REVIEW: MaimeriBlu Watercolor (Tube and Pan sets)

MaimeriBlu Watercolor Review Tube Pan Sets

MaimeriBlu Superior Watercolor is a professional grade Italian brand, notable for their purity, layering capabilities, and because all 90 colors available are single pigment. Many of their colors are pigments hard to find in other brands.

The entire MaimeriBlu line was revamped in 2018. Some colors have the same name, but are different pigments, and some colors were renamed.

I received 21 tubes of 12 ml MaimeriBlu watercolor and a 24-set of pan paints in a metal palette box. Between the two, I have 45 out of 90 colors available.

MaimeriBlu Look and Feel

All Maimeri watercolor paints are single pigment.

Maimeri colors create amazing washes. They glaze (layer) beautifully. You can still create mud with bad color choices, but there are fewer bad choices to make. That’s incredibly helpful!

Maimeri uses many traditional names rather than modern – such as Cupric Green instead of Phthalocyanine Green. However, the pigment index number is listed somewhere on the tube or pan and synthetic organic pigment is mentioned somewhere if appropriate.

There is no standard for color names. While the pigment index numbers are the same internationally, a pigment name is whatever the manufacturer wants to call it. Many of those traditional colors — the ‘Lake’ colors, were notorious for fading quickly. Maimeri has kept these names, but is using modern synthetics. This is a good thing because those modern pigments, like Quinacridones, Perylenes, and Phthalocyanines are extremely lightfast and permanent.

The Colors

Both the tubes and the pans have the commonly listed paint characteristics using a Pigment Information Color Key:

  • P=Pigment
  • Y = Yellow; O = Orange; R = Red; V = Violet; B = Blue; G = Green; Br = Brown; Bk = Black; W = White; M = Metal
  • Information codes:
  • *** = excellent lightfastness
  • TR = transparent color
  • OP = opaque color
  • SO = semi- opaque color
  • St+= staining
  • G=granulating

The numbers, in combination with the ‘P’ and Color Code are the unique index number for that color, based on their appearance in the Color Index International pigment list.

The MaimeriBlu Tube Colors

Photo of MaimeriBlu Watercolor Tubes

MaimeriBlu comes in 12 ml aluminum tubes.

MaimeriBlu Tube Color Chart

The pigment characteristics noted above are listed on the tubes. Each tube has a color strip for identification. The color strip isn’t too accurate, but gets you into the right color family.

MaimeriBlu Verde Cupro Tube

The colors chosen for me include a wide range of bright, earth, granulating, transparent, semi-opaque and opaque characteristics, so I can paint almost any subject with them.

The tube colors fresh from the tube were the most intense, that’s to be expected. Once dry, I had to work a little to get intense color. I make sure to wet the colors a few minutes before starting to paint and that does the job.

The MaimeriBlu Pan Colors

MaimeriBlu watercolor comes in half-pan sets of 12, 16, 24, 36, and 48 color pans. I’m reviewing the 24-color set.

MaimeriBlu Pan Color Chart

Each pan comes wrapped in foil, and a paper wrapper. All the pigment index information is on the wrapper. The pan only has the color name, so I wrote all the other info on the pans with permanent marker.

The pan colors also needed some work to get strong color, but with one exception, pre-wetting the pans 3-5 minutes ahead of time was all that was needed.

When I first unwrapped the pans, residues and bits of paper stuck to the paint. I had to wet and scrub this off before the colors would work.

The Green Earth color is surprisingly weak, even for a color that is usually pale. It’s the only green in the palette, but fortunately you can mix some beautiful greens with the other colors. I use the Green Earth to create a green gold color that I really like.

On the other hand, the Potter’s Pink, which I’ve found weak or dull in other brands, is strong and glowing. One of my favorites out of the whole bunch. It also creates fantastic mixes with several other colors.

The Metal Palette Box

This MaimeriBlue pan set came in a sturdy silver-colored metal boxes with raised sections in the lid. The lid opens easily, but you do have to catch the top lip and pull up to flip it open.

Full interior shot of MaimeriBlu Pan Watercolor Set

The raised sections are, of course, sunken on the inside so you can make juicier mixes that won’t run into each other. For more or thicker mixes, you can use the flip out section.

The hinges in the back are wide, and let the lid swing up and down without hesitation.

There is a ring on the bottom for you to slide your thumb into if you hold the palette while painting. This is a fairly heavy box. I don’t think I’d want to hold it in one hand for long. Some of you strapping lads and ladies might have no problem, but us feebler folk might get unsteady.

On the other hand, the heavier weight means this box doesn’t move around while you’re using it.

MaimeriBlu Watercolor pan set interior photo

I’ve never seen an interior set-up like this one before.

The top and bottom row of pans are held in place by removable metal bars. If you want to remove a pan for whatever reason, you remove the bar and it’s easy to take the pans out. Put the bar back in place, and the pans are secure.

There are metal sections in both top and bottom rows that separate the pans. The sections are little wide, allowing the pans to move sideways a bit, but also allowing slop to splash inside the section instead of onto the neighboring color. A bit of two-sided tape would help hold them in place if the movement bothers you.

Half-pans come in different sizes, so larger half-pans would fit if you decided to switch to new colors. There is room for 12 more half-pans in the middle.

The metal sections are secured to the palette box so they can’t be removed.

Examples Using MaimeriBlu Watercolor

Both the pan set and the tubes I received have a wide range of colors from bright to earth colors. They all work well together, but commonly an artist uses the brighter colors or the earth colors separately so I did examples with the brighter colors and then a couple using mostly earthier colors.

MaimeriBlu watercolor painting example Aurora Borealis

My first example was done using tube colors fresh from the tube. From bright, pure pigment to blended neutrals, the colors were glowing.

Pixabay photo reference courtesy of Zsuzska321

For the second painting I used tube colors again, but after they had dried.

These aren’t the most reactive watercolors, but once you get them going they’re almost as intense as fresh.

Even the earthier colors glow, and create beautiful blends.

I repeated similar steps to my first painting, using the pan colors. I didn’t move the sheet around to let the colors blend as much, because my husband fell in love with it at this point and demanded I quite swirling it around, lol.

Puffin watercolor painting using MaimeriBlu watercolor
Pixabay photo reference courtesy of ebor.

This painting was also done with the pan paints, and I concentrated on the earthier colors.

I LOVE the granulating colors, especially the Potter’s Pink (PR233), Pozuolli Earth (PR102) and the blends you can get with them and the Golden Ochre (PY43). Those are colors you don’t get often. I do have Potter’s Pink in another brand, but it is rather weak.

I’ve been using these colors a lot over the past few weeks. Beyond the glowing color of each pigment, you can create a wide range of beautiful mixes.

What impressed me most was how many glazes (layers) of paint I could add without ever getting mud or chalky colors

About the Maimeri Company

Maimeri is an Italian Company founded in 1923. The ability to use energy provided by their own mill wheel is an advantage. The company continued producing fine art materials through the Depression, WWII, and changes in the shareholding structure of the company.

Building on their product quality and long history, they’ve become known worldwide. They joined the Fila Group in 2014, and are dedicated to creating products that inspire creativity in everyone from children to the professional artist.

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Disclaimer


I received one MaimeriBlu metal box set of 24 pan paints and 21 tubes of 12 ml MaimeriBlu paint from the Dixon Ticonderoga Company, for the purposes of this review. I received no other considerations, though this post may contain affiliate links which help support Doodlewash. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews
21 Comments
  1. I use it for 10 months now, and from the beginning I used them I was astonished about the vibrancy and freshness of all the pigments.
    My best critique (my wife) said did you buy other colours. your work is so much brighter!
    No just the same colours, only a other brand. (and probably better and other pigments)
    Very Happy with Maimeri!

  2. Sally Fox 1 week ago

    What a thorough review. It was so interesting, and your paintings are beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  3. JA Wilson 1 week ago

    I really appreciate how you break down the product.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 1 week ago

      Thank you! I try to think of all the things I would want to know!

  4. Mary Roff 1 week ago

    Nice review, Sandra! These watercolors sound interesting and look beautiful in your art!

  5. mlaiuppa 1 week ago

    I was going to buy a set of MaimeriBlu when I was in Italy but couldn’t find it anywhere. Went to two art stores, one in Siena and one in Florence and neither carried them. I think I’m going to renew my efforts as I really like single pigment paints.

    I am buying the single pigments colors of A. Gallo right now and will be using them this year for July’s World Watercolor Month to familiarize myself with them. They are honey-based and I don’t usually buy them. If I’m able to acquire enough of the MaimeriBlu that may be my 2023 WWM challenge palette.

    That pan is made by an Italian company called FOME and they’ve been making them a long time. They usually make them for companies such as Winsor and Newton, Daler Rowney and Daniel Smith and brand them for the company. They make the little travel flask palettes for Schmincke, Cheap Joes and Whiskey Painters. They are a nice enameled heavy steel. I’ve bought them empty and filled them with my choices. I find they hold my half or full pans more snugly using that pressure bar system than those cheaper boxes with the removable aluminum trays that have those thin flexible clips. I wish the entire line of FOME watercolor boxes were more easily available. You can’t order from the company directly and I can’t find any vendors that carry the designs I want. If you do a search for FOME Italy watercolor you should find the company and their line of boxes. You’ll recognize a lot of them as being rebranded by the major watercolor companies.

  6. De 12 hours ago

    Sandra, I appreciate your review as I’m always interested in learning about new watercolor supplies. I read pigment contents before I purchase anything new as I don’t want opaque or staining pigments. I feel MaimeriiBlu is misrepresenting their paints/pigments by saying they are “all” single pigments. Paynes Gray and Earth Green consist of 2 pigments. I don’t know about others but those are two I recently noticed while shopping online.

    • Edo Hannema 10 hours ago

      Green Earth is PG23 and Paynes grey is Indico Synthetic Vat Blue 1. Both one pigments. I own a handpainted colourchart received from the maimeri factory. I think the shop you saw is not updated the last pigment batches.

      • De 8 hours ago

        Edo, you are right among 4 vendors I looked at only one identified Green Earth and Paynes Gray as 2 pigments. But on Payne’s Gray as a VAT1, best I can understand that is a dye, not a pigment.

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