Prussian Blue Pb27 Colour Mixing Ideas

Prussian blue is a deep and mysterious blue paint that creates the most magnificent foliage greenery. I love its tonal ranges from a very dilute pale cool greeny blue to the full mass tone of near midnight blue black.

 

copper art snippet, collage, debiriley.com
Copper Snippet

 

 

Prussian Blue

This blue paint was created by accident around 1706 by a chemist in Berlin by the name of Diesbach. Strangely,  Diesbach was actually trying to create a red color.

But some of his ingredients were contaminated and voila!  The happy accident of “Berlin Blue”  also now known as  Prussian Blue,  occurred.

I like his spirit…. turning those pesky accidents into assets!

 

 

Many Names

Prussian Blue has been called many names,  Berlin blue,  Antwerp,  Parisian blue are just some of them.

However,  you  know that it is really Prussian Blue if the tube label describes it Prussian Blue Pb27.

I discovered long ago,  that I actually owned about 5 tubes of the same colour!  Paint manufacturers (Winsor and Newton, Daniel Smith, Art Spectrum, Holbein, Maimeri, American Journey, and a host of other brands)  can name their paints  what they please. So, so it can be confusing to a new beginner!

 

 

Prussian Blue has been used for medical purposes oddly enough.   And it was  the traditional blue used for creating “blueprints” as well.

In ancient times the Egyptians used blue dye made from copper.

Later  in history the Europeans started using the plant Woad, to create blue dyes.  Then, merchants began importing Indigo from the Americas.

The problem was that the “good” Blue  –  Lapis Lazulis –  had become very difficult to get. It was extremely expensive,  so there was a desire to find cheaper ways to create blue dyes and paints.

 

Staining Pigment Prussian Pb27

It is a Stainer, it leaves a stain.

It will not lift off the paper 100% as will the Transparents.  But,  it does lift to about 50 – 80% which is usually adequate.

Prussian Blue pb 27  is non opaque. Its see through.

These 2 traits make it fantastic for glazing, for luminosity, and clarity.   It does not make  mud when mixing.

The fact that it is a Stainer, also means it makes a great addition to a “pouring” painting,  it will run and spread beautifully, to create fantastic organic flowing patterns and textures.

 

 

When Prussian Blue is applied adjoining an opaque, say Naples Yellow and then allowed to …creep up and into the yellow… you can get some wonderful effects.

 

I find Prussian Blue equally good in oils, watercolour, soft pastels.

In Acrylics,  Prussian blue is just a little under done for my tastes. Not quite the oomph of oils nor watercolours.  But, that’s just my opinion.   I still use Prussian in acrylics,  its just that they don’t perform at a 10 level.  Maybe 8.5 or so.

 

Autumn Landscape prussian blue pb27, debiriley.com
Autumn Aglow Landscapes prussian mixed with quinacridone gold, burnt sienna mixed media on textured board debiriley.com

 

Prussian Blue  Green Foliage Mixes:

  • mix with Quinacridone Gold
  • mix with Nickel Azo Yellow
  • mix with  Winsor Lemon
  • mix with Burnt Sienna
  • mix with Raw Umber !
  • mix with Yellow Ochre
  • mix with Naples Yellow
  • mix with Raw Sienna
  • mix with Viridian
  • mix with Perylene Green

 

 

Prussian blue other mixing recipes:
  • mix with Permanent Alizarin Crimson  =  purple with a hint of grey to it, slightly desaturated
  • mix with Cerulean blue = pretty blue that will granulate in watercolours
  • mix with white = soft powder blue – through to a slate grey-blue
  • mix with Ultramarine = ocean deep blue
  • mix with Lunar Black in watercolours =  deep blue – black that granulates into intricate and fascinating textures

 

 

Goals

My primary objectives for choosing Prussian Blue when I’m selecting my colours

#1  to create and mix a great range of  foliage greens

#2 to create some intense darks

#3 to help create textures,runs and patterns within the wet paint areas

 

 

Prussian Blue has lovely possibilities – traditional landscapes, to abstracts, pouring paintings, to botanical art. It is a colour that does very well in pretty much all the mediums, proving the rich intensity of tone that is its hallmark.

Prussian Blue is one of my Core group of 7 paints, in all my mediums I use. I really enjoy its complexities and tones.

 

Don’t be afraid of the Stainers!

Start exploring and creating your own greens experiments to see what it can do for you.

 

 

Additional  Relevant and Informative Posts featuring Prussian Blue 

Prussian Blue, green earth 

What’s a Stainer?

Autumn Aglow 

Cerulean and Prussian 

Dive into BLUE Paints      

 

 

 

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22 comments

  1. Hi Debi, I have been enjoying all your posts. And this one is excellent. Thank you for all you do. Your friend, Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leslie, your feedback is very much valued – Thank You so much for reading, and taking the time to comment back on which ones you get the most from! Thanks, Debi

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  2. This is great explanation! I love your posts 🙂
    I’m self thought, and I just read and watch samples, and experiment on my own. Your post add so much to this!
    Only names of colors are pretty strange in foreign language 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thank you for your kind words 🙂 I appreciate the feedback for the posts! so glad that this post was a helpful one. and thank you for following, reading and liking on such a regular basis – much appreciation ! (ps…. the names can change, but the numbers on the tubes have to be the Same. If its the correct pigment, so that might help you as well.)

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      • You are welcome. I really enjoy my evening hour with reading few blogs, beside your tips and experiments are impressing 🙂
        Ok. Is this working also to the brands? Should these numbers also be the same on different brands? I asked about this in Boesner (it’s very cool large shop near by my place http://www.boesner.de), actually about unification of colors, but they are not sure.
        Right now I have in front of me Schmincke’s watercolor catalog (I would love to buy some watercolors in tubes someday, but I was thinking about Van Gogh for now – they are cheaper), and I have found this color with this PB 27 signature, as you told. This is so cool! Thank you for your time and additional explanation. I didn’t there is some international code for colors, I need to learn more about it, there are other symbols too (PW, W, PY, PR..) Is this a pigment’s code?

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  3. Wonderful post, so helpful. I use Prussian blue a lot, wouldn’t be without it. I love your painting Naples Sky!

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  4. In the past I have bought Prussian Blue, I think that I need to get more. I like it when you include all these tutorials, it is like unwrapping little presents. I am trying to digest these slowly, so much to absorb and to learn from. Thank you!

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  5. How would you compare Prussian Blue to Phathlo Blue? PB has been a staple on my palette but lately have been experimenting with simple triads, one recommended with Phathlo blue. In the past I never used PB because of its overpowering staining quality.

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    • in my opinion…. prussian is of more use for landscape foliage subjects it makes better greens, mixed with burnt sienna and raw sienna, etc. Phalo isn’t on my palette usually…. its quite rough, harsh. but I can tone it down with white, or naples yellow, or burnt sienna. I prefer prussian blue for most of my work. Not all, but most.

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  6. I just used Prussian blue with burnt umber in acrylics, and got a very rich, deep, cold black and grays. It’s a very powerful pigment.

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    • yes, with the burnt UMBER it will be quite cold and dark. changed up to burnt sienna will warm it; changed to raw sienna changes it up yet again to a more Yellow green variation! it is a awesome color Prussian Blue 🙂 thank you for your comment! cheers, Debi

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  7. I just checked all four of my watercolor sets and not one of them has a Prussian Blue in it! I will have to try it! I still have 3 spots open in my Sennelier tin box. 🙂 Thanks for the mixing recipes too! I’m printing this and saving it. I know the recipes will come in handy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you found this useful!! I just love the depth and range of greens it gives 🙂 ps…. Do any of your sets say “Antwerp blue” ? if so, it IS Prussian blue. (manufacturers can call their paint by any name they like!) cheers, Debi

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      • No, just checked no Antwerp Blue either. My Turner set has a Maya Blue that is really deep blue that makes lovely greens when mixed with naples yellow. I wonder if that’s close.
        I also just checked to see if Sennelier has a Prussian Blue…I’m not seeing one, but they have Indigo which I ordered last week. It should be here any day. I can’t wait to play with it and mix it with my two yellows. I love greens of almost every shade possible!

        I may have to broaden my brands to more than 4 and get a Prussian Blue. 🙂

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      • indigo and maya blues and phalo blues are all quite different… to Prussian blue pb27 and how it Behaves, and mixes. when you play with those colors and compare you can see the differences. winsor and newton, Maimeri, Art Spectrum, Daniel Smith… do have Prussian blue for sure 🙂

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      • Oh! Windsor & Newton Artist Watercolor is available at my local art store! Yipee!
        3.5 yr old #1 Grandson was just asking me yesterday if we could go back to the art store…and he won’t run up and down the aisles, he promises! 🙂
        He would like me to purchase for him “a blue handled #3 watercolor brush.” WHAT? I’m not exaggerating he was that precise! 3 and 1/2! Blue Handled #3 brush! What have I created?
        So, today while tiding up my retreat where I paint and watch T. V. for Big Baby Boy, and Dark Haired Beauty’s long week-end visit for our Independence Day I found a student pack of 3 brushes I purchased last October to apply grease paint for Halloween; Still new in the package. There was a #1,2, and 3 brush with yellow handles. I asked him if he would like those to use until we get to the art store? He jumped at them and painted loops straight-away!
        They are now stored in his palette of Artists Loft paints. He’s very happy…for the moment. I hope he’s a better painter and has more creativity than I have.
        The Art Store is on my “to do” list for next week. Prussian Blue and a Blue Handled #3 brush are on my shopping list. 🙂
        As a Mom I wasn’t this so easily swayed. I’m such a push over now that I’m a Grandma!

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