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Alizarin Crimnson?

I read that Alizarin Crimson (either PR83 or PR177) should only be used with calcinated pigments such as "Burnt" Sienna or Umber (PBr7) because it doesn't stabilize over the long term with non-calcinated pigments. I also read that it works superbly well in glazes but not as a mixing color.
A few questions if someone can illuminate me:
- why doesn't Mark use the three primaries such as Quinacridone Rose (PV19), Phtalo blue green shade (PB15.3) with Cadmium Yellow Light (W¬N Artist) Pale (Talens Rembrandt) (PY35)? Aren't these two pigments much stronger than PR177 and PB29 (Ultramarine Blue red shade?)
PS: Incidentally - Only W&N Artist oil "Burn Umber" is made of PBr7. Talens Rembrandt is made up of two pigments and the color is actually different as expected with a lot more red. They use both PR101 (red) and PBk11 (black!!!)
- there's a red pigment called "Benzimidazolone Carmine"- PR176 sold as Carmine by Talens Rembrandt (no. 318) which is so remarkably close to W&N Artist's Permanent Alizarin Crimson (Anthraquinone Red). When mixed with yellow and/or white it opens up marvellously - roses, pinks, lovely! Has anyone tried out this color?
- I replaced Ultramarine Blue (PB29) with Phtalo Blue green shade (PB15.3) to mix with Cadmium Yellow Light (Py35) and the end result was a vibrant green with a lot of room to lighten up and warm up with tiny amounts of Burnt Umber (PBr7).
- Titanium White (PW6) dulls the green, removing its original vibrancy. I know that Talens Rembrandt 118 is a mix of both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide (PW4) so I guess it would be much worse than with pure PW6). SO my question is this - which white out there doesn't dull the colour and simply lightens it up? W&N has a lot of whites on offer, form Lead based, "Transparent", etc.
Much obliged.


  • dencaldencal -
    edited June 2014

    Mark will likely provide a better answer, but one of the big mistakes of painters is to intensify color way out of the natural range and this spreads like contagion in a painting.

    The Carder palette is limited, balanced and harmonious to create realistic and natural paintings. Mark would be the first to say that after you are comfortable with seeing and mixing natural color then the spectrum is open and available. The Carder palette keeps things simple and makes it easy for beginners and those seeking to control so many variables.

    The W&N (Permanent) alizarin crimson is not subject to fading like the other brands that need to stabilize with other pigments.

    The lead based whites are too toxic for use in a family home. Zinc (has its own problems with swelling and shrinking with humidity, leading too cracks and delamination) is probably the next best mixing choice.


    Pedro[Deleted User]
  • I have never needed a color that is more vibrant than what I can mix with any old white, even dirty old grayed up white. The biggest issue for 99% of artists learning to paint is that their colors are too vibrant. Natural color, that is any color you see in the world around you, can easily be mixed with even a dirty white. The exceptions are things like artificial dye colors in clothing or the color of a traffic cone.

    And even if I did need some super duper vibrant light green or other, I could buy some "toxic" intense pigment like pthalo, which is off the charts vibrant. Dirty whites can even be pumped up with pigments like pthalo. But those colors are hard to work with - because they get into everything - adding vibrancy which destroys my color instead of helping it.

    Vibrancy is bad, dirty is good:
    Pedrorgr[Deleted User]Martin_J_Crane
  • AAAAAAAAAAAh! I see ..... I do really see!
    I was a colourist for many years. A film to tape transfer colorist working with the DaVinci color corrector and the Rank cintel 422 flying spot telecine machine. The concept of "dirt" and "dirty" is a new paradigm for my mind but not for my eyes.
    Thanks for helping me to see! I guess painting is all about color mixing and the issue of harmony is paramount. The a painter must be able to create a universe of color harmonies (the palette) within a painting and that is SEEING.
    Many thanks
    PS: I hope I can join your online course.
  • dencal said:


    The lead based whites are too toxic for use in a family home. Zinc (has its own problems with swelling and shrinking with humidity, leading too cracks and delamination) is probably the next best mixing choice.


    Many thanks for your insight. Have you played with this stuff?

    Being in Spain, I couldn't let it go ... I do walk past a place with some Velazquez paintings almost every week (the Prado) ... funny that no one here seems to know about this. A good discussion on this:

  • Regarding the Alizarin, pure genuine Aliz Crimson is a fugitive color, it will fade over time with enough direct sunlight. Which is why I use Permanent Alizarin Crimson which is not true Aliz pigment but works equally well and will never fade.
    savignano[Deleted User]
  • Pedro

    Thanks for the links. No, never used Velazquez medium. Not seen around these parts (Australia).

    Interesting story about the putty medium.

  • Pedro

    Some discussion of white here:

    see the link to the Gamblin studio note.

  • dencal said:


    Some discussion of white here:
    see the link to the Gamblin studio note.

    Bought a tube of Rembrandt "Transparent White" by Talens (119) and tested side by side with Rembrandt Titanium White in Linseed oil (118). Also tested their Zinc (117) and Mixed whites (103).
    MAJOR difference is with 119. It doesn't dull the brightness of the pigments and I get many more blues and greens and reds and everything in between. So I guess I'll add it to the palette. The only problem is that you need about twice as much of this as you do of 118.
  • One of the problems with using more chromatic paints is that as the painting progresses, all the color in the painting takes on high chroma, and thus, it becomes more and more difficult to make a point of interest pop out in your painting. If you look around, whether in your own home or in a city park, you'll see mostly more quiet, grayed down color with the possible exception of flowers which, for some reason, nature allows to go bonkers where hue, value and chroma is concerned.

    As for the toxicity of lead based paint, I call your attention to the cadmiums (heavy metal), Prussian blue (a component of cyanide), vermillion (mercury) and turquoise (arsenic). Most paint boxes could double for a list of lethal poisons used regularly in television murder mysteries. The rule has always been, don't eat your paint.
  • I understand what you mean, but I do get many more tonalities (shades or levels of brightness/luminance) using transparent white than I do using titanium white. If I use plenty of transparent white then I get the same effect I get with titanium white - pastel colors or dull pigment. Which is fine. more choice with a better white.
  • Recently, I heard that W&N paint formulas have less pigment and more oil. China has reportedly bought the company. Any comments?
  • @Laura do you have a link to the report? Why would a country buy an art supply company?
  • wn was bought by comart but that was years back and they changed their formulas prior to the sale to improve the balance sheet. there is a detailed thread about the subject, i have a copy if needed.
  • The speculations about China buying into the United States business area were founded on the thought of W&N available in many countries. I noticed prices went up on the paint.
  • ooops, that was ColArt, they have about six paint companies. can't find anything about spinning off w&n or selling the whole company.
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