Thursday, 21 August 2014

Ultramarine and Oranges - looking for a neutralising pair.

My previous post showed what is possible with a quartet of transparent non-granulating colours based around Phthalo Blue RS and Transparent Pyrrol Orange D.S. See here

But what if you don't mind granulation and love Ultramarine but still want a really bright limited palette?

In these sketch book tests I was looking for an orange to neutralise with Ultramarine to create blacks, greys, deep blues and browns the way Burnt Sienna does.

Row 1 - a tiny dot sample of W&N new limited edition Transparent Orange PO171with their limited edition Phthalo Saphhire which is very like Phthalo blue RS. This mix makes greens rather than greys and black.

Row 2 - W&N Transparent Orange mixed with DS Ultramarine. This looks promising but I ran out of my dots sample! I'll add to this if I get some more. It is a lovely orange, though incredibly similar to the Schmincke PO71 version :-)

On the right is the more red Transparent Pyrrol Orange DS - made from the same PO71 as Schmincke Transparent Orange seen in row 3, but, as is often the case, it doesn't mix in the same way. It is so important to know the brand, colour name AND pigment numbers to be able to match a particular paint mix.

Row 3 - W&N Phthalo Sapphire next to DS Phthalo Blue RS - you can see how similar they are. Then Schmincke Transparent Orange and DV Benzimida Orange Deep PO36 which are also very similar though perhaps the Benzimida Orange Deep is cleaner and slightly less yellow? I then mixed Benzimida Orange Deep with Ultramarine - creates a wonderful range of earthy browns, greys, black and deep blues :-) Very similar to the mixes I get using Burnt Sienna and ultramarine.

4 - Ultramarine blue mixed with Schmincke Transparent Orange. These are also lovely lively colours with a hint more yellow perhaps.

5 - Phthalo Blue RS mixed with Benzamida Orange Deep and they don't neutralise, though they do produce lovely greens. (Even better with Phthalo blue GS!)

So the perfect neutralising bright orange for DS ultramarine seems to be Da Vinci Benzamida Orange Deep or Schmincke Transparent Orange with W&N Transparent orange looking promising. Three different pigments, three very similar colours.

Would they be the same with other brands of Ultramarine?
Below is Ultramarine Finest and Transparent Orange, both Schmincke. Lovely.
The second row is DaVinci Ultramarine Blue with DV Benzamida Orange - same as with DS
Oranges and ultramarine blues, different brands.
Next is DS Ultramarine with Schmincke Transparent Orange and finally DS ultramarine with Benzamida orange again.

Schmincke Transparent orange has a slightly more golden glow, so adds a slightly green cast to the neutrals.

To see Ultramarine mixed with Purple Magenta and Hansa Yellow medium, click here


  1. Was that Bezimida orange or Benzimida Orange Deep?

    1. Benzimida Orange Deep is a gorgeous Da Vinci watercolour. You can see it on my Da Vinci post here

  2. Did you also tried Saturn Red from Schmincke ? Its Pigment Orange 62 and belongs to the 2017 new colors,so you dont had it 2014 as you made this Test. But it could be realy suited or ?

    1. An interesting thought. I don't have enough of it to test much (just a dot!) but could give it a try...