony gives generous insight into his working practices, and an opportunity to peer into his studio in full creative flow.

‘I have long admired Anthony Whishaw’s work, so it was a pleasure to talk to him about his practice. I particularly like his thoughts on the creative process; known to work on drawings and paintings for decades, he epitomises the idea of a quiet artist working in the studio day in, day out, unperturbed and fiercely motivated.’ – Dan Brady

Anthony Whishaw RA: On Painting and Drawing in his 90th Year

 


chosen by Evie Hatch

In this post Evie describes the fascinating and little known phenomenon that is dark yellowing – when dry layers of white oil paint appear to turn yellow if stored for a considerable amount of time in a dark room. A useful post to read especially if you have re-discovered an old painting that may have suffered the effects of dark yellowing. Don’t worry, the effects are reversible!

‘Before writing this post, dark yellowing was something that I’d heard of but not something I’d ever seen in person. It was fascinating to discover that dark yellowing has concerned oil painters for centuries. It reminded me that, despite so many advancements, there is still so much to find out about the science of painting, as the exact cause of dark yellowing is yet to be discovered. I love writing about topics that link contemporary artists to art history, so this blog post was a joy to write.’ – Evie Hatch

What is Dark Yellowing?

 


chosen by Dan Brady

Trying to find vegan art supplies can be a bit of a minefield, but this article by Christine Kent lists papers and paints that you can invest in, confident in the knowledge that they are cruelty-free.

‘This post sums up what I admire about the blog – dedication to seeking thorough answers for our customers, and a commitment to furthering the causes we and our customers are passionate about.’ – Dan Brady

Cruelty-Free Art Supplies

 


chosen by Clare McNamara

To commemorate George Stubbs’ birthday, Clare McNamara presented a celebration of his well known, exquisite equine portraits along with a summary of his life history, and a short interview with three contemporary painters who also paint horses. Sara Butt, Peggy Judy and Tony O’Connor give insight into their approaches, the materials they work with, and what they find inspiring about this endlessly majestic and dynamic subject matter.

‘This was really fun to write and research’ – Clare McNamara

https://www.jacksonsart.com/blog/2019/08/23/horse-stubbs-birthday/

 

Image: Ethereal, 2018 by Tony O’Connor, oil on linen, 100 x 150.5 cm (Photo credit: Stefan Syrowatka)

Lisa Takahashi

Lisa has been a contributor to the Jackson’s Art Blog for the past 7 years, writing artist interviews, and features on oil, watercolour and print. Alongside this she has worked as a painter and printmaker, exhibiting her work regularly at the Mall Galleries and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. In 2018 she reached the semi-final of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year.

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