Indanthrone Blue PB60, one of the least known or popular blues is the darkest valued pigment available next to Black Pbk6. There have been suggestions it is gaining more supporters and certainly all the main manufacturers include it in their ranges. The main criticism is that it is dull. It can also dry much lighter, up to 50% according to Handprint.
Click to EnlargeWith these swatches for comparison purposes I have mixed in two versions of Indigo and for further contrast French Ultramarine and Ivory Black. Originally I planned to do a piece purely on Indigo brought on by my recent purchase of the Daniel Smith version, which I like very much. Indigo isn't a staple of many artists's palettes - the late John Lidzey apart www.johnlidzey.co.uk - and can be mixed quite easily by adding black to one of several blues. I decided to major on Indanthrone Blue instead but include Indigo as the colours can be very similar.
The first swatch is DS Indigo followed by the Maimeri Faience Blue which is PB60. Once again we have manufacturers identifying their paints by a different selection of names. All the more important to have a basic understanding of pigments and select paints by this means rather than colours. Some mixed convenience colours are very popular but that's another story. Next is the Maimeri Indigo, a mixture of PB27 Prussian Blue and Pbk7 Black. This is a very nice paint that leans towards green in undertone. The Schminke PB60 Delft Blue is very dark and I don't like it at all with last of this group the Rowney PB60 Indanthrene Blue. The Rowney version is quite bluish in tone, noticeably more so than Maimeri. For comparison purposes at lower right are swatches of Rowney French Ultramarine PB29 and Maimeri Ivory Black Pbk9. I'll get to those at the extreme right later. Pbk9 Ivory Black is considered by Handprint a `Top Forty' pigment but there are several other blacks ranging from Pbk6 up to Pbk31 Perylene Black. Look at the Handprint Guide to Pigments if you are interested in digging deeper. http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/waterfs.html
What mixtures do we have in the various versions of Indigo? Phalo Blue PB15 (which version?) seems to feature quite often, in the case of Rowney a PB15/Pbk7/PV19 mix, blue, black and red. Winsor & Newton is a similar mix while Schminke is PB15:1/PB66, Sennelier PB15/Pbk7 and Rembrandt PB15/Pbk6. I would say, just a suggestion, that if you like Indigo either mix it yourself by adding black to a dark blue OR stick to either Daniel Smith or Maimeri. Others may disagree having tried some of the other manufacturers paints. This assumes you have black in your palette which most artists don't, having been told (incorrectly) that black much like Paynes Grey, is a colour to avoid. Did you know that black was once regarded as `The Prince of Colours' by the old masters? It may be better to stick to Indanthrone Blue or in a limited palette leave it out altogether in favour of Ultramarine.
The best compliments to Indanthrone Blue are deep yellows like Raw Umber, Raw Sienna (both PBr7), Gold Ochre (W & N PY42), Quinacridone Orange (PO48) and Gold (PO49). There are several others. For more suggestions see http://handprint.com/HP/WCL/mixtable.html .
I mentioned the three swatches on the far right. They are nothing to do with this topic but for the interested I'll explain what they are. Daniel Smith do a very nice paint called Rose of Ultramarine. Yvonne Harry has bought it and likes the colour very much. It has been mentioned by contributors on Wetcanvas. Curious I looked it up and found it was a mixture of PB29 Ultramarine and PV19 Quinacridone Rose. The first two swatches from the left are attempts at matching it and the middle colour is very similar, a sort of mulberry shade. Forget the one on the extreme right I think I mixed in Perylene Maroon (PR179) by mistake OR it may have been the violet shade of PV19 from Rowney. Comments (or corrections) welcome.