Burnt Umber Watercolor – All You Need to Know 2023

For artists, the choice of color is essential in creating a unique and compelling work of art. Every color has its unique characteristics that can evoke different emotions and moods. Burnt Umber has found its place in the artist’s palette is versatile and vibrant. In this article, we will explore this color’s use and significance in the art world, providing insights into why it continues to be a popular choice among artists.

Burnt Umber by different brands

Find 3 manufacturer(s) of watercolors below. We’ve also compiled a list of our favorite art supplies here.

Burnt Umber  – Winsor & Newton

Watercolor Burnt Umber
A rich dark brown pigment, Burnt Umber is made from natural brown clays found in earth. It was named after Umbria, a region in Italy where it was mined. Burning the raw pigment intensifies its colour.
Color No.: 76 Lightfastness:I – Excellent Opacity:Transparent
Staining: Granulation: Granulating Sizes: 5ml tubes; 14ml tubes; Half Pans
Manufacturer website

Burnt Umber  – Daniel Smith

Watercolor Burnt Umber
This rich dark brown earth pigment is popular with artists due to its semi- or semi-opaque qualities. It is lightfast, low-staining, and can readily be lifted to vary its value in otherwise dark passages. Warm Burnt Umber with a little Alizarin Crimson or cool it with blue as your subject dictates.
Color No.: Lightfastness:I – Excellent Opacity:Semi-Transparent
Staining: 2-Low Staining Granulation: Granulating Sizes: 5ml tubes; 15ml tubes; Sticks; Half Pans
Manufacturer website

Burnt Umber  – Van Gogh

Watercolor Burnt Umber
Color No.: 409 Lightfastness: Opacity:Transparent
Staining: Granulation: Sizes: Tube 10 ml
Manufacturer website

Tips when choosing colors

When it comes to choosing colors for watercolor painting, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, consider the color wheel and how different colors interact with each other. Understanding complementary colors, warm and cool tones, and color harmonies can help you create dynamic and visually appealing artworks. Additionally, think about the subject matter and the mood you want to convey. For example, if you are painting a landscape, you may want to choose greens and blues for a calming and natural feel. Lastly, experiment with different brands and pigments to find colors that suit your style and technique. Remember, the color choices you make can greatly impact the overall look and feel of your artwork, so take your time and choose wisely.
Also read, watercolor essentials to see which colors are essential.

History of Burnt Umber

Raw Umber and Burnt Umber are two common earth pigments used in watercolor painting. Raw Umber is a natural brown pigment made from the iron oxide and manganese oxide found in soil. It has a yellowish-brown tint and is typically used to create muted, natural shades. Burnt Umber is made by heating raw umber, which transforms it into a darker, richer brown pigment. Burnt Umber has a reddish-brown tint and is often used to create shadows and to darken other colors. The use of raw umber and burnt umber pigments dates back to ancient times. Raw umber was originally obtained from the island of Cyprus, which is why it was also known as “Cyprus Umber”. The pigment was used in a variety of mediums, including frescoes, oil paintings, and watercolors. Burnt umber was developed later, as artists discovered that heating raw umber created a deeper, more intense color. Today, raw umber and burnt umber are still commonly used by watercolor painters. They are versatile pigments that can be mixed with other colors to create a wide range of shades, from warm browns to cool grays. They are also valued for their natural, earthy quality, which can add depth and richness to a painting. A fun fact about these pigments is that they are also used in the cosmetic industry as natural dyes for hair and skin.

How watercolor paint is made

Watercolor paint is typically made from a few simple ingredients:
  • pigments
  • binders
  • water
Watercolor manaufacturing
The pigments used in watercolor paints can be organic or inorganic compounds, such as minerals or synthetic chemicals. These pigments are finely ground and then mixed with a binder, which helps the pigment particles adhere to the paper when the paint is applied. The most common binder used in watercolor paints is gum arabic, a natural resin extracted from the sap of the acacia tree. Gum arabic is mixed with the pigment to create a thick paste, which is then combined with water to create the final paint. Other additives may be added to the paint to improve its performance or create specific effects. For example, some watercolor paints may include wetting agents to help the paint spread more evenly on the paper, or preservatives to extend the paint’s shelf life.
Testing newly made watercolor paint
Testing newly made watercolor paint
Watercolor paints are available in a wide range of colors and textures, from transparent washes to opaque and granulated pigments. Different manufacturers may use slightly different formulations or ingredients in their paints, which can affect the quality and performance of the paint. If you’re interested in learning about other colors, check out our pages on Vandyke Brown, Sepia, and Indigo, which provide in-depth information on these colors and their various shades.

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