Alternative Paint Suggestions for Kolbie Blume’s World of Color 10-Day Challenge

Cotton Candy Sky, from Kolbie Blume’s “Wilderness Watercolor Landscapes.” December 14, 2021.

Kolbie Blume’s new 10-Day Challenge, World of Color, starts today! I thought it would be a fun public service for anyone else who is participating to present my mapping table of color alternatives to the colors Kolbie indicated using in their Supplies video

SlotKolbie UsesAlternatives
YellowWN Lemon Yellow Deep (PY159) – unusual low-strength, high-granulating yellowAny primary or lemon yellow! Add a bit of yellow ochre or raw sienna for texture if desired.

I’m using: WN Winsor Lemon (PY175) or WN Winsor Yellow (PY154)
Earth YellowWN Gold Ochre (PY42) – more orangey than most Yellow OchresRaw Sienna (PBr7) is a common earth yellow-orange that I find very useful.

Magnesium Brown (PY119) or Lunar Earth (PBr11) are a similar hue to Gold Ochre, and wildly granulating.

Yellower alternatives: Yellow Ochre (PY42 or PY43); Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7); Naples Yellow Deep (PBr24).

I’m using: DV Raw Sienna (PBr7) 
Orange-Yellow or GoldDS Quinacridone Gold (PY150, PO48)Nickel Azo Yellow (PY150) is the main ingredient in this Quin Gold mix, and will mix most similarly. You can mix your own Quin Gold hue by mixing in any earth orange (row below).

Rich Green Gold (PY129) may work for some applications (e.g. mixing greens), but is generally too green for sunlight.

Alternately, any warm yellow/yellow-orange such as New Gamboge, Hansa Yellow Deep (PY65), Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (PY110), etc. 

Or, use your Earth Yellow. 

I’m using: DV Gold Ochre (PY42, PY83)
Earth OrangeDS Burnt Sienna (PBr7)Any earth orange such as Transparent Red Oxide (PR101) or Quin Burnt Orange (PO48).

Or if you prefer, go with an earth red/maroon such as Indian Red (PR101) or Light Red (PR102).

I’m using: Transparent Red Oxide (PR101) or Quin Burnt Orange (PO48).
ScarletWN Scarlet Lake (PR188)Any orangey-red e.g. Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255), Geranium Red (PR242), Cadmium Red Scarlet (PR108).

Some prefer a more fire-engine red such as Pyrrol Red (PR254).

Alternately, red-orange would work as well e.g. Pyrrol Orange (PO73), Transparent Pyrrol Orange (PO71).

For a more muted look, especially for muting blues, consider Deep Scarlet (PR175) or Perylene Maroon (PR179).

Quin Coral (PR209) is an orange-toned pink that’s great for sunsets, but doesn’t mute blues.

I’m using: DS Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255) or DS Quin Coral (PR209)
RoseMG Quinacridone Rose (PV19)Any Quinacridone or Permanent Rose (PV19); Quinacridone Magenta (PR122); Quinacridone Fuchsia (PR202). Alternately, a cool/crimson red such as Alizarin Crimson hue, Carmine (PR176), or Pyrrol Crimson (PR264).

I’m using: DV Red Rose Deep (PV19), HO Quin Magenta (PR122), or HO Pyrrol Rubine (PR264)
Fluorescent RoseWN Opera Rose (PR122, BV10)Same as rose (above). I find a combination of Quin Rose and Quin Coral can look nearly as glowing if the surrounding colors are muted.
Dark Blue (Violet)WN Indanthrene Blue (PB60)Ultramarine Blue (PB29) is another violet-blue; if a dark blue is desired, sub in Indigo or Payne’s Gray.

I’m using: Sennelier Blue Indanthrene (PB60), WN Ultramarine Green Shade (PB29), and/or WN Smalt (PV15)
Dark Blue (Cyan)WN Indigo (PBk6, PB15, PV19)Prussian Blue (PB27) could be used though it doesn’t get as dark as indigo.

Indanthrene Blue or Payne’s Gray also work if you want to cut a slot.

Or self-mix your favorite dark blue with black. Commercial mixes tend to be black, Phthalo Blue, and a bit of red.

I’m using: Holbein Indigo
Blue-GrayWN Payne’s Gray (PBk6, PB15, PV19)Same as Indigo, but with more black.

I’m using: Holbein Payne’s Gray
CyanWN Phthalo Turquoise (PB16)Phthalo Blue GS (PB15:3); Prussian Blue (PB27)

Usually you can just swap in your Phthalo Blue entirely. To match the hue, mix in a bit of green or a tiny bit of transparent yellow.

I’m using: WN Phthalo Turquoise (PB16)
Granulating/Sky CyanMG Cerulean Blue (PB36)Cobalt Blue (PB28); Cobalt Turquoise (PG50); Manganese Blue Hue (PB15)

I’m using: DS Manganese Blue Hue (PB15)
Middle GreenDS Hooker’s Green (PY36, PY3, PY150, PO48)Mix with your choice of green or cyan & yellow. 

I’m using: Phthalo Turquoise + Rich Green Gold or Phthalo Green + DV Gold Ochre
Yellow-GreenDS Sap Green (PG7, PY150, PO48)Mix with your choice of green or cyan and more/warmer yellow. 

I’m using: Phthalo Turquoise + Rich Green Gold or Phthalo Green + Raw Sienna
Dark GreenDS Jadeite GenuineSennelier Forest Green; Qor Hooker’s Green; any Perylene Green (PBk31).

Add a bit of dark red, black, or brown to Phthalo Green.

Add a warm, muted yellow to a dark, muted blue (e.g. Indanthrone Blue & Quin Gold).

Lisa Spangler suggests a mix with Phthalo Green and Chromium Oxide Green.

I’m using: Indanthrone Blue + Rich Green Gold
Dark GreenSennelier Greenish Umber (PB60, PBk7, PY83)Same as Jadeite alternatives.
BlackSH Galaxy BlackAny black. If granulation is desired, Lunar Black (PBk11) or Lamp Black (PBk6).

I’m using: Rembrandt Spinel Grey (PBk26), which is not granulating
GraySH Random GreyAny random combination of colors 😉 This is a commercial mix of “random” odds’n’ends, so not much different from a truly random palette mix. Some people like that this color has unusual color separation; you can emulate that by including granulating colors in your gray mix, such as Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Turquoise, or Viridian.

I’m using: Palette dirt.
WhiteDr Ph Martin’s Bleedproof WhiteAny white gouache or watercolor.

I’m using: SH Titanium White gouache

Making this table helped me get my mind around which colors I’m using and how to adapt them, and reassure me that yes, I do have enough/the right colors – no need to shop! This was also an interesting exercise in part because it revealed comparatively where my colors are concentrated – I had trouble limiting myself with yellows, pinks, and reds, but devoted a lot fewer slots to greens. 

At any rate, I’m sure whatever colors you have will be fine: when you’re doing a lot of mixing, it’s not important to have the exact same starter colors as the teacher. It’s more important to learn the principles of mixing, get to know your particular palette, and figure out how to adapt to new situations whatever colors you’re starting from, and for those lessons, I think having different colors from the teacher is actually more educational.  

3 thoughts on “Alternative Paint Suggestions for Kolbie Blume’s World of Color 10-Day Challenge”

  1. Really appreciate your blog! I’m having a tough time with the yellow ochres in Kolbie’s projects. I’ve tried substituting both DS yellow ochre and DS Monte Amiata for some of her skies and it always comes out looking vaguely dirty – too brown, too granulating. They look like forest fire skies, not sunny and golden. My other option is quin gold but I find it too bright. It’s possible that I’m just using too heavy of a wash in both cases.

    Does DV raw sienna look cleaner for these applications? I love MANS for landscapes but nothing in this range seems to do what I want in skies (possibly a skill issue!)

    • Yeah, I know what you mean. My tip for MANS is to really really dilute it because it comes across more brown the more concentrated it is, but it’s also not a super primary yellow tone – it’s very earthy. And it’s granulating, which you might not want in your sky. I find Yellow Ochre even harder to work with in a sky because it is so opaque.

      Raw Sienna has the advantage of being transparent and not very granulating (at least in the Da Vinci version I use – I think DS’s is granulating), but it’s also a more orange tone, which I find looks less like sunlight (not yellow enough). It can work really well for a more subtle, stormy sky. To get an idea of how it looks, I think the landscape toward the bottom of this post has a Raw Sienna streak in the upper part of the sky:

      The color I tapped as a Quin Gold replacement in this post, DV Gold Ochre, is a mix of a warm yellow and a yellow ochre, so one option is to try mixing them to get the properties you like from each.

      So far, in the 10-Day Challenge, I’ve actually tended to use either Quin Gold or a plain yellow for the skies – “Sky Candy” and “Gradient Peak” both had really yellow skies.

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