Thomas Golunski, an accomplished figurative oil painter and teacher, has tried our Jackson’s Artist Oils for the first time and tells us how they compare to other oil paints and why he likes the big tubes. He has painted a gorgeous portrait using Jackson’s materials: Jackson’s Artist Oils, Jackson’s brushes and a Jackson’s Handmade Linen Panel.
Thomas Golunski is an artist based in the south of England, working in oils and charcoal. His work explores narrative weight and an individual contemplative reflection within figurative painting. Aspiring to control the chaotic, he aims to capture an accurate impression of a precise moment while giving particular focus to the impact that light and shadow have upon his subjects.
Through an urgent and tense recreation of fleeting moments, Golunski seeks to explore the way illumination can be used to aid narrative storytelling and suggest not only the transitory nature of light but also a fleeting moment of atmosphere. Illumination and the impressions that strange, vivid and direct lighting leave feature prominently throughout his work.
Jackson’s Oil Paint Review
by Thomas Golunski
So arguably the most important aspect of oil painting is the paint. I am a firm believer that you can make wonderful artwork with a very limited set of tools but if you are painting in oil then you’ll definitely need some oil paints!
So as an overview of this review, yes, I think you should buy Jackson’s own brand oil paint regardless of your skill level. I promise I will qualify this statement later but if you want a quick overarching review and prefer to test things yourself, I would highly recommend these paints.
I recently have started to buy some of Jackson’s own brand materials. Having been a fan of the super fine oil primed linen boards since I started painting in oils, I have recently found that the Jackson’s gesso ground and Thixotropic Alkyd Oil Primer achieve the kind of surface quality I want to work on. In turn this had made me very interested in their paints, as I thought the quality of their product was amazing, while a similar price of other materials I had bought from other brands.
After writing to Jackson’s about how good I thought their products were and asking if I could have some catalogues to give to my students, they were kind enough to send me some paints. I got sent a set of Jackson’s Artist Oil paints to test out.
The paints I chose consisted of:
Titanium White, Genuine Cadmium Yellow, Genuine Cadmium Yellow Deep, Genuine Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Phthalo Turquoise, Prussian Blue and Mars Black.
It’s important to note that I usually prefer a Lemon Yellow, however, for the purpose of this test I wanted to test the quality of their Cadmium Yellow against the quality of their Cadmium Red. It is also important to note that I dislike Ultramarine Blue and haven’t had it in my palette for a few years but instead have replaced it with a Phthalo Turquoise and a Prussian Blue.
I thought that the best way to test the quality of paint would be to dive in at the deep end and complete a painting using only their paints and see how the paint handles in a real world application instead of colour mixing swabs. So with that in mind, here is the example of a painting completed with only Jackson’s Artists’ oil paints.
But let’s talk about the paint in more specific detail, now that you’ve seen it in action.
The best aspect of the Jackson’s Artist Oil paints is the quality of the pigment to oil ratio. I found that the paints had very good coverage, much better than similarly priced oil paints from other brands, this also means that the paint goes a very long way. I wanted a real world experience to confirm this theory so I purchased a Jackson’s Artist Oil Paint: Lemon Yellow and a tube of Daler Rowney’s Lemon Yellow Georgian Oil paint (the closest I could find at a similar price).
Now the first thing to notice is the quality, where Georgian oil paint is considered a student quality paint, the Jackson’s Artist Oil paint is Artist level quality and the difference definitely comes across. The Jackson’s paint just performed so much better, a stronger mix that could be used to produce brighter, bolder colours without having to use a huge quantity of paint, especially compared to the Georgian oil paint. The pigment quality in the Georgian Lemon Yellow felt like you had to use a lot of paint for the same result.
The packaging feels like it has been designed with the artist in mind, throughout the whole production process. The paint tubes come in individual cardboard tubes allowing easy studio storage, with a test strip of paint, from the batch that has filled the tube, on top of the box on a black and white background. This means you can very easily see the opacity effects the paint has without having to understand the opacity information that normally ships on the back of paint tubes. Also, the larger 225ml tube and the smaller 75ml tubes have the same screw caps, so they are interchangeable between the two sizes (top tip to any artist: keep any tube caps after you finish a tube of paint you never know when they will come in handy!).
I also am a huge fan of how all the oil paint colours come in 225ml tubes, due to my practice I generally like to buy bigger tubes of paint, I like to squeeze out a fair amount of paint before starting a painting so I can have control over the handling and mixing of the paint.
I also got two Jackson’s brushes to test out as I hadn’t used Jackson’s brushes before and I also got a super fine oil primed 20cm by 30cm oil board, I normally make my own painting panels to keep the costs down but when I need a painting panel of a specific size and don’t have the time to make my own panel, Jacksons oil primed boards are the only painting panel I will happily paint on.
I got a Shiro Hog brush (size 6) and a Red Sable ‘one stroke’ (size 1/4in). I chose these brushes to test as they are staples of my toolkit, but I had never tried Jackson’s own brand before so I definitely wanted to give them a go considering my past experiences with Jackson’s own brand art supplies. They definitely perform fantastically to the point where they are interchangeable in my tool box.
Ultimately my main praise, for the materials I have been fortunate enough to test, is one of incredible value for money, the sheer quality of paint for the price, it is feels like I have hit upon a winner. In between receiving the paints, testing them and writing this review, I have bought a set of 12 large paint tubes as I now use them as my main source of paint. The quality paints at a fraction of the price of some other brands, has allowed me to be more experimental with larger pieces but also being able to load up paint onto brushes on to smaller paintings to get more bold impasto marks. I truly regret not being introduced to them in my earlier days of oil painting as I felt it would have allowed me to start painting with a higher quality of paint and ultimately I think I would have saved money over the past 5 years that I have been buying oil paint.