Finding a replacement for W&N Cotman Ultramarine half-pan

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    Heather Myers

    I have a Winsor & Newton travel watercolour kit that I bought at least ten years ago. I’m finally starting to run seriously low on ultramarine and I’ll need more. Trouble is, the colour I have isn’t very available any more. I’ve searched based on the number printed on the pan (0301660 (1A) 3917), and there are a couple ways to get another half-pan via the internet, but I’m much more of a brick-and-mortar shopper (looking forward to when I can just pop in the art store again… stupid pandemic). My question is: what W&N tube watercolours are a good substitute for the ultramarine I have come to love? W&N carries a French Ultramarine and an Ultramarine green shade, but I’m not sure if either of those are a proper substitute. Anyone have any advice? I’d like to try the professional watercolours so I’m aiming at replacing my Cotman with the pro line. Thanks in advance!

    Jennifer Roberts

    Well it just so happens I have both of these paints in my stash. (From the time I sort of accidentally won an ebay lot auction of over 50 W&N paints….) I also have a Cotman 12 half pan set that I got nearly 3 years ago, and it included the French Ultramarine, so it’s possible that’s the same one?

    I grabbed a little of each and painted it onto the back of a failed painting on 140# cold press to compare side by side for you. I know the color won’t be quite as true to life since it’s on digital screens, but maybe it helps some? They’re both made with the same pigment (PB29) so there’s not a ton of difference IMHO. PB29 is a favorite blue of mine because of the granulation. French Ultramarine on left, Ultramarine Green shade on right, in case my terrible handwriting isn’t clear.


    Sandra Strait

    It does seem to me that the French Ultramarine is more intense and granulated more, but you’re right – there isn’t a whole lot of difference.  You might try mixing a little of each with the same yellow and same red.  Sometimes, the main difference in a color is that they create better mixes.

    Hopefully, you wanted all those paints that you accidentally won, lol!

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