Brand New Blue for a Brand New Year

Happy New Year! As a lifelong learner, I'm very excited to share our latest show with you!

Did you know there’s a new color of blue—the first discovered in more than 200 years? It’s called YInMN Blue after the elements it’s made from and this vibrant new blue pigment was licensed for artists paints in the US in 2020. 

It was discovered by happy accident at Oregon State University in 2009 by Professor Mas Submaranian and his grad student, Andrew Smith who were working on creating components for computer parts.

I came across their discovery in 2018, after researching where paint pigments come from and found Professor Submaranian’s TEDx Talk. Thrilled to hear of their discovery, this show has been a dream of mine for a few years.

You see, it’s too easy to forget that everything we use to create with comes from the Earth so I got curious about where the various colors we experience in paintings come from. Who would have thought that Yttrium oxide (white), Indium oxide (yellow), Manganese oxide (black), and oxygen, heated to 2,200 degrees would have combined to create a vibrant new blue pigment? One that even has some cool UV reflective properties and potential for roof coatings!

These elements are found in rare earth minerals—rocks and soil and described as metals. Yttrium is the 28th most abundant element in the earth’s crust and is even found in our bodies. Indium is the 68th most abundant element, similar in abundance to silver, though it’s very rarely found as its own element. Manganese is found in abundance and was even said to be used in cave paintings in France that date back 30,000 years.

All of this reminds me of being a kid with a magnet, playing in the dirt in the backyard and watching all the tiny slivers of metal being attracted to it. 

Out here in Hawaii, we’re surrounded by all kinds of beautiful blues. The ocean and sky provide ever changing moments of delight and endless inspiration. YInMn Blue seems like a natural here, though getting it took some time and it’s not cheap—a 37ml tube of oil paint cost $99.

Challenging Hawaii’s master artists to try something new, I asked each of them to create something in their own style celebrating this Brand New Blue and this show is the result.

I hope you enjoy and I look forward to connecting with you again when the time is right! Wishing you health and all good things for 2022!