Tuesday, 11 April 2017

YInMn Blue

I was so excited when I heard that a new pigment had been discovered. Like many, it was discovered or created by accident, back in 2009, in Oregon State University. The Professor's name is Mas Subramanian.

The name of the pigment comes from the chemicals that form this colour - Yttrium, Indium and Manganese.

Manganese oxide is normally black, Yttrium and Indium are yellow and white, so creating a blue when they were heated was a total surprise! It is a stable and non-toxic inorganic pigment, that reflects heat and absorbs ultraviolet so may be used for insulation.

The colour is described as being between ultramarine and cobalt blue. It is also compared with cobalt deep blue. I think of it as rather like a granulating Indanthrone blue - like a mix of PB60 and PB74. Very beautiful.

I've been curiously watching for it to be made into a paint. I saw an acrylic limited edition made by Matisse, and an oil version made by Gamblin but these were described as very opaque paints. Here it is in watercolour. The granulation really makes it something special.

I've tried to adjust to get the colour accurate but it is just a little more dull or greyed than it looks on my screen.

The pigment costs about 6 times more than cobalt or cerulean pigments due to the cost of the rare earth element Indium. It is not necessarily likely to be made as a watercolour any time soon, but it is not impossible if there is enough interest.

This was a Daniel Smith R&D sample and it was thought that as it is expensive, it may not offer enough to be developed further. What do you think? Would you buy it?