Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

You can send an email to [email protected] if you have questions about how to use this forum.

Prussian Blue as primary blue for landscape painting

edited May 2018 in Color Mixing
Sorry for the unedited photo.

Here is a paragraph in Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting by John F. Carlson. He suggested to use Prussian Blue as the primary blue. Did anyone use this as a primary blue ever as Carlson suggested?

I have used both ultramarine and cobalt blue for my outdoor landscape painting. I found that cobalt is a better option rather than ultramarine as it is not overpowering, darks are not unnatural (photographic) and both purples and greens are good.

Yesterday, I used Prussian in a painting just because I ran out of all the blues. I used less, just a tinge of it and mixes were excellent, it can still make reasonably good purples with alizarine and extraordinary greens (at least for blazing summer). Amazing for sky color. That leads me to these findings:
  1. It takes less paint; This is where ultramarine fails I guess. Needs practice though in handling this blue
  2. All the four colors are powerful
  3. Carlson's finding, which I don't dare to rule out
  4. Amazing blacks. Cobalt blue fails here



  • @Kaustav ;  The only thing I worry about is that when your paintings are finally hung in museums in the future under their lighting, which is what we should be preparing for, the Prussian blue will look wrong because it had been manipulated to look right under artificial lighting.  Mark mentions this in one of his videos.  I guess it comes down to selecting our audience as we paint.  But even when we only paint for our friends and families, and museums are the furthest thing from our minds, our paintings still end up in museums generations later as donations from family members trying to avoid estate taxes.  I'd use Prussian blue if I could get it to look right in daylight.  Summer   
  • @Kaustav ; Also, I've read that Alizarin Crimson is a fugitive color.  Have you found that--since I notice that you use it?  And, I'm wondering if that is true for Permanent Alizarin Crimson.  I will have to look further into that.  Summer
  • @Summer Thanks. Well, I am not so worried about medium etc. I am more interested to know if anyone has used it as a primary blue at least for two-three paintings. Only problem areas is that it is too powerful and needs some skill in handling; in a way it could save money on blues. A single small squeeze may just do the whole work just like Alizarin perhaps.
    Alizarine that I use may not be an original pigment but it behaves like that. I used it 22 years ago when I first started and the colors are still there. So, I guess it is ok.
  • @Kaustav ; I'm beginning to think that fake news has entered our realm of painters and the paints we use.  I only believe what I have experienced to be true.  I will keep your experience with Alizarin Crimson in mind because I've read that changes in color are noticeable after only a few years.  My husband has advised me to get a good photograph immediately after a painting is done and in the highest quality to ensure that what I intended is preserved--in a TIFF format.  Not bad advice.   Summer
  • Alizarine that I use may not be an original pigment but it behaves like that. I used it 22 years ago when I first started and the colors are still there. So, I guess it is ok.
    Agreed @Summer ; Actually I am not sure what the manufacturer is using. probably another pigments that behaves like Alizarine. It could even be PR264, a direct replacement.
    I only can tell what I observed for such a long time. My paintings are hung in my flat in Calcutta. They haven't changed much. I even made a copy of Tuner's temeraire in 1997 which involves uses of pure violets (used cobalt + alizarin). They are still the same. Also, there are many paintings that needed violets. They are still pretty good.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited May 2018
    Good to know these things from you @Kaustav, about your personal experiences with these colors.  I will keep them in mind for the future.  I trust what you are saying more than some of the things I read.  

  • For some reason, this link goes nowhere.  Thought you would want to know.

    And Alizarin Crimson:
  • edited May 2018
    Richard_P said:
    Could be right @Richard_P But the thing is that I am probably using Pthalo Blue variant and some other pigment for Alizarin. So I am not that badly placed.  B)

    Colors are still bright without cleaning and varnishing. I took the photos about three years ago. I feel that they are still in good shape.
    Alizarin for pinks and violets. Done in 1998. First painting that I did within a few hours.

    A copy. Sky is Prussian (Pthalo mixed I guess) Blue shadows in the water are cobalt blue. 1997.

  • SummerSummer -
    edited May 2018
    @Kaustav ; These are delightful paintings.  It must have taken courage to abandon colors of this intensity--twenty years  you say.  Is the spark still there?   Maybe your questioning Prussian Blue may be rekindling a fire to paint a few more like this.  I wish I had enough experience to answer your original question(s).  Different countries have different standards when it comes to paint manufacturing and even then those standards are not kept.  So, I can't even venture a guess as to what is going on.  Seems like you have found something better than Cobalt and Ultramarine made in your part of the world--Prussian Blue.  Let's see if anyone here is willing to experiment with what you have explained.  Keep in mind the manufacturing differences for each country will have to be part of the equation.  Is this what they call a rabbit hole???   :/   Summer  
  • It seems to be that Prussian Blue would make a good, (and far more tame) substitute for the pervasive Thalo Blue that makes up every Primary Blue, and every Cobalt or Cerulean substitute. Thalo is the cheapest and most intense blue ever, but that stuff permanently stains anything that touches it!
  • @lad I have been using Prussian since I wrote this post in May. I ran out of all the blues so started using it. So far I have been able to control the blue. I use just a drop. 

    Also since this is a greenish and dark blue, I can apply CMYK theory for color mixing easily.
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
Sign In or Register to comment.