Burnt Umber is a more intense reddish brown pigment that results from heating the clay pigment Raw Umber. It has medium to excellent tinting strength and high opacity, and it is quick drying in oil form. Burnt Umber is somewhat more transparent than Raw Umber. It has excellent color properties and can create a variety of subtle, clear tints when mixed with white. It can tend towards chalkiness in dark mixes in oil form, but overall it mixes well with other colors. To create a black color in oil form, mix Burnt Umber with Phthalo Blue or Ultramarine. To achieve a similar color in watercolor form, mix it with Ultramarine or Payne's Gray.
Burnt Umber has good permanence.
Burnt Umber itself is considered non-toxic. If contaminated by manganese compounds, it may be highly toxic if inhaled and moderately toxic if ingested.
This pigment gets its name from the Latin word umbra, meaning shadow or shade. Its full name is listed as terra di ombra, meaning earth of shadow/shade, due to its original extraction from the area of Umbria, Italy. It has been used as a pigment since prehistoric times. Currently, the finest umber comes from Cyprus.