New blue color in oil paint: YInMn Blue

YInMn blue field testing

Like many of you, we were intrigued by the new, inorganic blue pigment that was recently developed at Oregon State University (OSU).

What is YInMn Blue?

YInMn Blue pigment is a compound of Yttrium, Indium, and Manganese first discovered by accident in 2009 at the materials science lab of OSU’s Chemistry Department. Read the story of YInMn Blue.

The 20th century provided us with organic blue pigments such as Indanthrone and Phthalo Blue (in reddish and greenish versions). Phthalo Blue, in particular, dramatically expands color mixing possibilities with its high tinting strength and intensity. Inorganic, mineral based blue pigments, such as Cobalt Blue and Cerulean Blue, have changed little since the 19th century.


Does YInMn Blue create new possibilities for artists in color-mixing?

The best way to find out? Well, we do what we do…we make paint, and then we paint (see below). When making a small batch, our first reaction was that it is a beautiful reddish-blue. It is a very dense pigment and quite opaque. Does it create meaningful, new possibilities for oil painters? In short, no.

YInMn Blue cost and how to buyScott Gellatly

YInMn Blue pigment is approximately six times the cost of Cobalt or Cerulean blues. This is largely due to the component Indium being a rare earth element. At this time, the cost of this pigment, relative to its benefit to painters, is too high for us to add this color to our palette. We do recognize, however, that some artists just need to try things out for themselves. We are working closely with Shepherd and we are among the first ones to get the chance to test the pigment. We are looking to offer YInMn Blue as a limited edition color in the near future. Please contact us for additional information.

How to make your own “YInMn Blue Hue”

Mixing approximately 20% Ultramarine Blue into 80% Cobalt Blue matches YInMn’s mass-tone. YInMn Blue is greyer and redder in its tint, however.

YInMn compared to Cobalt Blue + Ultramarine Blue

Learn more

Blues Details

Think Out Loud: New Blue Pigment

NPR: A Chemist Accidentally Creates A New Blue Pigment. Then What?

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