Help! I can't seem to mix a beautiful ROYAL blue in oils

Continuing the discussion from hElp! I can't seem to mix a beautiful ROYAL blue in oils:

Ditch the student grade Winton and go with artist grade WN paint (higher pigment:medium ratio). Not sure which of the swatches you’re wanting to match. For a brighter blue, try mixing a little thalo blue with the ultramarine, and lighten with zinc white instead of titanium (if that’s what you’re using.) If thalo makes it too green, you could deepen and make it more purple with alizarin (darker) or quinacridone red (brighter). That’s my best guess. Or you cou try cobalt. You could also try other brands–colors vary somewhat from brand to brand.


You can also just buy a tube of royal blue:


I like Grumbacher Cobalt Blue Hue.

I agree with Connie about using student grade paints. I also avoid “hues.” That said, you don’t need to buy “professional” grade paints to get good colors. Artist grade works very well for mixing and producing strong color.

If you truly want to mix specific colors from relatively pure bases, I suggest adopting the European convention for primary colors - cyan, magenta, yellow and (though usually not truly needed) black.

Many European manufacturers of oils carry these primaries, since that’s what’s taught in European schools. My favorite is the various Lukas lines (US availability is from Jerry’s Artarama). One tube of each + white will carry you very far… after a little practice.

Be careful, though - Lukas and some other suppliers add white to their tubes named “cyan” (to make it easier for newbies to play with, since the base is PB15:3, a shade of the VERY powerful phthalocyanine blue pigment). I substitute Lukas’s Phthalo blue, which is PB15:3, and put up with the incredibly strong tinting strength.

The best site I’ve found for cross-comparing actual pigment content of marketing-named tubes is Color of Art ( )

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