Blue


Blue skies breaking through.

Blue - one of my favorite colours.

Feeling blue for an artist is a joy. To feel blue and to paint blue.

The colour of heaven; colour of the sky; colour of my husband's eyes.

Colour of infinity, the colour of distance.


My top eight blues


1. Cobalt blue - a historical pigment, transparent, delicate cool.

2. Teal blue - a joyful summer sea-green biased blue

3. Ultramarine blue - the warm blue of summer skies

4. Anthraquinone blue -a cool and recessive blue,

5. Prussian blue - a. dark almost black, broody blue

6. Pthalo Blue - infinity in a tube, red shade is a warmer blue and makes fabulous rich violets. Green shade is the cooler twin - great for suggesting distance.

7. Cyan - the true primary blue, beautiful, bright, bubbly.

8. Blue Train (John Coltrane) https://youtu.be/HT_Zs5FKDZE


All these blues I use regularly and for different effects and mixes, but Prussian Blue and Pthalo Blue have remained my favorites for a decade.


Prussian blue is the one not to spill on the carpet - deep staining, dark, concentrated. The blue of Picasso's blue period. A modern pigment, allegorically discovered by accident in a lab by German paint maker, Diesbach, in the 1700's whist trying to make a red pigment using the shells of cochineal beetles. Contamination meant he ended up with

blue instead. Previously blue had mainly been derived from Lapis Lazuli, was very expensive. So the value of this accidental new pigment was obvious, especially as it was stable and relatively light fast.

It's chemical structure is such that it absorbs almost all orange light spectrum, releasing back only the deepest of blues.


Prussian blue is deep, dark, broody. Different manufacturers pigments vary in depth and hue, I use a particularly dark pigment of Prussian blue by Schminke.


Pthalo blue - I love you.


Phthalocyanine Blue. An organic pigment formed from complex carbon chemistry and synthetically derived in paint labs.

Pthalo blue, like most organic pigments, offers a high chroma, high tinting strength and exceptional transparency - like a small piece of stained glass-and allows light to pass through practically undisturbed. This characteristic allows mixtures with unusually high brilliance and clarity.

As with Prussian blue, different paint brands manufacture their own pigment mixes for Pthalo blue, and they do different quite significantly in hue and application. My favorite brand in this colour is hands down Golden Paints. Juicy, opaque when applied liberally, it thins out to the most delicious transparent glaze.




Shades of blue:


Air Force blue Air superiority blue Alice blue Azure Azure white Baby blue Bice blue Bleu de France BlueBlue-gray Bondi blueBrandeis blueByzantine blueCapriCarolina blueCelesteCeruleanCobalt blueColumbia BlueCornflower blue CyanDark blueDenimDodger blueDuke blueEgyptian blueElectric blueFederal blueGlaucousElectric indigo Ice blueIndigoIndigo dyeInternational Klein BlueIrisLight blueMajorelle BlueMarian blueMaya blueMedium blue Medium slate blue Midnight blue Navy blueNeon blueNon-photo blue Oxford BluePacific blue Palatinate bluePenn BluePeriwinkle Persian blue Phthalo blue Powder bluePrussian blueRobin egg blueRoyal blueSapphireSavoy blueSky blueSlate blue Steel blueTeal blueTiffany BlueTrue BlueTufts BlueTurquoiseUCLA BlueUltramarineViolet-blueVivid sky blue

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© Helen Elliott