Monday 11 March 2013

Turquoise PB16 (Pigment Blue 16)

A few months ago I purchased a few of the German Lukas paints to try. I had read some good reports about them and  they are very well priced, although the standard tube size, a large 24ml, might put some artists off - but they also have pans.  Great Art are currently running a `special' on the pans. With quality watercolour paints now excruciatingly expensive, a more economical alternative is welcome.  This is the price situation with Lukas in Europe but prices may be higher elsewhere, certainly in Australia, according to my friend John Softly.  I did cover the Lukas range in general recently (January 2013) so if interested you might  refer to that. There are certainly colours worth buying as you can mix paints from several manufacturers whatever may be said to the contrary.

 PB16 is one of the phthalocyanine pigments epitomised by the popular PB15, which appears in all ranges and comes in several versions. PB16 is described by Handprint as "a lightfast, transparent, heavily staining pigment, moderately dark to very dark valued".  Bruce also rates it as a `Top Forty' pigment.  It has been slowly gaining popularity and is available from seven manufacturers. Winsor & Newton call it `Phthalo Turquoise', Maimeri `Turquoise Green', Lukas `Turquoise', Old Holland `Caribbean Blue', Schminke `Helio Turquoise' , Holbein `Marine Blue' and Da Vinci `Phthalo Turquoise'. When Winsor & Newton introduced it Bruce McEvoy said Daniel Smith were sure to follow. So far they haven't but do have the superb Cobalt Teal Blue (PG50) which many prefer. A criticism of the Phalo pigments is that they are heavily staining and the colours can appear harsh and unnatural. On the plus side they are very lightfast and transparent. I used to think the colours were harsh but have changed my mind somewhat. They are also excellent for mixing with several other paints

The top left and middle paint are both PB16, the Lukas and Maimeri versions. I don't see much difference, the Maimeri perhaps slightly darker but that may be down to my mixing not the paint. For comparison purposes I have added the Maimeri  Primary Blue Cyan PB15:3  (Green Shade) which looks very similar and is the PB15 version most often offered. When you do swatches like this it does make one think and perhaps alter the existing perceptions you have. For example is there any point in not just having the PB15:3? Incidentally Lukas have several versions of PB15  (PB15:1 to PB15:6) in different blues as well as PB16.  Names vary with Phalo Blue, Cyan Blue as examples. I recommend always check pigments numbers and don't be seduced by names.

I gave both Yvonne Harry and Jan Weeks of Avon Valley Artists blobs of the Lukas colour to try. Yvonne liked it but is resisting buying any more colours as she has so many, and dreads me coming along - again - saying try this one! Jan much prefers Cobalt Teal Blue from Daniel Smith. I think there is room for both as the shades are distinct but certainly only in an extended palette of 20 plus colours. Look however at the W & N Cobalt Turquoise and compare it to the Daniel Smith Cobalt Teal Blue.

Just out of interest I have included a swatch of Rowney Cobalt Magenta (PV14) more for my friend John as anything else. He has been trying to find one that suits him and appears to be settling on the Graham version. John has tried Rowney, but his is the old version called Cobalt Violet while that above is from the current Rowney range. It granulates beautifully, although a rather weak colour which is a feature of PV14. I did have some little trouble with it which I related in the piece I wrote on the problems with the Graham Mineral Violet PV16  (October 2012 Problem Pigments). Compared to most other PV14 paints the Rowney and Lukas are the most economical price wise, but they are not consistent across makes, as a swatch John put on Wetcanvas of  several PV14s showed  a wide variation.

The compliment to PB16 Turquoise is orange, Handprint say Perinone Orange (PO43). I think it  great with the Schminke Transparent Orange or Lukas Permanent Orange, both PO71. 

Lukas is available from Atlantis Art in London who do mail order but the website  seems well out of date, Great Art and W.E Lawrence In the USA and Canada it appears Jerry's Artarama have the franchise  If anyone has any information to add to the above or  other comments I'd be pleased to hear them.


Ray Maclachlan Art said...

Thank heavens you are there to test the paints for us Peter. I find these posts extremely interesting.

Peter Ward said...

Thank you Ray I appreciate your comments.

John Softly said...

As usual your testing of pigments is a service we all appreciate and helps s avoid making expensive mistakes (most of us anyway).
My foray into Cobalt Violet (PV14)in an attempt to find a hue more to the blue end of the spectrum that the red has gone smoothly until now.
I had examples of the rest and my final 2 were M Graham and Lukas which, by all accounts were bluer than the pink versions of others.
On checking prices I found that I could obtain Graham marginally cheaper locally than from the UK with a saving on postage as well.
The graham PV14 and a Cobalt Green (PG50)and both Cobalts turned out to be beautiful hues with the PV14 bluer than most. The honey content makes them very liquid and difficult to dry out on the palette but I can live with that.
With that in mind, the Lukas I obtained locally - without doing a price search and in my haste I paid double the price than if I had gone through a UK supplier.
The tubes arrived and when I eventually forced the cap off 1 tube it was so old that the aluminium screw section had corroded. The other 2 (yes I bought multipul tubes)when opened smelt as though something had crawled in the tube and died! The paint had solidified and was more difficult to squeeze from the tube than W&N Permanent Mauve (PV16) which has always had problems in this regard.
The initial swatch was of a hue more like Paynes Grey than a violet and all the tubes have been returned to the Lucas Aussie agent for return to Germany and be tested.
This is more of an epistle than a remark so I'll leave my Turquoise comments for later.

John Softly said...

Thanks for the inclusion of the Rowney Cobalt Magenta in your PB16 appraisal but, once again it's a pink PV14 - almost identical to the older Rowney Cobalt Violet.
Apart from yet another discontinued pigment from Holbein in my "Blues and Violets box", this time a Turquoise Blue (PY3, PG7 and PB17) all my others are PG50. A beautiful Cobalt Turquoise from Schmincke and an Australian Turquoise from Art Spectrum.
The hues that manufacturers get from the single pigment PB16 is amazing - almost as many as from PR19. One wonders how they can manage it without additions!

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments John (both)! I've had no problems with the Lukas Turquoise, only the Graham Mineral Violet (PV16) and just a little with the Rowney Cobalt Magenta (PV14). Graham said after the first probmen that they had changed their pigment supplier but then the same problem cropped up with the new one so... According to Handprint pigments from different suppliers can vary - even if they are supposedly the same - and then we have the way the manufacturer formulates the colour. I did find with some of the Naples Yellow mixes I tried that some solidified after a while. I put that down to those that contained white.

Linda Roth said...

I really admire your dedication to the art via the careful testing you do of the pigments. You put me to shame Peter.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Linda. I do it because I'm interested and if this helps others I' delighted. See John's comments as he also tests paints, amongst other things.

Yvonne Harry said...

Its really interesting to read Peter, but I am now determined to work with what I have, to become really familiar with all the pigments (so many new ones recently!) and then I will make a considered judgement about the necessity or not of changing any. I do find that consistency is a major criteria for me these days.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for commenting Yvonne. I have a tendency to experiment(!)which I should resist. I have far too many colours but what the heck...!!!

Peter Ward said...

I've only just picked this comment up Sofia. Sorry about that.