Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

 

 

 

 

Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

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Color Index (C. I. Numbers)

The ideal being that we want pure pigments, no mixtures. Let us do the mixing; that’s our job after all.

Only tubecolors that contain the pure pigment is mentioned. No mixtures. I examined Classico also, because I wanted to see what a cheap, good quality, students brand could come up with. It turned out both bad and good: They have many mixtures, some pure colours, and a cheap range of cadmiums.

 

List of examined brands:
Archival Oils (of Chroma).
Beckers (a Swedish brand)
Blockx
Classico (of Schminke)
Daler-Rowney Artist’s Oil Colours
Daniel Smith
Fragonard (of Pebeo)
Gamblin
Lefranc & Bourgeois
Lukas (1862, Artists Oil Colours)
Maimeri Puro
Michael Graham
Michael Harding
Mussini (of Schminke)
Norma (of Schminke)
Old Holland
Rembrandt
Rublev
Sennelier
Williamsburg
Winsor Newton, WN, (Artist’s oil colours)

 

Goya does not specify pigment content.
Vasari does not specify pigment content.

 

Binders
Archival Oils are undoubtedly ground in an alkyd resin, which makes them more durable.
Gamblin: Linseed oil.
Grumbacher: Linseed oil.
Maimeri Puro: poppy oil.
Michael Graham: walnut oil.
Mussini: a dammar-oil mixture.
Sennelier: safflower oil.

 

 

Below you will find the blue Color Indexes with descriptions and listing of the commercial brands that sell it.

 

 

 

Color Index

BLUE

 

GOOD

PB 15



Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

Phthalocyanine (copper). Phtalo blue. Cyan. Heliogen blue. Monestial blue. Monestral blue. Thalo blue. Requires 30-50% oil. semi-slow drier. High tinting strength. Transparent.

 

In commercial tubes it is often cut with considerable amounts of transparent fillers, which will make the colour turn greenish on age because of the yellowing of the excess oil, so avoid too cheap products, like student colours. It’s tempting to buy cheap products because the cut colour is more manageable than the incredibly intense full strength product. This colour is so intense, it is practically never used pure. It is lighter than paris blue but resembles it if mixed with black and ultramarine (PB 27). Most other blues can be mixed with phtalocyanine blue as a base, but pure phtalocyanine can not be emulated by other colours. Hence it can be considered a primary colour even though it is rarely of any use if laid out pure on the palette because of its intense colour. In use since about 1935.

 

Archival: Phthalo Blue (Red Shade).
Daler-Rowney: Monestial Blue. Monestial Turquoise.
Daniel Smith: Manganese Blue Hue. Phtalo Blue. Phtalo Blue GS.
Holbein: Hydrangea Blue. Transparent Blue.
Lefranc & Bourgeois: Hortensia Blue.
Old Holland: Old Holland Blue. Scheveningen Blue Deep. Blue Lake.
WN: Winsor Blue (Green Shade). Winsor Blue (Red Shade).

PB 15:1

 

Copper Phthalocyanine.

 

Beckers: Monastralblå.
Blockx: Blockx Blue.
Gamblin: Phtalo Blue.
Maimeri Puro: Berlin Blue.
Sennelier: Phthalo Blue.

PB 15:2

Copper Phthalocyanine.

PB 15:3

 


Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

Beta Copper Phthalocyanine.

Archival: Phthalo Blue.
Blockx: Primary Blue.
Fragonard: Primary Phthalo Blue.
Lefranc & Bourgeois: Phthalo Blue.
Maimeri Puro: Primary Blue – Cyan.
Michael Graham: Phthalocyanine Blue, Turqoise.
Michael Harding: Phthalocyanine Blue Lake.
Mussini: Translucent Cyan.
Norma: Phthalo Blue.
Old Holland: Scheveningen Blue.
Sennelier: Alizarin Blue Lake.

Williamsburg: Phthalo Blue.

PB 15:4

Beta Copper Phthalocyanine.

 

Gamblin: Manganese Blue Hue.
Grumbacher: Phthalo Blue.
Rembrandt: Manganese Blue (Phthalo). Phthalo Blue Green.

PB 15:6

Epsilon Copper Phthalocyanine.

 

Mussini: Translucent Oriental Blue.
Rembrandt: Phthalo Blue Red.

PB 15:34

Copper Phtalocyanine.

PB 16

 

Metal Free Phthalocyanine.

 

Maimeri Puro: Turqoise Green.
Mussini: Translucent Turqoise.

Old Holland: Carribean Blue.

PB 17

Phthalocyanine Cyan.

PB 27:1

Prussian Blue (See uncertain PB 27).

 

Gamblin: Prussian Blue.
Grumbacher: Prussian Blue.
Holbein: Prussian Blue.
Michael Harding: Prussian Blue.

PB 28

 


 

Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

Cobaltblue. Oxides of cobalt and aluminium. Expensive. 120-150% oil. Weak tinting strength. Semi-transparent. Fast dryer.

There are several varieties of cobalt blue, so don’t expect to get the same blue from different brands.

It can be replaced by a cheap mixture of ultramarine, phtaloblue and titanium white. This mixture also emulates the relative transparency of cobalt blue and can be manipulated to any of the many shades cobalt blue comes in. In addition it contains less oil (30-50%) and can be safely used for underpainting.

Since cobalt blue requires so much oil it is wise to dispense with it, because it will turn greenish upon ageing and if used pure in underpaints, may cause overpaints with leaner colours, like ultramarine, to crack. For underpainting it ought to only be used 1:1 with white or other lean colours.

You might lament so many of Manet’s or Krøyer’s masterpieces are made with cobalt blue in the shadows. It would be if they had used ample oily painting mediums, but as far as I know they did not and even – before introducing this colour to the battlefield of the palette - placed the cobolt blue straight from the tube on a piece of blotting paper to ensure all excess oil got drained out. Now, you might comment that the cobolt blue you have is so stiff already and does not have excess oil like the tubecolours did at the end of the 19th century. Well, not so! Today we have a plasticizer, they did not have then: aluminiumstearate. This devil in disguise can be used to make any colour appear stiff and apparently without any excess oil, even though in reality it contains as much as twice the needed amount of oil. So be warned: if you turn niggardly and purchase a cheap cobolt blue in good faith because of its stiffness in the tube, then know that it probably (due to its cheapness) contains not 150% oil, but 300% oil with large amounts of aluminiumstearate to disguise it. So, paradoxical as it may sound: you must never deviate from the maxim that expensive colours must be purchased in the most expensive and trustworthy brand, while cheap pigments, like earthcolours, may often be purchased as the cheapest studentcolours. This last fact is because oil and aluminium stearate are more expensive than earth, so even studentcolours of ochre are likely to contain only ochre.

Archival: Cobalt Blue.
Beckers: Koboltblå.
Blockx: Cobalt Blue.
Daler-Rowney: Cobalt Blue.
Daniel Smith: Cobalt Blue.
Fragonard: True Cobalt Blue.
Gamblin: Cobalt Blue. Cobalt Teal.
Grumbacher: Cobalt Blue. Cobalt Turuoise.
Holbein: Cobalt Blue. Cobalt Blue Deep. Cobalt Blue Pale.
Lukas: Kobaltblau.
Maimeri Puro: Cobalt Blue Light, Cobalt Blue Deep.
Michael Graham: Cobalt Blue.
Michael Harding: Cobalt Blue.
Mussini: Cobalt Blue Light.
Norma: Cobalt Blue Light.
Old Holland: Cobalt Blue (?).
Rembrandt: Cobalt Blue Light.
WN: Cobalt Blue.

PB 29

 

Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

Ultramarine. Cheap. Most difficult to handgrind and requires plasticizers like 2% aluminiumstearate or aluminium hydroxide (varying amounts depending on the stiffness you want). Requires 30-50% oil. High tinting strength. Semi-slow dryer.

When grinding your own ultramarine, a nice trick is to add 20-50% poppy oil to the linseed oil in order to counteract the threadyness of a pure linseed oil ultramarine. You will in any case need some siccative too. The problem is that the paint will either harden in the tube or become very fluid within a days time. To counteract this, leave the grinded paint on the slab overnight and then grind it again. It is difficult to reach the exact break point when hand grinding with a muller. Electric three-cylinder rollermills are much better, but expensive. In any case you have to grind, wait a day, grind again, etc. for a couple of days.

In oil, ultramarine can (rarely) develop what is known as ultramarine disease: a chalky grey hue. Its cause is not quite understood, though older books claim to explain it. If you believe your works are destined for immortality and you fear any disease that may strike your child, stick to cobolt blue, phthalocyanine and ceruleum.

Ultramarine is one of our most useful colours and in combination with phthaloblue and zinc white it can emulate most other blues. But you can actually emulate ultramarine with a mixture of phthaloblue, dioxazine violet and zinc white. This mixture, without zinc white, will be deeper than ultramarine, and not have its chalkiness, and probably serve you better in the shadows since you can manipulate it to be more or less violet. If you desire the faint chalkiness of light ultramarine add a small amount of zinc white to the mixture.

Throughout history ultramarine has been used as an addition to shadows, even in the 15th century ( ) (then, of course, one used the expensive semi gemstone, lapis lazuli). You will probably also want to use ultramarine to deepen your shadows, and for that you might want to premix it with black. In the middle ages, they sometimes under painted ultramarine with black for the same reason. This will remove the somewhat chalky appearance pure ultramarine can have in tempera, especially when set against other darks like umber and black, and which the light variety of ultramarine may also display. If you grind your own ultramarine, you will have less of the chalkiness, since ultramarine is very sensitive to the fillers and plasticizers colour manufacturers put in this difficult colour to force it to some unnecessary standard plasticity. I say unnecessary because once you grind all your colours yourself, you will realize that the different plasticity of ultramarine compared to cerulean blue or umber, for example, will force you to use different brushstrokes and manners of handling, which again will present itself as great variety in your brushwork.

 

Archival: French Ultramarine Blue.
Beckers: Ultramarinblå.
Blockx: French Ultramarine Blue Deep, French Ultramarine Blue Light.
Classico: Ultramarine Light. Ultramarine Deep.
Daler-Rowney: Permanent Blue. French Ultramarine.
Daniel Smith: French Ultramarine. Permanent Blue. Ultramarine Blue Deep.

Fragonard: Deep Ultramarine Blue. Light Ultramarine Blue.
Gamblin: Ultramarine Blue.
Grumbacher: French Ultramarine Blue. Permanent Blue (Ultramarine). Ultramarine Red. Ultramarine Violet.
Holbein: Ultramarine Blue. Ultramarine Deep. Ultramarine Light.
Lefranc & Bourgeois: Ultramarine Deep, Ultramarine Light, Ultramarine Blue (Green Shade), Lefranc Blue.
Lukas: Ultramarinblau.
Maimeri Puro: Ultramarine Light, Ultramarine Deep.
Michael Graham: Ultramarine Blue.
Michael Harding: Ultramarine Blue.
Mussini: Ultramarine Blue Deep, Ultramarine Blue Light.
Norma: Ultramarine Blue Deep. Ultramarine Blue Light.
Old Holland: French Ultramarine Light Extra. Ultramarine Blue. Ultramarine Blue Deep.
Rembrandt: Ultramarine Light. Ultramarine Deep.
Sennelier: French Ultramarine. Ultramarine Light.
Williamsburg: Ultramarine Blue.
WN: Ultramarine (Green Shade). French Ultramarine.


Technical Bulletin of the National gallery, London, vol 18, 1997, pp 6ff.

PB 31

Egyptian Blue.

PB 33

 

Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

Manganese blue. Barium manganate. No longer manufactured but still available as a tube colour. Toxic. 30% oil. Transparent. Fast dryer.

 

It is no tragedy that this beautiful colour is no longer manufactured, because it can be very exactly emulated by phthalocyanine blue and large amounts of blanc fixe (PW 21). The mixture will truthfully copy the real things transparency and will not be more prone to yellowing, since the mixtures oil content is lower. Alternatively you can emulate manganese blue with a mixture of phthalocyanine blue and cerulean blue, though it will be a bit darker and will have a higher oil content, about 60%, so it will probably be more likely to yellow. This latter mixture will also be more expensive.

 

Old Holland: Manganese Blue.

PB 34

Copper Sulfide.

PB 35

 

 

Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

Ceruleum, Bleu Celeste. Oxides of cobolt and tin. Very expensive. Weak tinting strength. Medium dryer. 120-140% oil.

 

Because of the high oil content it should only be ground in low-yellowing oils like alkyd, poppy or walnut. This is a strikingly beautiful blue and may seem hard to emulate. It can be replaced by a mixture of ultramarine, phtaloblue and some zink white (titanium white will make it more opaque than the original product). This mixture also emulates the relative transparency of ceruleum and can be manipulated to any of the many shades ceruleum comes in. Since ceruleum blue requires so much oil it is wise to dispense with it or only use it in overpaintings. The suggested mixture will only contain about 40% oil and is much cheaper, so it is a wiser choice. Mix it and fill a tube with it. If you really need the nice skylike hue and texture of ceruleum, then so be it. Remember that for any blue to contribute to the immortality of your work, it should have a low oilcontent, because otherwise it may turn greenish upon ageing. Certainly don’t use it with oil rich painting mediums like gelmediums. If you grind it yourself, know that some sources claim it will harden after a few days, so first grind it, then leave it covered to see what happens and add more oil accordingly. Doerner for this reason recommends 2% wax in the oil. Personally I have experienced first a separation in the tube so the oil would flow out when you remove the cap from the tube, then later the colour would harden to a hard lump in the tube. So it is not recommended to grind this your self.

 

Beckers: Coelinblå.
Daler-Rowney: Coeruleum.
Fragonard: True Cerulean Blue.
Gamblin: Cerulean Blue.
Grumbacher: Cerulean Blue Genuine.
Holbein: Cerulean Blue. Cerulean Blue Red.
Lefranc & Bourgeois: Cerulean Blue.
Mussini: Cobalt-Cerulean Blue.
Norma: Cobalt Cerulean Blue.
Old Holland: Cerulean Blue. Cerulean Blue Light.
Rembrandt: Cerulean Blue.
Sennelier: Cerulean Blue.
Williamsburg: Cerulean Blue (Genuine).
WN: Cerulean Blue.

PB 36




 

Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

Cobalt Chromite. Cobalt turquoise. Ceruleum (Chrome). Oxides of cobalt and chromium and aluminium. Expensive. See PB 28 and PB 35. It can be emulated with ultramarine/phthaloblue, phthalogreen and zinkwhite.

Blockx: Turqoise Blue, Cerulean Blue.
Daler-Rowney: Cobalt Turuoise (RS). Cobalt Turguoise (GS). Cobalt Green Deep.
Daniel Smith: Cerulean Blue Chromium. Cobalt Turquoise.
Fragonard: True Cobalt Green.
Grumbacher: Cobalt Titanate Blue. Magnesium Green.
Holbein: Cobalt Tuquoise.
Lefranc & Bourgeois: Cobalt Blue Turquoise.
Maimeri Puro: Cerulean Blue.
Michael Graham: Cerulean Blue.
Michael Harding: Cerulean Blue.
Old Holland: Cobalt Blue Turquoise. Cerulean Blue Deep.
Sennelier: Bonnard Blue.
Williamsburg: Cerulean Blue French.
WN: Cobalt Turquoise.

PB 36:1

Zinc Cobalt Chrome Aluminium Spinel.

PB 60

 

 

Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

Indanthrone, Anthraquinone, Paliogen. Good tinting strength. Transparent. Its hue is indigo, somewhat like prussian blue but not so intense.

Blockx: Indanthrene Blue.
Daler-Rowney: Indanthrene Blue.
Daniel Smith: Indanthrone Blue.
Gamblin: Indanthrone Blue.
Grumbacher: Indanthrene Blue.
Lefranc & Bourgeois: Indanthrene Blue.
Maimeri Puro: Faience Blue.
Michael Graham: Anthraquinone Blue.
Mussini: Delft Blue.
Norma: Indanthrene Blue.
Old Holland: Old Delft Blue.
Rembrandt: Indanthrene Blue.
Williamsburg: Indanthrone Blue.

WN: Indanthrene Blue.

PB 61

Modorant Blue R.

PB 71

Zirconium Vanadium Blue.

PR 72

Cobalt Zinc Aluminate.

 

Daler-Rowney: Cobalt Blue Deep.
Sennelier: Cobalt Blue.

PB 73

Cobalt Silicate Blue.

PB 74

Cobalt Zinc Silicate Blue.

Blockx: Cobalt Blue Dark.
Mussini: Cobalt Blue Deep.
Norma: Cobalt Blue Deep.
Old Holland: Cobalt Blue Deep.

Rembrandt: Cobalt Blue Deep.
WN: Cobalt Blue Deep.

PB 75

Phtalocyanine Cobalt Complex.

PB 76

Phtalocyanine Turqoise.

PB 79

Aluminium Chlorophtalocyanine.

PB 80

Benzimidazolone Dioxazine. Hostaperm Blue R5R.

PB 128

Basalt.

 

Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

 

UNCERTAIN

PB 27

 

Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

Prussian Blue. (See Good PB 27:1). Prussian Blue, Berlin Blue, Paris Blue, Milori Blue.  Ferri ammonium ferrocyanine. High tinting strength. Transparent. Fast dryer.

It may be emulated by a mixture of phtaloblue, ultramarine and black or phtaloblue, dioxazine and black. Since it requires up to 120% oil, it is prudent to replace it with this mixture when used pure or for underpainting. If not for any other reason, replace it because its permanence is dubious, though authorities seem to differ in this respect. Its tendency to become dull may be because of its high oil content.

 

Beckers: Pariserblå.
Classico: Prussian Blue.
Daler-Rowney: Prussian Blue.
Daniel Smith: Prussian Blue.
Fragonard: Prussian Blue.
Lefranc & Bourgeois: Prussian Blue.
Lukas: Preussischblau.
Michael Graham: Prussian Blue.
Mussini: Prussian/Paris Blue.
Norma: Prussian Blue.
Rembrandt: Prussian Blue.
Sennelier: Prussian Blue.
Williamsburg: Prussian Blue.

WN: Prussian Blue.

PB 30

Malachite, Azurite. Basic Copper Carbonate. Lightfast but is affected by atmospheric acids and sulfides.

PB 32

Smalt.

PB 66

Synthetic Indigo, Indigoid.

 

Grumbacher: Indigo Blue.

Mussini: Indigo.

 

Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

 

BAD

PB 1, 1:2

Victoria Blue

PB 24

Turqoise Blue

PB 25

Disazo.

PB 62

Brilliant Blue CF.

PB 63

Synthetic Indigoid Carmine.

 

Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands. Color Index numbers (C. I. Numbers) and commercial artists oil paints. A color chart and list of good, bad and uncertain pigments with notes on the most used commercial tube colors from various popular brands.

 

VARIOUS TRADITIONAL BLUES

Academy Blue

Ultramarine + Viridian.

Cyan

Coboltblue + Prussian Blue.