Kremer’s Blue Pigment Assortment

I got a boxed assortment of pigments from Kremer (here) recently and here’s a chart of all of them made into watercolor. As always I can’t guarantee color accuracy. Actually, this time I guarantee it’s not accurate, because ultramarine is hard to photograph. All of these I made just with a palette knife and my own formula of watercolor medium (gum arabic, light honey, glycerin, tiny amount of synthetic ox gall, extremely tiny amount of clove oil). It’s not meant to be a comparison of tinting strengths or how each paint behaves other than granulation. None of these swatches are just a single brush stroke, as I was trying to get the paint to granulate. The paper is 140 lb cold pressed Arches.

Blue 30th Chart
Click here for a large chart.

A1 – PB32 – Smalt, very fine
A2 – PB31 – Egyptian Blue – The first synthetic pigment, made in ancient Egypt
A3 – NA – HAN-Purple, fine – an ancient pigment used in China
A4 – PB30 – Blue Verditer – a synthetic azurite
A5 – PB29 – Lapis Lazuli, sky-blue – genuine lapis lazuli
A6 – PB1 – Indigo, genuine – smells bad when wet, but very nice blackish darks
A7 – NA – Colored glass, Lapis Blue
A8 – NA – Ploss Blue – a form of distilled verdigris
A9 – PB30 – Azurite MP, pale
A10 – NA – Sodalite

B1 – PG24 – Ultramarine Green – a rare pigment not made anymore
B2 – PB29 – Ultramarine Blue, very dark
B3 – PB29 – Ultramarine Blue, greenish extra – the most intense ultramarine blue
B4 – PB29 – Ultramarine Blue, greenish light
B5 – PB29 – Ultramarine Blue, light
B6 – PV15 – Ultramarine Violet, medium
B7 – PB27 – Prussian Blue LUX
B8 – PV16 – Manganese Violet
B9 – NA – Copper Blue
B10 – PB71 – Zirconium Cerulean Blue – similar to cerulean but more granulating and contains no cobalt

C1 – PB74 – Cobalt Blue Dark
C2 – PB28 – Cobalt Blue Dark, greenish
C3 – PB74 – Cobalt Blue, Sapporo
C4 – PB28 – Cobalt Blue Pale (matte) – looks very nice for skies near horizon
C5 – PB35 – Cobalt Blue Light
C6 – PB36 – Cobalt Blue, greenish
C7 – PB28 – Cobalt Blue Turquoise Light
C8 – PB36 – Cobalt Blue Turquoise Dark
C9 – PV14 – Cobalt Violet, dark – similar to manganese violet, but cleaner color and more granulation
C10 – PV49 – Cobalt Violet Brilliant, light

A few extra notes- Three of my favorites are the smalt (A1), ultramarine green (B1), and cobalt blue pale (C4). Though the set isn’t inexpensive, it’s a very good deal when you consider how much is in it. Dividing the price by the number of pigments, and considering that 27 of the 30 jars look like they have roughly enough pigment to make about a regular tube of watercolor paint, it’s comes out to a very low price per tube. Much less than you’d spend buying such pigments as tubed paint. Plus, most of these pigments would normally be expensive to buy a small amount of them all, so a lot is being saved by being able to try them all. Also, I think I typed the names of all of these as they appear on the bottles, but Kremer’s website gives some of them slightly different names.

Egyptian Blue
Comparison of Egyptian blue made with light pressure (left) and heavy pressure (right). Using more pressure ground the particles finer and it seems like it’s the smaller particles that shifted to a greener hue immediately, which gives a very interesting effect. Both versions are a little iridescent.
Ploss Blue
Ploss blue is not listed on Kremer’s site as compatible with watercolor. Here’s a comparison between a paint swatch I made today (left) and one from a few days ago (right). It apparently yellows very quickly in watercolor, though I’m not 100% sure what it’s reacting to. Maybe something in the medium I made, like the clove oil? The verdigris I made myself didn’t yellow like this in watercolor (using the same medium, minus the synthetic ox gall, and a different batch), but it did in oil paint. It is listed as compatible with tempera though, so when I eventually try that I’ll give this a test. The color before yellowing is an exceptionally intense greenish blue.

4 thoughts on “Kremer’s Blue Pigment Assortment

  1. Hello,

    Glad to find another fellow Artist still making his own paints.

    Myself has been making water colour and oils for quite a while, concentrating only on the scarce pigments such as chrome yellows, orpiment, Han blue, Egyptian blue, malachite, etc, etc, all thanks to the courtesy of Kremer.

    Recently I have bought several more modern I would say pigments and one of these is PB71, which is a novelty for me. I am writing because I actually have a problem with making it into a proper water colour (something I have never encountered with other pigments I worked with). If you could be of an assistance what I am doing wrong with it, it will be much appreciated.

    The problem is the following, first of all I mix the pigment with some water for a paste, to the paste I add arabic gum, mull it in the mortar and transfer the ready liquid into a pan. Finally I add a few drops of glycerine and let the whole dry for a day or more. Once dried, the colour was beautifui, definitely Cerulean akin, granulating, as desired. After some days, when I try to paint with it, it looks like as if it has transformed back into pigment, there are particles on the brush and once dried on the paper I can scrap it, it looks like it does not hold to the surface as you can see below:

    Maybe you can help? As I said I have been making many paints in my life and have never come across such an anomaly.

    Btw, I am reading you have got PG51, have you made it into a paint already? What are your impressions? I am still on the search for “my green” and considering that one.

    Best regards from Poland,


    1. Hi, thanks for your question and describing your experience in such detail. I’ve only had limited experience with making or using PB71 and PG51. Right now I’m traveling and don’t have access to my paints, but when I get back I’ll try to reproduce your experience.
      The last time I made PB71 into paint I used aquazol (a synthetic watercolor medium) from QoR instead of gum arabic and some of their synthetic ox gall, plus glycerin. The paint worked well, but I added too much glycerin and it never dried on the palette. I used a lot of medium to make it, so maybe your paint was just underbound? Or maybe the ox gall improved the wetting of the pigment, so it could better disperse into the medium?
      PG51 is an interesting pastel green, but I also had some difficulty making it into paint. I’ll also give that another try after I get back.

      1. I tried making more zirconium blue but what I made didn’t smudge at all. Actually, the cerulean from Blockx did smudge a little, but it might have been underbound because of pigment separation that caused some of the medium to be lost in the past. I posted a comparison chart of zirconium and some similar blues along with the gum arabic recipe that I used.

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