Friday, October 14, 2016

Mixin blues #2

In my previous blog entry I told you how I use my blues: never straight from the tube and often in transparent layers. I also promised to get a little deeper into the use of each different blue. Please note that titanium white is practically always a part of the mix, even if I don't mention it.

Here we go:
Cobalt and Caribbean blue in the upper part, kings blue and
Naples yellow just above the horizon
- Kings blue light: the starting point for mixing a lot of different blues. It's a nice, soft and not to outspoken blue. Goes perfectly with a little Naples yellow to get the greenish blue you often see close to the horizon. Or with other blues if you want to mix a darker sky color.
- Kings blue dark: don't use that a lot, mostly in a mix with kings blue light when I'm painting a smooth transition to a darker blue.
Royal Talens indigo with just a hint ofPrussian blue in the
upper part of the sky
- Cobalt blue: one of my favorites at the moment, mostly in combination with a hint of Caribbean blue, which gives it a greenish hue. I often use it for the darker part of a blue sky, but in the lighter parts (when mixed with titanium white) it's still a strong color.
- Ultramarin blue: a warm, purple like blue. I use it in more or less the same way as cobalt blue. Also a great color for glazing shadow parts of the foam lines on the beach.
- Ceruleum blue: a greenish blue, but not as saturated as Caribbean blue. I often use it mixed with indigo in the darker parts of a reflection. When mixed with vermillion red and titanium white it gives a wonderful gray. In my YouTube clip Mixing Colors it's one of the grays I demonstrate.
- Indigo: I use two diferent brands of Indigo: Royal Talens and Lukas. Though they have the same name they differ considerably. The Lukas indigo is almost purple, while the Talens indigo has a more neutral dark tone. I use the latter quite often, most of the time for the color of the ocean and every now and then as a thin glaze in the shadows of a cloud. I sometimes mix the two indigos if I need a very dark color. Black isn't a part of my pallet and as a matter of fact this mix looks so much better than black, especially when I add just a bit of magenta.
- Prussian blue: don't use it a lot, but if I do it's mostly in a mix with the Talens indigo for the dark part of a late evening sky
Caribbean blue in the upper part, mixed with kings blue
above the horizon
 - Caribbean blue: a very powerful green blue, the color of the Caribbean ocean. See cobalt and ultramarin.
- Old Holland blue-violet: a very deep purple blue, which I use exclusively to mix several shades of gray. The starting point is often Naples yellow, but the combination with other yellows works great too. In my Painting Clouds tutorial I demonstrate how I do it.
- Old Holland violet-gray: a wonderful soft violet, which I often use as a glaze (in a mix with transparent white) for the shadows of backlit clouds. My Painting Reflections tutorial shows how.

I seriously wonder if this is of any use to anyone. I think I would have quit reading after the first line... You'd really have to try it yourself to get an idea what these colors do in reality. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know! 


  1. Hello Mrs Dolsma. I read every word and appreciate all your posts very helpful. While age you had mention about a sunset video that you were producing, could you give an up date on that please.

    1. I've been pretty busy trying to finish the last works for an exhibition in The Hague (Netherlands) and now I've started working on a number of commissions, so you probably guess where this is going: I had to postpone the sunset video. Hope to start shooting sometime in November. Maybe...

  2. I find this very useful, thank you!

  3. I had written a lengthy response to this one sometime earlier about how useful it was and especially expressing my gratitude as you wrote this as per my request .. hopefully you received it even if it isn't seen here! :) Mixing blues will probably remain one of my favorites of your blogs.

    1. Hi Asha, good to hear you found it useful, especially since you were the one who suggested it. Thanks again!

  4. Years later this information is still very useful to us new painters and still very much appreciated