Used since the early Egyption times, Indigo has been a very important color in fabrics as well as art materials. We use incredible amounts of Indigo dye every year in the production of blue jeans and denim products.
Natural Indigo is a deep blue colorant named anil. It is obtained from the sprigs of the indigofera plant. In the late seventeenth century, the major source of indigo was the plantations of the French West Indies, where large crops of indigofera was grown and harvested just before the plant bloomed.
Once picked, the plant was processed in vats where it was water filtered, then dried into cakes for export. In 1883, Bayer(tm) (makers of Aspirin) began work on synthetic Indigo which led to today's Indigo pigments, thioindigo.
Daniel Smith's Indigo formula mixes Indanthrone Blue with Lamp Black for an extremely lightfast, intense dark that closely matches true Indigo. Transparent, yet high in tinting strength, this Indigo leaves a gentle faded blue denim stain when blotted from a damp state paint. Blueberries, blackberries and plums are a few subjects to play with using this technique. Use Indigo wherever dusty purples are desired.
Indigo evokes a feeling of depth, atmospheric and color perspective. Also used for expressive, moody skies. Try flowing short strokes of Indigo into water, add touches of Sepia and Quinacridone Burnt Orange to create branches and birch trees. For a special treat, try this with Indigo and Cote d'Azur Violet.