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Old 10-09-2008, 08:53 AM
Shadia's Avatar
Shadia Shadia is offline
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help: cerulean blue substitute?


I'm participating in a PA workshop tomorrow (Yeah!) and I just got the list of the recommended colors to bring along.

Cerulean blue is one of the few allowed, and among the many blues I have... it's not one of them.... (of course! isnt it always the case...)

So, I have ultramarine, phtalo, cobalt, manganese... all pure single pigments.

I really want to be able to follow the teacher, and achieve the same greens that he will ( greens are not allowed, we will have to mix them from ultra and cerulean + cad yellow light). Is manganese a possible replacement?

I plan to buy it tonight if I have to; it's pricey though. (I would not buy a hue...)

So I'll wait for any input you could have!

Have a nice day and thanks in advance!

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Old 10-09-2008, 09:42 AM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: help: cerulean blue substitute?

In my opinion, Cerulean Blue is one of the most overrated colors that there is in oil paint. Cerulean can quite easily imitated by mixing a touch of Thalo Blue with a much larger amount of white. To more accurately imitate the color of true, Cerulean, it may be necessary to actually dull it down a bit, and swing it toward Yellow or Magenta, by adding some red, or Yellow,....but just a tiny touch. It depends upon the particular brand of Cerulean Blue you're trying to imitate.

I've recently found that a fine replacement for Cerulean Blue is Manganese Blue, and I have the Old Holland Manganese Blue. It works very well for skies, mixed with a bunch of white.

For painting skies, you will find that the best way to begin mixing your color is to start with white, and select some "blue" to mix with it. When doing this, you will discover that MANY "blues" can create a fairly acceptabel sky color, when mixed with enough white.

A good exercise for you would be to squeeze out some Cobalt Blue and some French Ultramarine Blue on your palette. In masstone (as squeezed out of the tube) they appear very different from each other. Then, mix each of these blues with enough white to cause each of them to be identical with the other in value (lightness/darkness). You may be quite surprised at what you may learn from doing this. After doing this experiment, determine for yourself whether buying the more expensive, Cobalt Blue has much practical merit.

You may find that Cerulean Blue and Manganese Blue are quite unremarkable for mixing with Yellow, to produce useful greens. Both Cerulean Blue and Manganese Blue have a substantial "white" content. This does not mean that the manufacturer has mixed white with the pigment--it only means that those blue pigments reflect other colors BESIDES Blue and Green, in their natural state. And, realize that when enough other colors are reflected from a paint, that color begins to approach the appearance of white.

Such "light" colors of "blue" seem very weak, to me, for use in mixing with Cad Yellow Light, for achieving effective, natural greens. Better choices would be French Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, and Thalo Blue, depending upon the chroma (intensity/purity) of the green you wish. Each of these choices creates a much deeper, darker green than does some very light "blue" such as Cerulean Blue. When mixed with such colors as Ivory Black, and Cadmium Red Deep, to darken them, they are quite useful. I have not used a tube green in about 20 years, and have chosen to mix my own.

Deeper blues can always be lightened with white, but when you begin with a blue such as Cerulean Blue, it cannot be expected to produce deep greens, because it is so very light to begin with. The word, "wimpy" best describes the sort of green produced by mixing Cerulean with Cad Yellow with the expectation of achieving a natural-appearing green. Perhaps not politically correct, but still quite descriptive, I believe.

Just a few thoughts from my experience.

wfmartin. My Blog "Creative Realism"...www.williamfmartin.blogspot.com

Last edited by WFMartin : 10-09-2008 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 10-09-2008, 12:03 PM
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Shadia Shadia is offline
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Re: help: cerulean blue substitute?

thanks so much Bill! I'll take note about this little test, and will do it in a near future.

Perhaps for tomorrow it will be best to bring my manganese, along with Ultramarine. I guess the teacher uses cerulean for the skies, and ultramarine to mix the greens...

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Old 10-09-2008, 01:33 PM
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gunzorro gunzorro is offline
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Re: help: cerulean blue substitute?

I agree with Bill on the tinted hue being nearly identical in Cobalt Blue and Ultramarine Blue Light. When white or other light colors are added, it is extremely hard to distinquish (regular UMB, not the "French" which is more violet).

I somewhat disagree that Manganese Blue is a close match for Cerulean. Manganese is quite transparent as a color from the tube, and very vivid when undiluted. But it lacks tinting strength and doesn't hold up well in mixes. Cerulean is stronger more opaque, although not strongly so, and its blue-green hue is different.

Here are some examples of some of the colors mentioned in this thread:
Old Holland Manganese Blue
Art Spectrum Cerulean (genuine)
Vasari Cerulean (genuine)
OH Ultramarine Blue Light
OH Cobalt Blue

In a pinch, you could get by with the Art Spectrum version that runs about $15 compared to the Vasari for around $55. But as you can see, not all paints are equal -- the Vasari is quite strong and vivid, and lacks the grittiness/dullness of the Art Spectrum. Still, they will produce very similar hues. I don't recommend any of the three OH Cerulean variations, as they are all very dull.

As I mentioned, you can see here that the UMB Light and Cobalt are quite close, at least closer than the Manganese compared to the Cerulean.

Good luck with your seminar.
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Old 10-09-2008, 02:24 PM
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awerth awerth is offline
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Re: help: cerulean blue substitute?

For what it's worth, Golden has in their mixing guide a formula that mixes to an approximate cerulean:

80 parts Zinc White
10 parts Phthalo Blue GS
1 part Quinacridone Magenta


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Old 10-09-2008, 03:39 PM
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Einion Einion is offline
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Originally Posted by Shadia
I plan to buy it tonight if I have to; it's pricey though. (I would not buy a hue...)
Perfect prior post for you then, here

Do you know if your colour is off in hue, value, chroma... or all three?

Colour Theory & Mixing forum WetCanvas Glossary Search Tips Advanced Search Acrylics forum Acrylics - Information Kiosk
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:01 PM
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Shadia Shadia is offline
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Re: help: cerulean blue substitute?

Thanks so much everybody! I'll see what Mr Milone will say about it tomorrow!

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Old 11-13-2010, 07:01 AM
mad4color mad4color is offline
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Re: help: cerulean blue substitute?

Michael Wilcox likes cerulean blue, but I have found it dull. I agree that it's overrated.

I do like genuine cobalt some.

Lukas has a nice manganese blue available at ASW Express or Jerry's Artarama, cheaper than Old Hollan.

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