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Blue too thin?

My blue is so thin that it won’t cover or bump the canvas. Not sure why it’s acting like that and when I mix it with others it makes the new color do it also.. thoughts 


  • dencaldencal -
    edited November 2019

    In this shot the canvas appears to be backlit?

    This also shows a thin to non existent toning layer which, if beefed up, would lend opacity to all the values.

    What brand of paint are you using? Is it a student grade? 

    French Ultramarine is a rich transparent blue.

  • A few answers 
    the pic isn’t back lit prob just a glare from light.. i was just using a canvas board as a test so the whole thing wasn’t Tinted .. I used all my colors and just tried to make a mark on the board and all the colors except blue would leave a solid mark...
    I didn’t think the blue was supposed to be translucent.. it didn’t seem like that before.. I don’t want to paint in “washes”
    more frustrating is when I mix with others it makes the other translucent.. or blue and brown to make black then my black is translucent..

    as far as brand.. I actually have to check.. I can’t think of type but was thinking of swing by shop and getting a different blue and trying that .. 

  • I suppose my basic question is if blue is a transparent color?
  • Yes it's quite transparent. If the paint is thin then that's what happens. Phthalo blue is also transparent
  • just put a tiny amount of titanium white in it, should make it opaque!
  • edited November 2019
    So is the blue more opaque than others.. I feel like I’ve used this for a while and am just realizing how it works.. 
    Im using masters touch paints from hobby lobby. They are the most available around me.. I use Geneva brown though..
    I picked up a little tube of French ultramarine instead of just ultramarine so I’ll do some test this eve..
    ive considered adding white.. since my lights are always fine and thick.. 
    but that also changes the color which I don’t want to do.. 
  • Top to bottom
    ultra blue masters touch 
    french ultra marine Windsor 

    both out of tube 

    Other strokes with a bit of medium...

    pics may not do it justice but the Windsor French ultramarine although transparent still colors and covers the canvas quite a bit stronger than the ultra. So gonna have to find bigger tubes of that around here. They only had 37 ml..

    I’ll maybe save the others for a sky or something very light 

  • DaddyJama

    Try staining/toning the canvas with a mid grey or mid brown. The UMB will look solid.


  • Try to check the pigment load in your paint.  The more pigment is in the paint the better it will be.  Professional grade paints will have more pigment and not as many fillers, maybe.  You will need to read about each one.  I use Winsor Newton Professional grade paints and have been satisfied with them.  Of course, Geneva paints will be better, but I have so much of the other that I continue to try to use it up.
  • edited November 2019
    Ultramarine is just not an opaque pigment and so even highly pigmented brands won't be opaque. Cobalt blues are more opaque, but very expensive.

    The best option is a highly pigmented phthalo blue. It's almost black in masstone and has such a high tinting strength that it reveals highly chromatic blues when mixed white. It keeps a strong colour even when mixed with large amounts of white. This also makes it opaque, but it's tinting strength can be hard to handle.

    I believe pure phthalo blue (which I don't think is ever offered in paints due to it's strength) has 40 times the tinting strength of Ultramarine blue.

    Hope that helps,
  • Thanks all.. yes been balancing cost and quality.. kinda proud I’m getting to the point I can actually tell the difference!:) the prepped Windsor is def stronger  than the masters ultra even if not fully opaque..

    ive tried doing a daily small painting so trying be cheap on the sketches and save the good stuff for the good paintings..  I’ll try some of those other blues in the future. I’ve never touched them.. But seems like that’s what I’d like to have the option to do..

  • Ps. It’s hard to tell pigment load by the cover? I read both and they both said p### and an oil..
  • Here's some info on pigment load for you.

    The best paints are just pigment and linseed oil. A few brands make paint this way - Rublev, Williamsburg, Michael Harding, and others.

    Other brands like W&N, Gamblin and some others add stabilizers and dryers and other stuff to make all their paints handle similarly, be a similar consistency, and dry at a similar rate. For example they add driers to some slow-drying pigments to make them dry faster.

    Many brands claim to add more pigment than others, but this is just marketing BS. Paint manufacturers all know that there is a limit to the amount of pigment you can use before the paint isn't strong anymore. The oil acts as a glue to hold it all together. Without the right amount of oil it falls apart :)

    Student grade paint has additional filler, such as colorless pigment mixed in to buff up the paint without using more expensive pigment.
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