Color Spotlight: Raw Umber (PBr7)

Da Vinci – Raw Umber (PBr7)

Raw Umber is one of many earth tones made from PBr7 brown. A cool, dark brown with blue undertones.

Experiment Results

Hue: Cool brown from a deep “dark chocolate” brown to a cool beige. The lighter tones look good for things like dry grass shadows and sand, which I find difficult to color match. The granulation, most evident in the upper midtone, has a warmer, slightly more orangey hue than the background/dilute color.

Tinting Strength: I found this slightly low for my liking, but it’s not the worst – better than Daniel Smith’s Raw Umber (see below).

Gradation: Fairly even gradation for granulating color.

Granulation: I wrote “when wet, looks more granulating.” I actually loved the big granulation I saw when the color was wet, but a lot of it disappeared in the drying. Odd.

Opacity: This one looks extremely transparent to me.

Glazing: Near-black dark brown.

Color Mixes

My overall feeling is that Raw Umber mixes most nicely with other earth tones, where it lends granulation and subtlety. With bold smooth colors like Red Rose Deep (PV19), it just looks like awkward grayish granulation sitting on top of a pale version of the other color.

Color mixes with DV Raw Umber (PBr7)

Comparison to Other Brands

Daniel Smith – Raw Umber

Daniel Smith – Raw Umber

Daniel Smith’s Raw Umber is more granulating than DV’s and lower tinting strength. I wrote “difficult” because I found it hard to rewet and get a good masstone. The dry paint is very hard and wetting it makes it tacky. It is possible to get a near-black very dark brown masstone, but it seems to like to hang out in midtone and if you try to get a masstone, the masstone doesn’t spread but just sticks to itself. It is also difficult to get a pale, dilute tone. I hope you like mid-tone. The granulation is really pretty if you can manage it.

Compared to DS’s Raw Umber, Liz Steel feels that DS’s Van Dyck Brown is “more interesting,” FWIW.

What Others Say

Raw Umber is a neutralised yellow. You could create this hue by mixing a purple and a yellow but that’s quite a fiddle. The Daniel Smith and Da Vinci versions are wonderful and dark so they add a dark cool brown to the palette. I find Raw Umber really wonderful for shadow colours, skin tones and in landscapes. 

Jane Blundell, Mixing with Raw Umber

I love my warm browns, so it took me a long time to be willing to put this color on my palette, but I have to admit that it is an incredibly valuable color for landscapes as well as to establish the underlayers for fur and feather patterns for animals.

Denise Soden, Color Spotlight: Raw & Burnt Umber

My Overall Review

So in my local landscape environment this is actually quite a useful color. The tree bark where I live tends to be a grayish-brownish so it’s quite a good color match. The problem is just that I find this color … so … boring.

On my palette: No.

Favorite version: Da Vinci is way better than Daniel Smith.

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