Sodalite is one of Daniel Smith’s exclusive Primatek colors made from real minerals. This one is a granulating, very dark blue. I’d say this is a good substitute for Indigo (which is traditionally blue + black) if you’re looking for something in that color family that is more granulating and/or single pigment.
Color Spotlight: Phthalo Blue Red Shade (PB15:6)
Is Phthalo Blue Red Shade actually red-toned, neutral, or still green-toned but simply less so than its cousin Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PB15:3)? I’ve heard all opinions, and I suppose it’s a judgment call. (Is the color blue you see the same as the color blue I see?) My opinion is that it is a … Read more
Color Spotlight: Cerulean Blue Genuine (PB36)
The color Cerulean, a light sky blue, is traditionally made from the PB35 or PB36 pigments. It’s a semi-opaque, granulating, green-toned blue with limited range of values, erring on the side of being light-colored. It’s nonstaining and highly liftable, making it a good choice for skies (if you like granulating skies). Personally, I usually like a less textured sky – but Cerulean has other uses as well, such as being a beautiful textured green mixer, and muting earth tones into cool, granulating browns.
Warning: Be careful to look at pigment numbers. Some brands, like Mission Gold, call their PB15 Phthalo Blue “Cerulean.” Don’t make the mistake I did when I first started painting, and get “Cerulean Hue” (from Da Vinci or any other brand), made from Phthalo Blue + white. PB15 is not the same color, and will not have the same granulation/magic/mixing properties.
Color Spotlight: Manganese Blue Hue (PB15)
Manganese Blue Hue, made from the same pigment as the Phthalo Blues but designed to mimic the original Manganese Blue, which is a non-staining, liftable, and granulating light blue.
Color Spotlight: Cobalt Blue (PB28)
Made from the heavy metal cobalt, this is a true neutral blue that’s neither green-toned nor purple-toned, and is a perfect shade for clear blue skies.
Color Spotlight: Ultramarine Blue (PB29)
Ultramarine Blue is a bright, bold, almost electric violet-blue that is almost always granulating. It typically comes in two flavors: regular and French. French Ultramarine (or sometimes “Ultramarine Deep”) is the more granulating and violet-toned, while the regular Ultramarine is moderately granulating and a bit more medium blue. Some brands also offer a Light Ultramarine or Ultramarine (Green Shade) on the other side of the spectrum.
Let’s start by looking at Da Vinci Ultramarine Blue, a balanced medium color, and then we’ll explore the French and Green shade options as well as other brands.
Color Spotlight: Indanthrone Blue (PB60)
Also known as Indanthrene, this is a deep, moody blue that gets very dark, perfect for night skies, shadows, and atmosphere!
What’s the best blue watercolor for the sky?
It happens to be a day with a beautiful blue sky as I write this today, so I can compare my blue paints to the sky in to real life. Which one will win??
Color Spotlight: Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PB15:3)
Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) uses PB15:3, a green-toned variant of phthalocyanine blue PB15. (There is also a more middle blue variant, Phthalo Blue (Red Shade), which uses pigment PB15:1 or PB15:6. See my post, What’s the difference between Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) and Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)?)
Every major manufacturer offers some variant of this pigment, and mostly they share some characteristics, like being bright, bold, and highly staining. Daniel Smith’s version is even more bold than usual/than the rest of its line, so expect LOTS of color from this paint! It’s super-vibrant and actually kind of hard to mix because it has a tendency to overwhelm whatever mix it’s in.