We asked painters Georgia Peskett and Alex Egan to try Plein Air Painting with Jackson’s plein air equipment and materials. Here they take us through their plein air painting set ups and share their thoughts on using the Jackson’s Pochade Painting Box, Jackson’s Artist Apron as well as Jackson’s Artist Oils, Viewfinders and more.
Packing Equipment for Painting En Plein Air
Getting my bags packed up ready for this plein air session, I made sure I had all the Jackson’s equipment: my Jackson’s Viewfinder, Foldable Water Container, brushes, paints and Pochade painting box. I was excited to work plein air using this box, it was something I had not tried before.
The Jackson’s Adjustable Artist’s Apron is great, a good weighty splash-proof canvas, plus it’s easily adjustable with eyelets on the reverse. It feels comfortable as it doesn’t pull at the neck – even though I often put plenty in the pockets when I’m working.
Setting Up For Plein Air Painting
Arriving at the scene just outside an industrial building near a railway bridge on a Sunday in mid July, I took a little time to select my scene using the handy Jackson’s Viewfinder. I marked out my composition onto the viewfinder using the Jackson’s Chalk Board Marker..
I needed to press it a few times to get the ink flowing, then added some quick guides on the viewfinder; providing me with a handy plan to follow. It was a bit harder to get it to flow whilst holding it horizontally up to the viewfinder, but shaking it helped.
Finding an interesting composition, I set up my foldaway stool, began to get my Jackson’s Artists Acrylic Paints out on the palette, opened and filled my expandable water jar, and slid open my Jackson’s Pochade Painting Box, which was easy to carry either with the shoulder strap or the handle on the side.
It opens smoothly and I have loaded it with all that I will need, Jackson’s Extra Fine Linen Handmade Boards in the slots and paints ready in the drawers plus any other small sundries; palette knives, pencils, erasers and brushes. The drawers are roomy and allow for around ten of the 60 ml tubes of Jackson’s Artists Acrylic Paints to fit. I fitted six in here and had a few larger sized containers of other colours I put in my backpack.
It was hot on this day so I thought to bring a small spritz bottle of water to ensure the paints did not dry too fast, as can happen in warmer weather with acrylics.
The tubes feel lovely in the hand, the metal makes them feel good to hold and squeeze, and the labels look good. Immediately I liked the rich quality of the artist’s colours, the Cadmium Yellows I was using really helped with the greens in the scene.
Sketching lightly with a pencil, I began to mark out my image on the lovely Jackson’s Extra Fine Linen Handmade Board 24 x 30 cm that fits perfectly into the two slots on the Jackson’s Pochade Painting Box. It was really handy to have a spare slot for another painting if the mood took me.
Painting En Plein Air with Jackson’s Materials
Whilst laying down the colours I used the Jackson’s Nylon Retractable Brush Size 9 for acrylics, which is lightweight and the handle doubles as a lid when not in use. It’s a round brush with a good sharp tip that holds its shape and point well during the session. It washes well and dries back to its original shape.
Getting a little further along with this scene, I mixed some satisfying colours (an unusual olive green for the bridge using the Cadmium Yellow with a touch of Raw Umber, some White and a little Ultramarine).
The Budlia flower lilac I achieved using Cobalt Blue, Napthol Red and various degrees of White. The paint was a lovely thick, smooth consistency and mixed easily on my palette.
Colours were vibrant when wet and looked light when applied to the linen board. You could really appreciate the depth in them when they dried.
I was able to create some great shadow colours without using any black in this painting; using just Raw Umber and Ultramarine and then a touch of Napthol Red to warm them a little.
There was plenty I could do with a limited palette: Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Yellow Pale, Napthol Red, Raw Umber (such a handy colour), Indian Red, Orange Red (which was good for the dying Budlia flowers and little touches of rust on the bridge), and blues in Cobalt (mixed with white for the sky) and Ultramarine.
Thoughts After a Day Painting En Plein Air with Jackson’s Materials
I spent around one hour in the first session on this one, getting everything in place, then returned for a second session for around 45 minutes to resolve the details.
I was pleased with the results and glad I took my spritzer bottle of water as I think the acrylics would have dried on the palette too fast. I may consider an extender medium next time to add to the paints to prevent fast drying on hot days.
I highly recommend the Jackson’s Extra Fine Linen Handmade Boards. Their universal primed surface (acid free) and fine grain really suit my techniques; I often use a fine sandpaper in my work to carefully reveal interesting textures when the paint dries. Not all canvas boards have stood up to this, but these are very tough with plenty of gesso primed layers, and the fine grain that I revealed here and there in the paintings is just right.
Materials Used by Georgia
About Georgia Peskett
Georgia began painting during a three year apprenticeship in New York following her formal art training at Epsom School of Art and Design. During this time in New York she began painting with acrylics on canvas the New York cityscapes and figurative urban landscapes, later returning to London where she still draws inspiration, from commuters underground to the ubiquitous facades that surround us. Scenes from daily life have always inspired her work. Her works are in public, private and corporate collections in the UK, Hong Kong, US, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, Italy, France and Germany.
Notable collections include: The BT collection, Telecom Tower, Bentley Headquarters, The Earl of Chichester, Leeds City Council, Verve Properties and SIP Partners London.
Jackson’s Plein Air Painting Materials
I had great pleasure in accepting the request to review some of Jackson’s plein air equipment and materials. A box arrived in the post which is always a good start to the day; the packaging and labelling of Jackson’s own products I found very pleasing, it’s plain and to the point.
My practice recently has been mainly with acrylics, mostly starting plein air then adding more details and layers in the studio. I am however starting to use oils again more. Usually on the final layer over the acrylic and on the detailed painting of flora and fauna and other objects that appear in the composition. So I was very happy to be offered a good selection of oils to try. The colours are really terrific and obviously made with great pigments, I am however no oil expert so do not have a great deal to compare with but from what I do have they are definitely superior, the colours are really strong and vibrant.
I was also given a good choice of brush options, both natural and synthetic. I usually tend to go for the firmest options to help me with control of the paint. The synthetic tends to help with getting tighter lines and I like using it for my style of painting. My absolute favourite is the Jackson’s Akoya White Synthetic Brush, it really keeps its shape and is very pleasurable to use.
There were a few items I have never had and was interested to see how useful they would be. I very much like the concept of the Jackson’s Metal Brush Washer; keeping brushes from damage by dangling them in the solvent.
My initial observation of the inverted inserted ‘sieve’ was that it is too high, meaning you have to fill the container with quite a lot of Low Odour Solvent, and I am rather mean with my materials so had to make a mind shift to use it properly. Which I did and I would say it is very useful, especially if like me you are not vigilant in promptly cleaning your brushes at the end of the day.
A very useful bit of equipment is the Studio Essentials Double Dipper and Lid; the clip to fix them to the palette is really secure and tight and having lids is really good too as my existing ones don’t, meaning annoying spillages happen.
The Studio Essentials Plastic Brush Box for brushes is a good idea especially if you have decent brushes and want to preserve them for longer. It is one of those very affordable but handy bits of kit useful for transporting and storing brushes.
Finally in a separate parcel was the lovely little Jackson’s Pochade Painting Box. You can seemingly get a big range of these handy portable boxes and this one is at the affordable end of the spectrum.
For me this is useful when I might be doing small plein air paintings/studies. It has its own inbuilt palette hinged to the ‘easel’. This slides off the box, which contains the paints and solvent.
The Jackson’s Handmade Primed Fine Linen Board seem of very good quality, I like to use a ground before I start so I mixed some pigments I had with a clear gesso.
And of course I am wearing the really useful and fantastic Jackson’s Adjustable Artist Apron in Brown which was also part of the bundle. I like it so much; it is nice and long, wraps nearly all the way round to the back, has deep pockets and a great colour.
Painting en Plein Air in the Garden
I took everything out into the garden and set myself up in front of a border, which after the heatwave is drooping somewhat but full of wonderful entangled leaves, buds, flowers, and seed heads.
It took me a little while to work out how to use the easel and palette bit of the pochade, where to place it and angle it etc but this is usually the case when I am first setting up.
The Jackson brushes I’m using are quite big so I decided to work quite quickly as I am bound to come back to this initial painting and overlay it with more intricate detail.
My experience overall using the Jackson’s equipment and materials was fantastic. I think the pochade will get well used for my small paintings and sketches but also good to carry the paint and having the inbuilt palette is very useful. The other items too, I am super happy with particularly the metal brush holder and the apron.
Materials Used by Alex
About Alex Egan
Alex Egan studied at Bristol University and has a BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art, she has since exhibited extensively throughout the country. Egan is a part of The Arborealists; an artist collective passionate about trees and the ways in which they can be creatively documented and displayed. Alex’s trees take on detailed realism but with a soft and delicate nature which introduces ethereal qualities. She also is the Tree artist in residence at Somerleyton.
Her recent paintings have evolved in the last couple of years into a layering using direct observation of the flora and fauna in her immediate surroundings focusing on the small, intimate and overlooked. What she is noticing from her subconscious and influences from the world at large. An entangled magical reality.