Color Mixing Watercolor Paint Characteristics

Cobalt Blue Watercolor – Paint Characteristics & Color Mixing

Cobalt Blue watercolor is a pure transparent non-staining watercolor that has a distinctive color that is rarely used on its own as a primary blue.

It is the “blue” in the transparent non-staining watercolor palette used for the glazing technique and mixing with other colors.

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Measured against a gray scale value finder, transparent non-staining watercolors are generally light in value ranging from 10% to a maximum of 70% value.

So, the colors in the transparent non-staining category are adequate for a complete palette, except for where darker passages require colors with values higher on the gray scale.


Cobalt Blue is considered to be a neutral blue, neither warm nor cool, that can be used to tone down other colors it is mixed with.

Like other transparent non-staining watercolors, Cobalt Blue can be lifted from a dampened watercolor paper without leaving a strong stain behind.


Mix Cobalt Blue with Permanent Rose to create delicate transparent violet colors.

Add Aureolin or New Gamboge to Cobalt Blue to mix a variety of green colors that look more natural than using Viridian or Hooker’s Green straight from the tube.

Mix Cobalt Blue with Aureolin plus Rose Madder Genuine to create interesting light to mid-value transparent gray colors.

It also makes beautiful, luminous washes when glazed or mixed with the other watercolors in the transparent non-staining category.

Cobalt Blue can also be successfully mixed with watercolors in the semi-transparent non-staining category.

Mixed with semi-opaque or opaque colors, it will create a combination that is cleaner and more transparent than using only opaque colors.

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… and the recommended transparent non-staining watercolors for glazing or color mixing with Cobalt Blue

… also the recommended semi-transparent non-staining watercolor for mixing with Cobalt Blue

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Watercolor Paint Characteristics & Color Mixing” for more videos. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Transparent Watercolor

Transparent Blue Watercolor

Transparent blue watercolor paints are either staining or non-staining. In addition, there are semi-transparent blue watercolors.

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Transparent Non-Staining Blue Watercolor Paints


Cobalt Blue contains PB28-Cobalt Blue pigment. Jim Kosvanec Transparent Color Wheel lists Cobalt Blue as transparent non-staining. But, paint manufacturers label it as semi-transparent. It is commonly used as a pure color for glazing and for painting sky in landscapes. The pigment particles are large and grainy so it leaves a granulated effect on watercolor paper.

Transparent Staining Blue Watercolor Paints


Winsor Blue comes in two shades: Red Shade and Green Shade. Both paints contain PB15-Phthalo Blue pigments and are very strong staining transparent colors.


Indanthrene Blue contains PB60-Indanthrene Blue pigment. It is a deep transparent blue with a tinting strength that is less overpowering than Winsor Blue. Its best mixing complements are Hansa Yellow Deep and Raw Umber.

In addition to transparent non-staining blue, there are semi-transparent blue watercolors.

Semi-Transparent Non-Staining Blue Watercolor Paints


Antwerp Blue contains PB27-Antwerp Blue pigment. It is a slightly warm blue that is lighter than Prussian Blue. Lightfastness and permanence are good, but it has a tendency to fade when exposed to light. So, it is not considered ideal for permanent painting.


Prussian Blue contains PB27-Prussian Blue pigment. It is a semi-transparent watercolor with a deep cyan-blue hue and greenish undertone. It is similar to Phthalo Blue.


Cyanine Blue contains two pigments: PB15:1-Phthalo Blue & PB28-Cobalt Blue. The PB15:1 pigment produces more reddish tones making Cyanine Blue a warmer blue color.

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Blue Color Scheme

Want to know what colors work well with blue? See my Winsor Blue blog post.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Transparent Watercolor Paints List” for more videos about transparent colors. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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