"Australian Blue Gum is one of the special Australian colours that Matisse makes. The colours in the Australian landscape are distinctive and the landscape painter benefits from having colours in tubes that work well with the colours seen in nature. Australian Blue Gum does an excellent job in that regard but it is a colour with a few surprises up its sleeve and it suits a wide range of artists needs, especially for contemporary artists, illustrators, graphic artists, and those who simply like to experiment with colour.
Australian Blue Gum is a delightful pale greenish blue colour that is a blend of white, Phthalo Blue, and a touch of black. It has a subdued and very gentle quality about the colour that is very calming. It is a mistake to think that this colour exactly matches the colour of the leaves of blue gum trees, although it is similar, but by being slightly more blue than the leaves actually are gives the colour the flexibility to depict gum trees in all kinds of light and weather, and also allows the colour to be useful for skies and seascapes and more imaginative works.
When used for depicting the various colours in eucalyptus leaves Australian Blue Gum is a great starting point. Depending on the time of day and weather the colours will change but a good rule of thumb is to mix either Yellow Oxide, Chromium Green Oxide, or Transparent Umber with the Australian Blue Gum. It is amazing how natural these mixed colours look. Australian Blue Gum can also be valuable when painting weathered wood. Mixed with Raw Umber or a little Ash Pink it makes the sort of blueish and brownish greys that exposed wood will often go.
Sky and sea can benefit from using Australian Blue Gum. A hot summer day is probably best made with Cobalt Blue and Australian Sky Blue, but weather and seasons change and sometimes the cooler and slightly more grey character of Australian Blue Gum mixed with Cobalt Blue is perfect for a cooler more wintery sky. Another source of very variable blues and greens is water. Australian Blue
Australian Blue Gum is a unique colour which becomes apparent when used for making greens of all sorts. When mixed with Nickel Titanate Yellow it makes the sort of light apple green colour that interior walls were often painted in the mid 20th century and is found in retro clothing. A darker green fashion colour is produced in a mixture of Australian Blue Gum with Southern Ocean Blue. Mixed with Naples Yellow Light it makes a very light pastel green. These sorts of colours are perfect for modern graphic work and no other colour mixes them so easily. Contemporary artists will also enjoy more lateral thoughts about colour. Australian Blue Gum makes gorgeous light blues when mixed with Iridescent White or soft blue-greys when mixed with Metallic Silver.
Australian Blue Gum is indeed a great starting point for making the colours in blue gum trees, but the colour earns its place in the Matisse range because it can so so much more and is a helpful colour for a wide range of artists to have in their paintbox.