Thursday, 14 August 2014

Watercolour Comparisons 8 - Blues

I have posted in detail about Ultramarine as a primary Blue. Here I will show comparisons of a larger range of blue watercolours from different manufacturers. I have now added all these and more to my website so you can compare them all here.

Ultramarine

Ultramarine has been covered in more depth in a previous post. It is a warm blue so leans toward purple - they all have a hint of red in them. They will mix with a rose or pink to create beautiful clear purples, and with a yellow to make slightly neutralised greens. Here are 10 examples all made with PB29. They vary in how easily they re-wet, the amount of granulation and also slightly in hue. My favourites are Da Vinci and Daniel Smith.

Ultramarine Blue Deep Old Holland, French Ultramarine Winsor & Newton, Ultramarine Finest Schmincke, French Ultramarine Daniel Smith, Ultramarine Deep Shinhan
Ultramarine Blue DS, Ultramarine M. Graham, Ultramarine Da Vinci, Permanent Blue Daler Rowler, Ultramarine Art Spectrum.

Cobalt Blue

Closest to a primary blue in that it is neither 'greenish' nor 'purplish', Cobalt is a lovely but expensive pigment. Look for the genuine PB28 for the most beautiful and liftable granulating washes. Some artists prefer cobalt to the deeper Ultramarine as a basic blue. I have it as an 'extra'.

Cobalt Blue W&N, Cobalt Blue ShinHan, Cobalt Blue Hue Derivan, Cobalt Blue AS, Cobalt Blue DS PB28.






Cerulean 

Cerulean varies from brand to brand but generally behaves as a cool blue making bright greens. Genuine Cerulean PB35 is slightly warmer than my preferred Cerulean Chromium PB36 DS. It is a rather opaque colour with plenty of granulation and particularly useful for skies and for mixing opaque greens. 

Cerulean Blue Derivan, Cerulean Blue W&N, Cerulean Blue (Hue) Da Vinci, Cerulean Blue DS


Cerulean Genuine DV, Cerulean Blue Chromium DS, Cerulean Blue Deep OH, Cerulean Blue Genuine DV

 Phthalo Blue

A cool and staining blue, phthalo blue is a very common colour in any palette. Available in Green Shade and Red Shade versions, with the green shade being the most common. Phthalo Blue Red Shade is another primary blue option if transparency, staining or non granulating properties are desired.

Winsor Blue W&N, Phthalo Blue GS DS, Phthalo Blue GS DV, Phthalo Blue MG, Richeson Blue (Phthalo) SQ, Phthalo Blue RS DS.

Prussian Blue

Not one of my favourites, Prussian Blue is an alternative blue if a less staining cool blue is desired. Made from PB27. Easily mixed with Phthalo Blue and a warm red.

Prussian Blue MG, Prussian Blue W&N, Prussian Blue DS, Prussian Blue DV

Deep Blues

Genuine Indigo is not light fast but the colour is very popular. It is a deep blue that can be warm or cool depending on the manufacturer. Often made with Indanthrone blue or phthalo blue and black, Da Vinci is unusual as it is made from Prussian Blue and Quinacridone Rose or Violet.
Indanthrone Blue also varies, with Daniel Smith being a warm version and Winsor and Newton a cooler. The S. Quiller example is in between. I don't often use indigo though it is rather lovely with quinacridone gold, but I love using DS Indanthrone Blue in dramatic skies.


Manganese Blue

Sadly most versions of Manganese Blue are hues and don't have the magical granulating characteristics of the genuine pigment, famous for painting snow effects. It is not an essential colour as it is not strongly tinting but quite beautiful.




Other Blues

The first three of these are mixes of little value as far as I can see. Smalt Genuine is an interesting very warm blue - almost a violet, made in a limited edition by Winsor and Newton. Lunar Blue is made of the highly granulating Lunar Black with phthalo blue and is wonderful for special effects. Daniel Smith Mayan Dark Blue is an interesting stormy blue colour thought I prefer Solalite below, Mayan Blue Genuine did nothing for me! 


Primatek Blues

These Daniel Smith colours are fascinating to try. I love the granulation of Blue Apatite Genuine and Sodalite Genuine, especially for stormy skies or a granulating grey option. Some were very disappointing.

Kyanite Genuine, blue Apitite Genuine, Azurite Genuine, Smalt Genuine, Lapis Lazuli Genuine, Vivianite Genuine, Sodalite Genuine (all Daniel Smith)

So how many to you need?

Depending on the size of your palette, you may work with just one blue such as Ultramarine or Phthalo Blue RS that you warm up or cool down as required, two blues - probably both ultramarine and phthalo blue GS, three if you want to add the granulating and more opaque cerulean, four if you want to add the deep indanthrone blue, 5 if you want a granulating special effects blue....and so it goes on. The blues you choose need to work to make a good range of greens and purples and are very important colours on your palette. I like to have at least three - Ultramarine, Phthalo blue and Cerulean PB36. My basic palette of 20 also has Indanthrone blue, and I have Blue Apatite Genuine and Sodalite genuine and some others as special effect colours in my studio.

Watercolour Comparisons 1 - Ultramarine Blue here
Watercolour Comparisons 2 - mid yellows here
Watercolour Comparisons 3 - Primary Red here
Watercolour Comparisons 4 - Burnt Sienna here
Watercolour Comparisons 5 - Greens (Single Pigment, convenience mixes and special effect) here
Watercolour Comparisons 6 - Reds (Cool, mid and warm) here
Watercolour Comparisons 7 - Yellows (cool mid and warm) here
Watercolour Comparisons 8 - Blues here

Next up - Earth Yellows.

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting these color comparison posts. They are extremely helpful. I just received my copy of your watercolor mixing book and am looking forward to reading and re-reading it.

    I am glad to hear you like Blue Apatite Genuine (BAG). I bought the BAG as part of a special color triad offer and really like it. It has replaced Prussian blue on my color palette.

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    1. Thank you Charlie. I still have a large number to organise and post up but it's nice to know they are helpful :-) I hope you enjoy the book. Do add your own notes as you go.

      Yes Blue Apatite Genuine is a lovely colour for special effects. You could probably mix the hue but not really recreate the granulation. I think you'll find it a more interesting pigment to use than Prussian blue, which is an easily mixed colour.

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  2. Blue is the most irresistible color to me--thank you for this in-depth exploration, which is a pleasure to look at too!

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    1. Thank you!
      There are hundreds of other painted watercolour comparisons on my website in the 'Resources and Tutorials' section.
      www.janeblundellart.com

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  4. Love your website and so very helpfull! I ordered the PDF version of your updated book
    I really wish it could have been the ebook but it's only made for iPad and I have a Samsung s2 tablet and I thought I could use the kindle app but no...maybe it can be changed in the future as the Samsung tablet's are winning the tablet wars and I pads are selling less and less according to apple...OK time to dive into these beautiful charts :)

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    1. I understand, however the Mac/iPad allows a 'fixed format' so the words and images don't disconnect. This keeps the index and cross-referencing in tact, especially for The Ultimate Mixing Palette. PDF is the only other way to make them available. I hope you find it helpful :-)

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  5. I tried to find Manganese Blue by Old Holland, but it is not even showing up in the search engine. I can find it in Ild Holkand swatches, but online ut is not available anywhere. Can it be discontinued?

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    1. Yes the pigment is no longer available so Old Holland discontinued manganese blue this year (2016) though some tubes may still be found...

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  6. Hi Jane! I have just recently picked up watercoloring and have found your comparison charts invaluable. You have mentioned other comparison charts (purples, earth yellows, etc.) but I am unable to find them on your blog. Can you direct me to them?

    Lisa
    Dublin, Ohio, USA

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    1. Lisa - the links to the other comparisons I have done as blogs are at the bottom of the post above. To see all the 800+ watercolour samples, go to my website here http://www.janeblundellart.com/painted-watercolour-swatches.html and each page shows a new colour to compare them all.

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  7. Smalt blue is the centuries old name for cobalt blue as smalt is finely ground cobalt blue glass.As most cobalt blues are hues W&N has differentiated their genuine cobalt blue by using the word Smalt .The other smalt blue genuine by DS has barely any pigment . Ultramarine was produced from ground Lapis which was not available in Europe and had to come 'over the sea'(ultra marine).Lapis Lazuli or genuine ultramarine is very rich when home made from chunks of Lapis which sometimes has red spots to give that intense slightly red blue.Any genuine earth pigment colour is going to be lacking in pigment unless you pay the price of course as you can see . In watercolour work you really do get what you pay for although many years ago cheap chinese paints were available with natural earths from the Pound (dollar) shops .Paynes grey (not shown here ) is another useful blue and is great for creating the blues seen in darkness .If building a basic palette os 6 or 7 tubes or pans ( that is all you need to create a broad spectrum of colours and effects) generally buy the best you can afford if you are unable to make them yourself( some like natural Sepia are available for use straight from the fish ) which generally means avoiding lakes and hues .

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