Cobalt Violet with a Splash of Blue

Viridian watercolor, radiance with cobalt violet watercolors,

Cobalt Violet watercolour paint is a soft, delicate pink – mauve that you either love or loathe.  Full of quirks!  With my watercolour landscapes, I’ve found its assets far outweigh any liabilities.

cobalt violet art spectrum, daniel smith watercolours
Cobalt Violet Pv14 and watercolour Paints


Cobalt Violet  paint information


  • Cobalt Violet Pv49 is  cobalt ammonium phosphate, sometimes I use the Daniel Smith watercolour, this time I’ve used Cobalt Violet Pv 14 from Art Spectrum.


  • This Pv14, is cobalt phosphate:  which is a very light,  lovely transparent that settles and granulates to help the artist create more depth and dimension. Its a paint that ‘works’ for the artist.


  • The quirks that many do not like are:   it is very light, lifts very easy, it granulates (creates textural effects,) has very low tinting power and  is a costly series 4.  I’m not so thrilled at its price, but in blends, it lasts further.


  • I pretty much only use it in watercolours to maximise its textural effects. It would be silly of me to use it in oils thickly, trying for texture. It won’t work. All Granulating paints need plenty of liquid flow.


  • It needs lots of fluid, liquid vehicle to drop and disperse its heavy particles down into the pits of the fabric.  Just like how gold drops into the deepest crevices!


  • Some manufacturers, will due to the cost, add way too much binder.  Making the paint gummy, gooey, sticky.  I don’t like that.  I’ve been relatively pleased with Cobalt Violet in  Art Spectrum and Daniel Smith  watercolours.


Cobalt Violet  Pv14 Watercolour Uses

I use Cobalt Violet frequently  for:  skies, for fruit peel with dimples, for washes on the hillsides to help create the illusion of shrubbery & foliage,  for tree bark like banksia and angophora and  its also handy  for beaches, sand and soil in the foreground.

radiance with cobalt violet watercolours,
Radiance with cobalt violet

It can also be employed quite effectively in abstract forms, as in the case above “Radiance.”


30 Minute exercises

I had about 30 minutes this afternoon to whack out 4-5 small demo pieces using Cobalt Violet v14,  Burnt Umber PBr7 and the lovely Indanthrone blue Pb60.

I chose this  palette grouping because Burnt Umber is an earth colour, granulates, mixes well with others & is a very dark tone but lightens up into pale washes.

The Indanthrone blue Pb60 was chosen for its staining quality, deep indigo with purple hints, it is a brilliant mixer with other colours.  The 3 blend and harmonise wonderfully together.


Skies with Cobalt Violet

watercolour landscape, cobalt violet, indanthrone, burnt umber,
landscape cobalt violet, burnt umber, indanthrone


Dry Brush Foreground: Burnt Umber & cobalt Violet

textural watercolour landscape
Texture in the Landscape: cobalt violet, burnt umber, indanthrone blue

Burnt Umber PBr7  is a fabulous cool and dark chocolate brown, nearly sepia in tone and colour.

I find it is very useful in the landscape for a wide variety of things, from soil, bark, foliage greens when mixed with prussian or indanthrone, and a host of other fun subjects.


If you look closer,  you will see the large circular water mark on the upper right.  An accident.  The sky had been perfect!

Then,   as I was splashing away….  a stray drop jumped over and landed onto my finished not quite dry sky.  Made itself right at home.

I chose not to imagine that the work was ‘ruined now’  but  that it had been helped along.  I chose to go with the flow and consider that the placement of the circular form was in a good place and works well.     I chose to not panic too soon.


Cobalt Violet graded wash for skies

The final image Glowing Watercolour Landscape,   was a Graded wash blend of cobalt violet plus indanthrone blue  for the sky. Followed by  a nice rich dark burnt umber mixed with cobalt violet for the foreground.

Notice the base, the bottom of the hill shape is quite dark and the top is lighter.  Also the sky is darker at top lighter at the horizon.

This helps the illusion of depth even in a fairly simple composition like this.

watercolour tree landscape
Glowing Watercolour Landscape, trees

Design Tips

One last point,  in regards to design aspects I wanted to mention was if you look at the perimeter trees they have no details. But the trees that are nearer to the centre, they do have some trunks and branch lines and details.

By leaving the perimeters of my painting subtle, neutral, flat and  increasing the detail inwards, towards the focal point –  I keep the viewers’  eyes inside my painting.

Cobalt Violet is a great tool to the landscape artist, excelling at creating atmosphere and textural effects with ease.



Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at and,

11 thoughts on “Cobalt Violet with a Splash of Blue

  1. …this final piece sold me on including what (till now) has been delegated to a much-neglected corner of the pallet tin. Your write-up is very useful–and any naturally-granulating pigment is so attractive, particularly in ‘moody’ late-autumnal pieces, like ‘Glowing Watercolour Landscape, trees’. Thank you for guiding me towards Cobalt Violet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lance, I’m glad you liked/ found it useful!! When you do some work with cobalt violet, be sure to share so we can see! have a lovely week 🙂


    1. thank you – its a tricky colour in acrylics/oils I think, but I do love it in watercolours. Especially in soft smooth skies. I was thinking about lifting off a small, circular form – to represent moon. But I decided, ‘next time’! this paint is magic though for lifting off the paper 🙂


  2. Great exercises Debi. Going with the flow is definitely the way to go. With watercolour there’s no other way and so often those so-called “accidents” give the final image that sense of spontaneity. Love the colors in your palette in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thank you very much Andrew! the selection worked well together, I may have a go at some bigger pieces that are a bit more involved than just slapping it on in 2 minutes without a plan. 🙂


    1. thank you Kenneth, I’m glad you’re finding the information interesting! I love colour and am always experimenting 🙂 thank you for stopping by and your lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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