Friday 29 April 2016

Maimeri Blu watercolours - full range updated 2017

I had previously tried a number of Maimeri Blu watercolours, but have recently had the opportunity to test out the whole range with thanks to Winifred. These are a popular range of watercolours from Italy. There are a large number of single pigment colours, including the more expensive but lovely cadmiums, cobalts and ceruleans. 

The Cadmiums are bright and clear and paint out nicely. While I only use cadmiums for special purposes, I do like to have them available and have heard that, while generally considered toxic, in fact the amount you would have to consume to have a toxic effect is enormous as the cadmium is so well bound in the pigment compound that it cannot do any harm.

When I first wrote this blog, they were set out in a fairly random way. Interestingly the colour chart also looks fairly random as they are arranged by number not by colour. 

January 2017 - Rephotographed and reloaded in my own more logical order. The lightfast ratings on the colour chart are not much help as they are all rated three stars ***, even though many of the pigments are not ASTM I or II. 

The pigment information chart includes staining, granulation and, unusually, diffusion, so I'll add those notes into the captions. If non granulating or non staining I'll omit a comment on that aspect.

MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Chinese White (medium Diffusion) , Nickel Titanate Yellow (high diffusion), Permanent Yellow Lemon (medium diffusion), Cadmium Yellow Lemon (hight diffusion),
Cadmium Yellow Light (high diffusion).

MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Primary Yellow (staining, high diffusion), Indian Yellow (staining, high diffusion), Permanent Yellow Deep (staining, high diffusion), Cadmium Yellow Deep (high diffusion),
Permanent Orange (high diffusion)

MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Cadmium Orange (high diffusion), Orange Lake (staining , medium diffusion), Cadmium Red Light (high diffusion), Permanent Red Light (staining, high diffusion),
Cadmium Red Deep (granulating, low diffusion).

MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Crimson Lake (staining, high diffusion), Sandal Red (staining, high diffusion), Permanent Red Deep (staining, high diffusion), Tiziano Red (staining, high diffusion), Rose Lake (staining, high diffusion).

These all painted out well, except the always tricky PV16 mineral violet pigment though this granulates nicely.
MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours -Primary Red-Magenta (staining, high diffusion), Verzino Red (staining, high diffusion), Garnet Lake (staining, high diffusion), Permanent Violet Reddish (staining, high diffusion),
Mineral Violet (granulating, low dispersion).

 I prefer the Ultramarine Deep in this range.
MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Permanent Violet Blueish (staining, high diffusion), Cobalt Violet (granulating, medium diffusion), Ultramarine Violet (granulating, low diffusion), Ultramarine Deep (granulating, medium diffusion), Ultramarine Light (high diffusion).
 Faience Blue is more commonly known as Indanthrone Blue. 
MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Cobalt Blue Deep (granulating, high diffusion), Cobalt Blue Light (low diffusion), Faience Blue (staining, high diffusion. Made with PB60), Indigo (staining, high diffusion),
Prussian Blue (staining, high diffusion).

 PB16 is not that common - a very lovely colour. The Cerulean looks more like a phthalo blue.
MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Cerulean Blue (low diffusion), Berlin Blue (staining, high diffusion), Primary Blue-Cyan (staining, high diffusion), Turquoise Green (staining, high diffusion), Green Blue (staining, high diffusion).
 Cupric Green Light is PG36 - usually known as Phthalo Green Yellow Shade. Viridian is not a strong pigment but this was very weak. Perhaps it is better fresh from the tube?
MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Cupric Green Deep (staining, granulating, high diffusion), Viridian (granulating, low diffusion), Cupric Green Light (granulating, high diffusion), Cobalt Green Deep (staining, granulating, high diffusion), Hooker's Green staining, medium diffusion).

MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Permanent Green Deep (staining, medium diffusion), Cobalt Green Light ((staining, high diffusion), Olive Green (low diffusion), Green Earth (low diffusion), Sap Green (staining, low diffusion).

MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Permanent Green Light (staining, low diffusions), Permanent Green Yellowish (low diffusion), Naples Yellow Light (high diffusion), Naples Yellow Reddish (high diffusion), Yellow Ochre (staining, high diffusion).

Burnt Sienna, such an important colour, was disappointing. A nice hue and made with PBr7 but not so easy to paint out. I was working from a small sample of dried paint though - it may be better fresh from the tube. Transparent Mars Brown may be an interesting Burnt Sienna substitute for those who like a more burnt orange version.
MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Golden Lake (possibly made with PR101? granulating, medium diffusion), Raw Sienna (medium diffusion), Transparent Mars Red (high diffusion), Burnt Sienna (low diffusion), Transparent Mars Brown (staining, low diffusion).

MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Dragon's Blood (staining, high diffusion), Avignon Orange (staining, high diffusion), Venetian Red (staining, high diffusion), Stil de Grain Brown (staining, low diffusion), Burnt Umber (granulating).

MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours - Raw Umber (granulating, low diffusion), Vandyke Brown (low diffusion), Sepia (granulating, low diffusion).

MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolours -Payne's Grey (granulating, low diffusion), Neutral Tint (medium diffusion), Carbon Black (staining, high diffusion), Ivory Black (staining, granulating, low diffusion).

It's fun to test out a whole range and these generally paint out nicely. While I will continue to use the Daniel Smith watercolours I have enjoyed for over 20 years now, it's nice to know there are plenty of other well made largely single pigment watercolours available from all over the world.

October 2018
Maimeri Blu has completely overhauled their range, removing all (but 1) of the mixes so it is almost a purely single pigment range. Wow! The only mix is a surprise - Mars Black has PR101 + PBk11. I wonder why? there is also a colour with two versions of PR206.

Many excellent pigments have been added - Potter's Pink PR233, Pyrrole Orange P071 and Pyrrole Red PR255 to name a few. The many unnecessary greens and purples have been removed.

Here is what the new range looks like. Where the colour number and pigment number has remained unchanged I have included the old swatch. Where the pigment has changed I have created a new one. And of course for the many new colours I've added a new swatch. 34 colours have been removed or changed.

Titanium White is a new addition to the updated range. Nickel Titanate Yellow is not a powerful yellow, but this one paints out nicely. Yellow Vanadium is also a new colour to the range.

Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Chinese White, Titanium White (not shown), Nickel Titanate Yellow, 
Permanent Yellow Lemon, Cadmium Yellow Lemon, Yellow Vanadium (not shown).

Golden Yellow is a new colour, as are Transparent Yellow and Cadmium Yellow Medium. Permanent Yellow Deep is a new version of a previous colour. I really like PY65 as a pure warm yellow so the new version Indian Yellow should be useful. It looks a little brighter in life than shown here.

Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Primary Yellow, Golden Yellow (not shown), Transparent Yellow, 
Cadmium Yellow Medium (not shown), Permanent Yellow Deep (not shown),  Indian Yellow.

Orange and yellow orange are so often almost impossible colours to show accurately. Cadmium Yellow Deep is a rich warm yellow. Gamboge Hue, Permanent Yellow Orange and Permanent Orange are new colours to the range. Cadmium Orange is an almost unnatural rich orange and the new Pyrrole Orange a gorgeous transparent mid orange very close to what is shown here.
Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Cadmium Yellow Deep, Gamboge (Hue), Permanent Yellow Orange, 
Cadmium Orange, Pyrrole Orange.

Orange Lake is brighter than it appears here. The other colours are fairly accurate. Cadmium Red Orange is a new colour in the updated range. Permanent Red Orange is a new name for a previously used pigment, Cadmium Red Medium is a new colour.
Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Orange Lake, Cadmium Red Orange (not shown), Cadmium Red Light, Permanent Red Light, Cadmium Red Medium (not shown), Sandal Red.

Pyrrole Red, using my favourite warm red pigment, is a new colour to the range. Quinacridone Red is the usual lovely Coral colour of PR209, replacing Tiziano Red. Very difficult to capture exactly but this is close. Permanent Red Deep is a classic crimson. Permanent Carmine is a new colour; Crimson Lake is a new pigment and Rose Crimson Madder is a new colour to the range.

Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range  - Pyrrole Red, Quinacrdione Red, Permanent Red Deep, Permanent Carmine (not shown), Crimson Lake (not shown) and Rose (Alizarin) Crimson Madder (not shown).

(I am gradually updating these swatches...)

Verzino Violet seems unchanged in the new range.
Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Permanent Madder Deep (new colour), Rose Lake, Primary Red-Magenta,
Versino Violet, Magenta Quinacridone (new colour).

Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Quinacridone Lake (new colour), Quinacridone Violet (new colour),
Manganese Violet (new colour), Permanent Violet Blueish, Ultramarine Violet.

Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Ultramarine Violet (new colour), Ultramarine Deep, Ultramarine Light,
Cobalt Blue Deep (new pigment), Cobalt Blue (new colour).

Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Cobalt Blue Light, Faience Blue, Indigo (new pigment),
Cerulean Sky Blue (new colour), Cerulean Blue.

Phthalo Turquoise is a lovely turquoise version of PB15 - PB15:4. See bottom of post.
Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Prussian Blue, Berlin Blue, Primary Blue-Cyan, Cobalt Blue Green (new colour),
Phthalo Turquoise (new colour).

Turquoise Cobalt is a very popular colour. See bottom of post.
Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Cobalt Green Bluish (new colour), Turquoise Cobalt (new colour), Turquoise Green, Copper Oxide Green Deep (new colour - but probably replacing 317 Cupric Green Deep), Viridian. 

Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Copper Oxide Green Light (new colour but probably replacing 316 Cupric Green Light), Cobalt Green (new colour), Hooker's Green (new pigment replacing 331), Sap Green (new pigment replacing 358), Cobalt Green Deep.

Green Gold is made from the lovely PY129 - see bottom of post.
Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Cobalt Green Light, Green Earth (new pigment), Green Gold (new colour, replacing 339 Permanent Green Light), Naples Yellow (new colour), Naples Yellow Medium (new colour).

The Raw Sienna seems unchanged.
Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Yellow Ochre, Golden Ochre (new colour replacing 128 Golden Lake),
Raw Sienna, Transparent Mars Red, Burnt Sienna.

Brown Madder (Alizarin) is one of only two mixed pigment colours in this new range as far as I can see, and it uses two versions of PR206.
Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Venetian Red, Pozzuoli Earth (new colour), Dragon's Blood (new pigment), Brown Madder (Alizarin) (new colour replacing Avignon Orange), Mars Brown (new colour replacing Transparent Mars Brown).

Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Potter's Pink (new colour), Burnt Umber, Raw Umber,
Vandyke Brown (new pigment), Sepia (new pigment).

The only other two-pigment mix is Mars Black - PBk11 is a fabulous granulating magnetic black pigment. I wonder why PR101 was added?

Maimeri Blu Watercolours new range - Payne's Grey (new pigment), Neutral Tint (new pigment), Ivory Black,
Carbon Black, Mars Black ((new colour).

I'll create a new post once I manage to try the new colours as it is a massive change.

Update - 6 of the new colours.

MaimeriBlu watercolours after overhaul - Indian Yellow (new pigment),
Pyrrole Orange, Quinacridone Lake

MaimeriBlu watercolours after the overhaul - Turquoise Cobalt,
Phthalo Turquoise, Green Gold.

I also tested the new versions of Ultramarine Deep, Raw Sienna and Verzino Violet and they appear unchanged.

Here is the website with the whole range of 90 colours.


  1. Interesting as I am working with MaimeriBlu at the moment and I too am disappointed with the Burnt Sienna. For me the colour just misses what I am looking for in a Burnt Sienna... I often mix it with Prussian or Pthalo Turquoise either on my brush or on the paper and it doesn't somehow have the wow of W&N Burnt Sienna... haven#t tried Daniel Smith. I am liking the other colours so far....

    1. So you may prefer to use the Transparent Mars Brown as the MB burnt sienna option - it's the same pigment as W&N Burnt Sienna, PR101 - not actually a burnt sienna at all! Burnt Sienna is PBr7, which is what Daniel Smith, MaimeriBlu, Da Vinici, M.Graham and others use. It is a more earthy and brown version rather than the W&N burnt orange version. If you were to try a DS 'burnt sienna' colour, you may actually prefer the rusty coloured Transparent Red Oxide PR101, though it is rather wild and granulating - I love it but it isn't as predictable as the W&N verson. W&N Burnt Sienna is a lovely colour - warm and transparent and quite bright. The closest in DS is Burnt Sienna Light, that is only available in the Alvaro set of 10 x 5ml tubes, or Quinacridone Burnt Orange PO48 that is very similar in hue.

    2. Thanks for the information Jane... I should have thought to look at the pigment numbers. So I will try the Mars Brown and DS Red Oxide. As I progress I become more specific about colour, the granulation would be an added bonus!!

  2. Thank you for doing this ... very useful.

  3. Interesting info,they used to have the best sap green,now it's been reformulated with 3 pigments,previously it was phthalo green pg7 and quinacridone gold which the label was wrong pv48,daniel smith is the only one that has that.

    1. Daniel Smith has the last of the PO49.
      PO48, which is quinacridone gold deep, is still available and it often used in Quinacridone gold hues with a yellow such as PY150.

  4. Forgot to mention I bought several of the sap green from mb to my horror it was a murky mess,emailed the company several times with no response, customer service is not great. com

    1. Often you can correct a 'murky mess' by vigorously shaking the tube, or even using a needle to stir the contents within the tube. Tubes may sit around for a while before purchase, so they gum and pigment can separate.

  5. MBA burnt sienna pbr7 does work better from the tube,a spot of colour would be very dry.

  6. I love the transparent Mars brown in MBA. Sorry the old sap green was with phthalo green yellow shade and pv19, i think they were scrapping the barrel for this colour,lol

    1. It was originally PG36 & PO49. PV19 is a Quin red to rose color.

  7. I got my chart from Doodlewash's blog back in September. It has the colors all on one page. Hope it's useful. :)


    1. that was very helpful! Had a hard time getting it on one page - had to take it down to 85% in landscape but it is readable except for the pigments and I can reference that online when I need to.. have needed this.

  8. I saw that there are Maimeri Blue Superior watercolors -- and then I think "professional"? Which one is the best quality?

    1. I think the Superior at their Artist range, the Venezia is there student range.

  9. I just opened my palette for the first time in a few weeks to see that even though I've not even used my maimeri paint it had begun to seep out the back of my palette. Definately not a travel paint :( I think I'm glad I only bought one tube as a tester...

    1. I wonder - did you shake the tube well and allow the paint to dry fully in your palette before you closed it? Sometimes paints separate, so need to be shaken up again, and sometimes if they don't have the chance to dry out fully they can stay soft - just worth thinking about before giving up in the tube you bought.

  10. Hey, Jane! My name is Yuliya. I use your blog as a main guide in watercolour world, so thank you! :-) I have a question though, which I didn't find among the comments: Is there a chance you accidentally slipped the Mijello Mission Gold swatches into the picture of swatches starting with Indigo? Thank you! :-)

    1. Thanks for pointing that out - yes a couple of Mission Gold swatches have snuck in - I'll edit and fix that up.

  11. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this post while researching PR101 colours. I'm off to Venice in a few days and will definitely be picking up a few of these while I'm there - I love DS for the huge selection of single-pigment paints, so it's good to see another manufacturer doing this.

    1. It will be interesting to see whether you find the old or the new versions - or perhaps both? It seems that even the pigments that have remained in the range have had an overhaul.
      Happy travels to beautiful Venice :-)

  12. Thank you for posting about the changes to the Maimeriblu watercolor paints. I bought the old versions years ago, I'm looking forward to seeing your post of all the new colors. Am a little concerned to see you call it a "massive change". Do you know why they changed the line, for example different binders, milling techniques, etc?

    1. I don't know if they changed the range in terms of processes or ingredients, but they certainly made many pigment changes to basically all single pigments across the range. I hope to show the updated range soon.

  13. Word of caution. Their tubes are down to 12 ml. I’ve use MA for years, but seems quite expensive since the change. Considering moving over to D.S.

  14. Thank you for the swatches! Phthalo turquoise (PB16) and turquoise green (PB15:4) look similar on my screen, with the PB16 looking a bit greener. Which one remains more saturated when dry and the color still pops? I've been adding them, removing one, adding it back, removing the other one, then adding that one back. I've been doing this will all of the other colours as well, especially the yellows; there are so many hues all with lovely and sometimes unusual or new single pigments that there is no need for mixes, but those are a lot of colours... The most difficult are the oranges or red oranges: I'm torn between PO20, PO62, PO64, PO71, PR168, PR255, PR254, PO20. Argh! The only one I'm sure of not wanting is the PO43 as it looks to lean towards blue in tints - to my eye and on my screen, anyway. And speaking of blues, those are the only ones I have narrowed down: all of them! Just kidding: primary blue cyan, Prussian, faience, cobalt blue, ultramarine light (as it doesn't seem to granulate), cerulean sky blue and cobalt turquoise. For the purples, pinks and violets, that's a no-brainer: all of them, as I like to paint flowers. For the greens, just Green Earth and Viridian, as it does not seem to granulate, and perhaps Hooker's and cobalt green light to mix with a cadmium for a pretty leaf green; the sap green seems to lean grey in tints. Besides, I'm still in love with Serpentine, from DS. Enough rambling... back to my basket.

    1. Hmmm - difficult to answer when I haven't tried all the new colours but I do suggest you don't overload your palette or it can be too confusing. the Phthalo Turquoise is a definite turquoise colour, leaning towards green. The Turquoise Green is not green at all but a turquoise blue.
      For the oranges I'd consider Pyrrol Orange (PO71) and Pyrrol Red (PR255) as they are both clean mixing and lovely bright warm colours.
      For the blues, Faience, ultramarine, primary blue cyan, Cerulean blue and ultramarine will do pretty much all you want, but if you want to add the cobalts it's your palette ;-)
      For the greens, you can make your own very nicely with PG7 and your yellows as well as PG18 or PG26.
      You can make all sorts of purples with your blues and either PV19 or PR122 but you might add others for the granulation or staining properties.

      Have fun!

    2. Thank you for the reply!

      For the yellows, I've narrowed it down to the PYs 97, 154, 65, 175, 227, 183, 150, 139 and 129.

      For the oranges, the POs 62 and 71, and maybe 64 just because it's eye-searing, though I wouldn't know what flower to paint with it - maybe autumn leaves.

      For the reds, PRs 255, 254, 176, 177, 112, 202 and 179, although this last one might not make it in my basket. I much prefer PR264 but Maimeri doesn't have it, so I'll wait for Rembrandt to release their revamped line of professional paints (it's their Carmine version) and grab it from Jackson's. Also, I'm debating whether or not to buy PR209. I'm not crazy about coral colours, but I heard it mixes clear with blues and yellows. Furthermore, this pigment is a troublemaker for me; for some reason, I get streaks when I use it fresh from the tube: Sennelier, M. Graham, DS, W&N, doesn't matter which one - but if I use the DS stick, or W&N and Sennelier pans, the streaks are not apparent (I use HP watercolour 100% cotton paper). Schmincke's new PR207 is tempting but it looks like a yellowish pink, whereas the PR209 doesn't look as yellow.

      I'm taking all the PVs, expect for the two granulating ones.

      For the blues, I already have PB 15, 60 and 27. I'm adding PB28, 36, 35 and 29 (ultramarine light). Looking at your swatches, it seems that the old version of UM deep granulates, whereas the new one doesn't. Maimeri's new colour chart indicates that they do not granulate. Since I have PB60 and plan on getting the cobalt blue PB36, I might skip the PB29s altogether.

      For the greens, only PG18, because 26 granulates, as well as does their version of PG7, standing to their specs, which I find odd, as I haven't yet seen a granulating PG7.

      For the browns, Sepia PY164, and 4 browns made with PBr7 (van Dyck, burnt and natural umber, and burnt Sienna).

      For neutrals, their Neutral tint made with PBk26. The Indigo is made with NB1 and the Payne's grey with Vat Blue 1, apparently not lightfast even though Maimeri assigned a 3-star LF rating (as they did to PR177, but I'm taking this one - not negotiable).

      I feel I should remove some PYs, and maybe burnt Sienna - don't know what to do with it. If I want to paint mushrooms, the umbers will do nicely. Or raw umber and van Dyck brown.

      Decisions, decisions...

  15. Try the new Mars Brown, if you can get it. Stock is unavailable in Mebourne at the moment sadly as I have 48students waiting!!!!!!

  16. Hi ya, Jerry's Artarama has these on sale right now & the picture of Cupric Green Light shows it as #322. You have it as #316 and Cobalt Green as #322. Curious which is right? Thanks 😊

  17. I was thinking about ordering more Maimeri and found the tubes are smaller being 12 ml. I heard the formula has changed and is more granular. I love the 15 ml tubes 5 tubes that I bought a few years ago. But now worried that the formula isn't the same. Not sure I should invest in getting more colors now.

  18. Something I noticed with the Maimeri Blu watercolor tubes is that even though they're supposed to be only 12ml, they look and feel weightier than my 14ml Winsor & Newton tubes. I bought my MB and WN potter's pink at the same time last year, so I was able to compare them while they were still new. I did so cos I was surprised by how full the 12ml MB PR233 tube looked than my 14ml WN one. IIrc, the end part of a WN tubes is like an inverted V, whereas the MB one is like an inverted U, so there was more paint there. My MB tube was also either 6g or 9g heavier (couldn't remember exactly anymore; I used a small weighing scale) than my WN tube. The paints' cap/tube itself may be the reason for that, but even without my weighing both tubes, I was surprised by the difference.