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The Color Mix

Phthalo Blue



Vibrant, bold, beautiful phthalo blue—I could write poetry about how much I adore this color. Whether you are a novice artist or an experienced color-mixing enthusiast, you have probably learned to use phthalo blue with care. Known for its strength, it can easily overpower many of its palette friends. If phthalo was a person, it would probably be that enigmatic personality that is often the life of the party.

history of phthalo blue

"Phthalo blue: an extremely bright blue with a very high tinting strength, phthalo blue is transparent and cool."

According to the wikipedia page dedicated to the color, phthalo blue "was first developed as a pigment in the mid-1930s." Phthalo is pronounced f-thay-low. Though "f-th" is not a common english sound, it is suprisingly fun to say—adding even more to phthalo blue's clever personality.

Check out this color mixing chart excerpted from Color Theory, which details how phthalo blue mixes to create vibrant greens and purples.

history of phthalo blue color wheel

This starry watercolor, painted by artist Joseph Stoddard, is a lovely example of the violets that phthalo blue can create. You can learn to paint this night scene with the Walter Foster Watercolor Painting Kit.

phthalo blue night scene

Image excerpted from the Walter Foster Watercolor Painting Kit

Tell us about how you use phthalo blue in your artwork!


Angela Corpus

Angela is Marketing Manager for the Quarto Publishing Group USA. A Chicago gal at heart, she recently relocated to southern California and can usually be found exploring the beaches, feeding her newfound inner artist, and chasing sunsets with her camera. A collector of stories old and new, she's an avid postcard sender, and origami cranes always seem to tag along on her travels. Follow her adventures on Twitter: @angelacorpus



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If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent Van Gogh

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