Mix and Match

Even from the earliest days our Cinnabar Green Light was a simple blend of two pigments: Ultramarine Blue (PB 29) and Permanent Yellow Light (PY 3). Straightforward. Uncomplicated. About as easy a mix as you will ever find. But while we can control most of the variables in a recipe, a change in the pigment from our suppliers is rarely one of them.  Tweak either of the underlying colors a little warmer this way, a little cooler that, and all of a sudden you might find that no possible ratio of the two pigments at your disposal will ever create a perfect match.

Recently we had to confront just this situation when a cooler version of PY 3, which had been used in Cinnabar Green Light, was completely discontinued and no alternative supplier could be found. In seeking a way forward, we took a close look at the history of the color, including a tube from 2009, just before Williamsburg joined Golden Artist Colors, and another from 1998. Having these wet samples to use in color matching was critical, as color swatches, no matter how well preserved, can change over time. Despite the limitations of photos and computer monitors, you can hopefully see how the color already existed within a range, from a bluer, higher chroma position more than a decade ago to something that was slightly lighter, yellower and less saturated in more recent times. .

Williamsburg Cinnabar Green Light

While we found it impossible to match either of these poles with the new pigment, we felt we could easily achieve something in-between. Deciding to hold onto as much vibrancy as possible, we opted for the increased clarity of the older batch, but with just a touch more yellow to pull it slightly closer to its more recent incarnation. We believe the result (seen on the far right in the photo above) brings the best qualities of both versions together and hopefully represents a blend that can act as a new master standard for many more years to come.

Let us know what you think.

Sarah Sands

As always, make sure to subscribe, and if you have any questions, give us a call (800-293-9399 / 607-847-8843) or drop us an email techsupport@WilliamsburgOils.com


5 thoughts on “Mix and Match

  1. I don’t often buy greens, but I think I like the current a great deal. The 2009 does seem less impressive than the 98, at least from what I see on my monitor.

  2. What a nice HUE* that green is, Ms. Sands! But alas, I no longer use oil paints … so …

    *Looking forward to the entry about the latest ASTM D01.57 meeting.

  3. It’s a perfect combination. While I was drawn to the 2009 version first…after studying the three….I can’t imagine a more perfect color! This is and has been my most favorite color in the world, a chartreuse. Thank you Sarah Sands!
    Cheers, Maura Fine

    • Thank you Maura! I wish I could take all the credit but truth be told the Lab folks did all the hard work while I got the pleasure of just helping to choose “the winner”.

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