Indanthrone Blue + Organic Vermilion + Monte Amiata Natural Sienna

I head that Straits Arts (Singapore) has started selling Daniel Smith Watercolors so I went down to have a look.

I wanted to see if they have the 8 new colours that Daniel Smith has just released this year. The colours are ​​Rose Madder Permanent, ​​Quinacridone Lilac, ​​​​Wisteria, ​​​​Lavender, ​​Aussie Red Gold, ​​Raw Sienna Light, ​​Burnt Sienna Light and ​​Payne's Blue-Gray.

Unfortunately, Straits Art did not have those new colours. Eric told me that new stocks would arrive at the end of the month, so that's when I will go back there again. Most of the stocks were sold out also. Popular colours like Phthalo Blue, French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Hansa Yellow were all sold out.

In the end, I bought four new colours that I've not used before, namely Monte Amiata Natural Sienna, Organic Vermilion, Indanthrone Blue and Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade).

I had wanted to buy Yellow Ochre but that was out of stock too. So the alternative I chose was Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr 7), which I shall refer to as MANS. I've to say that I was attracted by the exotic name. This is a rather lovely subdued yellow with granulation. It's transparent and non-staining.

Organic Vermilion (PR 188) is a nice neutral to warm red. It's semi-transparent, does not granulate and non-staining. This pigment is not totally lightfast though. It's rated Very Good instead of Excellent in the lightfast ratings by Daniel Smith.

Indanthrone Blue (PB 60) is a dark warm blue. It's transparent, non-granulating and has medium staining strength. When you want granulation or textures, French Ultramarine would be the choice. Indanthrone Blue can turn black every easily with earth tones.

I wanted to get Phthalo Green (Blue Shade) but there was only Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade) (PG36) available. The yellow shade is a lighter more cheery version of Phthalo Green. If you want something intensely dark, get the Blue Shade.

Here's the colour wheel and mixtures I created.

Since MANS is a subdued yellow and when mixed with Organic Vermilion, the resulting orange isn't the brightest. Shown in the picture above, I've mixed a bright orange with New Gamboge just for comparison.

Organic Vermilion with Indanthrone Blue produces a colour that looks like mauve. When more blue is added, the colour reminds me of dark grapes.

Indanthrone Blue with MANS produces dirty warm green. It's like a dirty version of Olive Green. Sludge comes to mind when I see this mixture.

So it's impossible to mix a bright or clean green with the three primary colours I have. But thanks to the Phthalo Green (YS), I can have bright greens too.

I tried to mix the green with Organic Vermilion, and the lower sample is with MANS. I like the granulating green below. Looks lovely. If I need dark greens for shadows, I can add Indanthrone Blue to Phthalo Green.

As for mixing grays, I think it's best to let the colours mix on paper. It's rather easy to create muddy mixtures when mixing on palette.

Here's the sketch I painted with the 4 colours.

The sky was mixed with the three primary colours. The castle-thing at the back was mixed with Indanthrone Blue with MANS with some Organic Vermilion.

The roofs are mixed with MANS and Organic Vermilion. The granulating texture suits these tiled roofs well.

Shadow areas are mixed with the three primary colours but with more Indanthrone Blue added.

Having Phthalo Green (YS) really helps. Otherwise, there would be no way for me to paint the trees without them looking like sludge.

I'm really happen with these four colours. I might use them exclusively for my next few sketches. It's fun to change colour palettes once in a while, and also fun to explore colours not used before.

That's the reference photo I found on Flickr.


1 Comment

Having a good single-pigment

Having a good single-pigment green in your palette will save just about any palette, I've found. Phthalo Green (any shade) or Viridian are highly useful. Especially if the green shade is very saturated to unnatural degrees, because they can be muted with just about anything.

I actually did some experimentation on the secondary palette (3 primaries and 3 secondaries), and found that good coverage can be done with just a red-magenta (such as Quinacridone Rose), a cool yellow (Lemon Yellow, but Hansa Yellow Light should also do the trick), a darkish cyan (phthalo blue green shade works, but the red shade also works), and a saturated green. Magenta and yellow can make anything from orange to red to red-orange, magenta and cyan will get you all the purples you need, and the yellow and blue will generate realistic greens (in fact, forest green, hooker's green, and sap green style hues are all obtainable).

Rounding out the palette with an earth tone to more easily mute any color mix is helpful. For me that's permanent brown (which is actually a dark earth red, more intense than burnt umber or burnt sienna). I know you don't like permanent brown but perhaps try it with these fellows, if you still have it. :)

I have both organic vermillion and indanthrone blue, they are very lovely. You can create indigo-like shades with these two. I'm very fond of phthalo green blue shade, and mixing it with a little cool yellow produces an approximation of the yellow shade. (And I create an approximation of gamboge with a lot of cool yellow and a little organic vermillion to warm it up.)

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