In the past week, I’ve been focusing on Cobalt Blue and how I use it in my everyday sketching. This has been prompted by the current Watercolour On Location lesson – Value and Colour – and recent discussions within the classroom and livestreams about shadow washes.
This is what I wrote about Cobalt Blue when I was doing the Colours In My Palette series and is still a good summary of why I love this colour so much. Read the full article here.
But as it’s a more recent addition to my palette (since 2018) I haven’t tested it fully. So last week I decided to compare Daniel Smith vs Winsor and Newton and decided to try using the WN for a bit in my studio palette. It appeared from this quick test that although the DS feels more transparent, the WN might create more pigment parties.
When I’m out and about, as mentioned last week, I’m using an Aquarius palette. So this means I’m also testing Aquarius Cobalt Blue.
At the moment my favourite shadow mix using Cobalt is to create a grey (a blue-grey, a purple-grey or a warm grey) with Hansa Yellow Medium and Quin Rose. This creates a lovely soft grey that is perfect for shadows (shade or cast shadow), particularly on white objects. It’s great for creating shadows of a Value of 3, but a little harder if you want a Value of 4 (assuming a five-step value scale).
But I’m also using it with Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and Transparent Red Oxide. Here is it in action while re-doing one of the exercises from the course.
This is just the beginning of my explorations so stay tuned for more Cobalt-related shadows in the weeks to come.
In the meantime, I would love to know…
Do you use Cobalt Blue regularly? What brand do you use? What do you use it for?
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