I like granulation now, so this is part of my effort to revisit colors I previously wrote off because of the granulation. Last week, I did Potter’s Pink for the same reason.
Goethite Brown Ochre is a highly granulating, low-tinting-strength yellow ochre, made with the traditional yellow ochre pigment PY 43. Jane Blundell includes it as one of the fourteen colors in her Ultimate Mixing Palette.
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.
Shadow Violet is a granulating purple-gray that’s made from a mix of three pigments: PB29 (Ultramarine), PG18 (Viridian), and PO73 (Pyrrol Orange). As such, close inspection of the seemingly unassuming shade reveals flecks of violet blue and blue-green as well as and underlying orange cast that make it more interesting than your typical gray, and mimics the overall effect of a real-life shadow with light and dark spots, color variety, and texture. John Muir Laws praises its beautiful granulation and suggests using it as a convenience gray for shadows in nature paintings.
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.