“If you see a tree as blue, then make it blue.” Paul Gauguin (from Sensational Color)
Phthalo Blue is anything but a soft, peaceful calming blue. Phthalo Blue will knock the socks off of any mix it comes in contact with. Phthalo Blue is not for the feeble hearted. Generally blues are thought to be the color of quietness for soothing the soul. Or blues can also refer to sadness or depression as in “a case of the blues.” Whoever coined that phrase clearly had never met the Phthalos. The Phthalos are anything but soothing or depressing.
Phthalo Blue comes either with red undertones for a bluer blue or green undertones for a strong green. Winsor Newton first introduced a Phthalo Blue in 1938 known as Winsor Blue to replace “the capricious less reliable Prussian Blue.” Winsor Newton says Winsor Blue has good tinting properties but cautions to take care when using. Winsor Blue and Phthalo Blue can quickly “overpower.” Artist David Rourke says the Phthalo’s are “beautiful, lightfast and high in chroma.” But he doesn’t use them because “they are too bloody strong.” Artist Stapleton Kearns finds Phthalo’s “strength a drawback,” but says it also can be used to make “great greens.”
Sensational Color says, “not all blues are serene and sedate. Electric or brilliant blues become dynamic and dramatic—an engaging color that expresses exhilaration.” Phthalo Blue is the in -your -face blue. If you must make a statement but just can’t go red, Phthalo Blue can do the trick. Phthalo Blue will muscle its way in and take over, squeezing out all others. Most blues drift in wafting around in a whisper sliding carefully over the furniture. Phthalo Blue charges in knocking down everything in the path. Sometimes you just want to make a blow-out production that won’t be soon forgotten. That’s the time to call in the Phthalo Blue. But look out. He may take over.
(PS: I cannot paint a hummingbird without the Phthalos!)