View Full Version : Pyrrole Rubine PR264 disappointment

07-09-2014, 07:57 PM
I love real Alizarin Crimson but want something more fade-resistant. I've read lotsa good things about PR264 (often known as Pyrrole Rubine) as a substitute. Some artists say this is the best substitute. So I tried Talens Cobra (water-soluble oil) 'Madder Lake' which is PR264. When compared to my Winsor & Newton Artists' Alizarin Crimson, it's not even close:

-it's nowhere near as dark and rich in masstone
-duller in undertone
-greyer in tints
-slightly bluer in hue - which I could live with

It lacks Alizarin Crimson's saturated deep ruby red color. It's like a dull version of Quinacridone Rose. In fairness, this paint is called Madder Lake, and is not called Permanent Alizarin Crimson or Alizarin Crimson Hue, so it likely was not intended as a direct substitute.

But still, it's color is a disappointment. Maybe my expectations were too high after being used to Winsor & Newton's Alizarin Crimson. Maybe other brands use PR264 pigment that is more saturated and transparent. I'm sure it will give me lots of use for mixing skin colors (with yellows & white), and also as a general-purpose mid-chroma 'red' for mixes. I'll see what kind of blacks it makes with Phthalo Green.

As an aside, I also tried Talens Cobra Study (student-grade) 'Pyrrole Red' PR254 and I'm pleasantly surprised by it. It's not as thick as the regular Cobra (which is actually what I want in a bright red). Its color in masstone and undertone is a bright, high-chroma, middle red - like artist grade. Tints with white make a bright middle pink - cleaner than real cadmium reds, and without the strident shift to purple like Quinacridone reds.

07-09-2014, 10:20 PM
Sorry it doesn't match very close, I think the closest ones I have found yet are Gamblin's Alizarin Permanent and Utrecht's Perm Alizarin, The one in the middle is Artisan Perm Alizarin. with your WN AC next to them:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Jul-2014/112587-3_reds-wetcanvas.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Jul-2014/112587-alizarins.JPG

07-10-2014, 07:40 AM
Patrick, if you're doing oil, try Rembrandt's Madder Lake or Madder Lake Deep. I have the WN AC and to me this seems a little darker. I would also suggest Mussini's Translucent Magenta, or Williamsburg Permanent Crimson - which is a touch lighter than the others, however this shines far past any crimson I've used.

07-10-2014, 10:09 AM
Along with Cypress, take a look at Rembrandt's Permanent Madder Deep. It comes very close to Alizarin. In fact, it's a bit more rich and chromatic in my opinion, and retains its chroma when tinted with white. It has been my basic red on my flesh palette for years.

07-10-2014, 11:49 AM
Budigart is right - It is Rembrandt's Permanent Madder Deep that I was trying to speak of, not Madder Lake. I use that color along with Prussian Blue and Cad Yellow for my extremely limited palettes and it has faired far past Alizarin Crimson in my opinion.

07-11-2014, 06:58 PM
Thanks everyone.
Going by the swatches below from Dick Blick, and Sid's, only the Gamblin Permanent Alizarin Crimson has the very dark, rich masstone I like/need. But I only use water soluble oils now.

07-11-2014, 11:03 PM
Patrick here is a water mixable by Weber (http://www.dickblick.com/items/02107-3533/#colorswatch)that is somewhat similar to the Gamblin mix:
PR209, PR122, PR101, PR179

07-12-2014, 03:19 AM
Thanks Mr. Sid :) . By that swatch, it doesn't look as dark as Winsor & Newton PR83 or the Gamblin mix. Sorry for harping on that issue, but as you might've noticed, I am very picky about masstone darkness :clear:. I often use dark, transparent colors to mix blacks or to use as black when applied thick.

But still I would love to try those Weber water soluble oils. Here in this part of Canada, the only ones to be found are Artisan, MAX, and Cobra & Cobra Study.

07-12-2014, 03:31 AM
I just read in Hilary Page's 'Guide To Watercolor Paints' that Rose Madder denotes a color weaker and less deep & intense than Alizarin Crimson. So in hindsight I should not be surprised that the Rembrandt/Talens PR264 paints don't match real Alizarin.

But I read that some brands of PR264 do match Alizarin in darkness & depth of color. So you know the adage of 'choose colors by pigment number, not by color name' ? Throw that out the window, and choose by color name rather than pigment number! :thumbsup:

07-12-2014, 06:01 AM
It's going to be extremely difficult to match alizarin crimson with a single pigment especially if you only use water miscible colors. It would more than likely take 2 pigments such as a touch of Prussian Blue and Magenta. They also have oil sticks out there via W&N that you could try that mix with both water and regular oil. It has an oil/wax base that is even cleaner than water miscible oils. Here is R&F Burnt Scarlet which can match the darks of Alizarin, but with a stronger undertone that you can blend with your fingers. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jul-2014/1179051-01107_BurntScarlet-l.jpg

07-12-2014, 11:00 AM
Weber should add a little ultramarine blue like Gamblin does, that would make it a little darker in masstone. Seems like all the single pigments are cleaner and lighter magentas than real AC.

07-13-2014, 07:18 AM
Jeremy, is that PR206? That is indeed lusciously-dark and rich in masstone. I've been wanting to try one of these organic earths for a long time.

Sid - although I generally prefer single pigments, I wouldn't mind a mix rather than a single pigment if that's what's needed to get the color I want...as might be the case here.

Having tried out my Talens PR264 in color mixing swatches, and in an actual painting, I'm coming to like it despite the shortcomings I mentioned earlier. Some new observations:

► mixed with Phthalo Green (Blue Shade) it makes a black indistinguishably dark as Mars black! (I couldn't see a difference even under bright light)

► in undertone/diluted without white this mix is very close to neutral grey if you get the proportions right

► mixed with Lemon Yellow (PY3) and white, it makes realistic caucasian skin tones

07-13-2014, 12:48 PM
Patrick, indeed that is PR206. However it is a very expensive PR206 oil stick. The 38ml version is about $18 and the 188ml is almost $64. The brand is R&F. I love the oil sticks because they are completely dry to the touch in 24 hours and you can mix any type of oil medium. They also coincide with the h20 oils.

07-14-2014, 09:48 AM
Patrick, I saw this color today and it stood out to me. It's the Pyrrole Rubine mixed with Ultramarine Blue which creates a very close Alizarin Crimson hue which also makes it more vibrant due to the chroma of UMB.


07-15-2014, 08:15 AM
When I use up my current transparent Burnt Sienna (Artisan oils) I might replace it with some brand of PR206...your oil bar sample if it looks incredible.

The Pyrrole Rubine + Ultramarine Blue looks very nice...awesome dark masstone :thumbsup:. I guess it's Rembrandt Oils. I only use water-soluble oils now and unfortunately Cobra doesn't have that color. It's a lot more purplish than Alizarin Crimson but would be a neat, more natural-looking, much more reddish alternative to Dioxazine Purple...a color I use a lot of. I'll see if I can find something similar in any other water-soluble oils.

07-15-2014, 08:24 AM

► I've found the Talens Cobra Madder Lake to be moderately fast-drying...a bit of a surprise, and a plus in my books.

07-15-2014, 02:31 PM
I guess most of the disappointment that comes from an Alizarin Crimson replacement concerns what people expect from it. "The Pigment Compendium" lists many variations of Alizarin depending on how it is made, and I saw up to 13 variations! In painting, most Alizarins are a deep, bright red, but you also see duller variets, or, more rarely, "Alizarin Madder," which is synthetic alizarin without the purpurin extracted which makes it, essentially, a brighter, higher tinting strength version of Rose Madder Lake (NR9.) Brazilian paint maker Corfix sells the "Alizarin Madder" variety.

Depending on what you see Alizarin, you can narrow your substitutes to around 3 variations:

Bright, deep red: Anthraquinone Red (PR 177,) Perylene Maroon (PR 179) + Quinacridone Rose (PV 19-gamma,) Quinacridone Magenta (PR 122) + Transparent Red Iron Oxide (PR 101,) etc.
Deep, dull red: Perylene Maroon (179) without any mixing, Pyrrole Rubine (PR 206,) Talens' Permanent Alizarin, as Patrick said, or Pyrrole Rubine (PR 206) + Ultramarine Blue (PB 29,) as Cypress suggested.
"Madder" Alizarin (rose shade:) Quinacridone Rose (PV 19-gamma,) Quinacridone Magenta (PR 122) + Cadmium Red Medium (PR 108) or Pyrrole Red Light (PR 254,) Quinacridone Red (PV 19 or PR 209,) Quinacridone Red Light (PR 207.)

07-19-2014, 07:40 AM
I don't like Pyrrole Rubine PR264 as a substitute for Alizarin Crimson PR83.

I do like the following formula that I use from palette colors I have on hand:

2 part Cadmium Red Light (PR108)
2 part Quinacridone Magenta (PR122)
1 part Raw Umber (PBr7)

This color is a deep, dull shade (#2 in Mythrill's post) that closely matches Golden's Alizarin Crimson Hue (PR122/PR206/PG7), for which my palette does not have room.

08-03-2014, 01:31 PM
I've just ordered winsor permanent carmine (PR n/a), from the blick site it looked closer to alizarin than most, even winsor permanent alizarin, but yet to try it.

PR176, 177, 264, 179 i looked at, various swatches of brands the last was very dull but i actually prefer the colour so may get some 'florentine red.' as a second colour as its different enough. I mostly use these colours straight from the tube, as transparent colours featuring heavily in abstracts or to add to lamp black or pthalo green, which creates the darkest blacks that don't dull like lamp on its own; rarely use as tints.

Ted Bunker
02-16-2019, 10:29 PM
It's interesting how the same pigment yields such a range of masstones and undertones. Apparently the variability stems from the processing, the fineness of the grind, the milling and mixing, even the temperature they are processed-at..

Some pyrrole rubine pigment-paints emulate Alizarin Crimson with a definite blue cast, yet others like Mark Carder's Geneva Red is very pure-red without orange or magenta-ish casts.

02-17-2019, 07:41 PM
Revival of this thread, several years later :thumbsup:

As the original poster, I still have that tube of Talens Cobra PR264, and I must say...I've come to like it a lot. It's not a replacement for a transparent, very deep & saturated crimson. However...it is the deepest red I know of. Deeper (and more blueish...which may or may not be a virtue) than Cad Red Deep, and deeper than any Naphthol Red I know of.