Maimeri Blu Watercolor Review, Lightfast Testing, Color Chart Swatch CardsUPDATE: This brand reformulated their line in 2018 and now offers more single pigment, lightfast, rare or brand exclusive options than before. Maimeri Blu "Superior" artist watercolors are a professional grade paint line made in Italy. When I first tried them in 2016 the catalog was full of repetitive convenience mixtures, some fugitive colors prone to fading, weak reds and sometimes had manufacturing errors (air pockets or under filled pans). These issues appear to be mostly resolved at this time. There are more than a few colors I highly recommend getting from this brand, but do not recommend broad unfocused collecting or half pan assortments.
As a fan of setting up multi-brand palettes, I believe each company has something they do particularly well. I'll go over my top picks, personal favorite colors and rare or unique colors below. I purchase Maimeri Blue watercolors within the USA at Blick here, or Worldwide through Jackson's here.
*** Updated review video coming soon. I have recently tried more colors, including rare or brand exclusive pigments like PY139, PY164, PY183, PY227 (varying between yellow, orange and brown despite being classified as yellow pigments). While less lightfast, it is interesting that they offer NB1 natural plant based Indigo in addition to PB1 Vat Blue, often referred to as synthetic indigo which they called Paynes Grey. I am much more impressed with this brand after they reformulated their paints in 2018. Until then, you can see the colors I've tried in the swatch card section below. ***
Cons: After recently testing their Quin Red PR209 and Primary Magenta-Red PV19, I do NOT recommend these particular colors due to being weaker than competitors. While these two red pigments are often recommended as vital mixing colors, particularly for florals, other brands (like White Nights) offer stronger and more affordable options. In 2020-2021 I collected an additional 12+ colors, NONE of which had any manufacturing errors, air pockets like my 2016 paints.
Pros: these paints seem to have good shelf life. Even my old paints have stayed well mixed, without any binder separation after 5 years of storage. I believe that just a few weak colors may be the main remaining negative. Since I have not tried the entire catalog, I can only recommend the colors I have personally swatched. For brand-specific recommendations for each pigment, I have a page talking about my top lightfast choices for building your own versatile watercolor mixing palette here.
They have a high quality, strong version of the granulating color "Potter's Pink" PR233, which has intense texture ideal for color-separating mixtures. I like to mix it with Cerulean or Cobalt Teal, which also have weak mixing strength so the PR233 doesn't get lost in the mix. While strong for PR233 as a pigment, it can still be easily overpowered by extremely strong or high chroma pigments like Phthalo Blues and Greens. Adding a touch of yellow can make a lovely granulating coral peach color.
Maimeri Blu watercolor swatch cards:
If you're interested in opaque watercolor, I highly recommend Maimeri gouache (review here). I prefer their performance over my other high end gouache paints, such as Winsor and Newton or Daler Rowney Designer's gouache. They carry some rare pigments, such as Sap Green PG8, which is beautiful but only marginally lightfast. They offer a good deal of lightfast pigments as well, competing with Schmincke's professional gouache. Maimeri seems cheaper to get through Blick within the USA, while Schmincke gouache can be easier to find and more affordable in other parts of the world.
If you'd like to see how any of these individual colors compare to the same pigment in another brand, check out the pigment database.
Where to buy?