Raw Umber

raw umbra

The origin of the name “Umber” is disputed, many believe that it has its origin in the Latin word “umbra” which means shadow, while others claim that the name comes from Umbria, a mountainous part of central Italy from which the pigment was originally extracted.

Umber, like all other “earth colors”, consists mostly of iron oxides and hydroxides, but what distinguishes Umber from the others is the amount of manganese oxide and hydroxide, 5 to 20%, which gives rise to the cloudy and darker hue. Like all colors that contain manganese and, oxides of manganese, umber is slightly toxic, avoid skin contact and do not eat the color.

Natural umber has a hue that is very unclear yellowish or unclear greenish yellow. The color tone of raw umbra differs a lot among different manufacturers, most have a raw umber that is vaguely yellowish, like a dirty raw sienna while others’ umber is darker and redder, some manufacturers have an umber that is greenish and others are more neutral, almost like a light sepia.

Almost all manufacturers state the pigment to PBr7 which should be a natural iron oxide, but there are manufacturers who use PR101 and others who mix their umbra with different pigments, the variety of different raw umber is so large that it is not possible to call them the same color, they are all radically different from each other.

Most state their color as semi-transparent, others as transparent. All the colors that have Pbr7, PY42 or PR101 are fully lightfast but all other properties can differ a lot from each other, some granulate a lot, others not at all. Some leave a hard edge while others do not. Some colors stain the paper while others are easy to wash off.

As with burnt and raw sienna, all umbers from different manufacturers are so different, both in terms of color and properties that it is not possible to say that umbra is a good or bad color, you have to compare the different ones to come to a conclusion, all mixed colors that consist of several different pigments are completely uninteresting to me, especially those that do not contain any “earth color” at all, e.g. the one from Lukas that they have mixed with red yellow and black, or “Raw Umber Violet” from Daniel Smith which is an umbra with a little red violet mixed in. It’s like selling canned porridge, a completely ridiculous and unnecessary product.

The Rembrandt’s “Greenish umber”, and Ottosson’s färgmakeris “Rå Umbra” stand out because they are made of manganese oxide, not PBr7 but PBr8. Both are beautiful, very cloudy, yellowish colors that granulate.

Some manufacturers:

(All colors that have the name “umber” without specifying that it is burnt umber I have placed in this category)

OLD HOLLAND
Raw Umber
PBr7

OLD HOLLAND
Green Umber
PB15:2, PBk7, PBr7, PG23, PG7

SCHMINCKE
Raw Umber
PBr 7

SCHMINCKE
Green Umber
PBr7

SHINHAN
Raw Umber
PR101

SHINHAN
Umber
PBr7

WINSOR & NEWTON COTMAN
Raw Umber
PBr7, PY42

WINSOR & NEWTON
Raw Umber
PBr7

DALER ROWNEY
Raw Umber
PBr7

DANIEL SMITH
German Greenish Raw Umber
PBr7

DANIEL SMITH
Raw Umber Violet
PBr7, PV19

DANIEL SMITH
Raw Umber
PBr7

SENNELIER
Raw Umber
PBr7

M. GRAHAM
Raw Umber
PBr 7

LUKAS 1862
Raw Umber
PY155 PR176 PBk7

HOLBEIN
Raw Umber
PBr7 PY42

ST PETERSBURG
Umber
BY32, PBk7, PBr7

MAIMERIBLU
Raw Umber
PBk7

DaVinci
Raw Umber
PBk7

DaVinci
Raw Umber Natural
PBr7

TALENS REMBRANDT
Greenish umber
PBr8

TALENS REMBRANDT
Transparent oxide umber
PY42, PR101, PBk11

TALENS VAN GOGH
Raw umber
PR101, PBk6

OTTOSSONS FÄRGMAKERI
Rå Umbra
PBr8

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