What’s the difference between Lavender and Smalt?

In this post, I’ll be comparing Winsor & Newton’s Smalt (Dumont’s Blue), which is made from Ultramarine Violet pigment (PV15), with Daniel Smith’s Lavender – a mix of white, Ultramarine Blue, and Ultramarine Violet.

Note that the color WN calls “Smalt” is not traditional Smalt pigment, which is made from finely ground glass containing cobalt. Instead, it’s a version of Ultramarine Violet that leans heavily toward blue, somewhere between a typical Ultramarine Violet and Ultramarine Blue hue.

Because of that, I found it to be a good hue match to Lavender, which is made from a mix of Ultramarine Violet and Ultramarine Blue. The main difference is that Lavender also contains white, so it’s opaque and can have a pastel (“chalky”) appearance. Smalt has no white, so it can get darker, and is more transparent.

Both colors are granulating blue-purples with similar use cases: the violet tones in sky mixes, clouds, hazy distant mountains. I don’t think I need both, so which should I choose?

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Color Spotlight: Lavender

Daniel Smith – Lavender (PV15, PB29, PW6)

Like most commercial Lavender mixes, Daniel Smith’s Lavender is a mix of Titanium White (PW6), Ultramarine Violet (PV15), and Ultramarine Blue (PB29). This is a convenience mix; you can mix it yourself if you have the components, although my personal mix didn’t granulate as much as DS’s premixed one.

Lavender can be used as a sky color on its own or as a component in a bright/light sky blue (for example, with Phthalo Blue or Phthalo Turquoise). I can also imagine it being a convenient mix for hazy, distant mountains, flowers, snow, and shadows.

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