View Full Version : Permanent oil colors

05-07-2002, 10:17 PM
Can someone give me information on permanent colors? Rembrandt offers a large assortment & I am wondering if I can
substitute them for cads. I know I won't get the same result but could I achieve a similar one? I know nothing about the toxicity of permanent colors since I have no information on them. Also what shade would be the most versatile-- lt, med or dk, since I have no idea of the tinting strength?
thanks in advance,

05-08-2002, 06:55 PM
Hi Cathleen, permanent used in a colour name is just a proprietary tag and really just shows how often colours in the same class were impermanent in the past! They are not a specific family of pigments or anything like that and although most of them are synthetic organic pigments so are many of their other colours so it is used quite randomly.

Talen's very nice website has two complete colour charts for their Rembrandt line <A HREF=http://www.talens.com/mainrembrandtoilchart1.html>here</A> and <A HREF=http://www.talens.com/mainrembrandtoilchart2.html>here</A> and in addition to scans of paint swatches they list the pigments used in every colour. I had a look at the complete range a while back and if I recall correctly all of it can be considered lightfast (ASTM I or II)

Of the colours that use permanent in the name these would be my picks:
Permanent Yellow Light is PY154, a top-notch benzimidazolone pigment worth trying as a mid-yellow. BTW their Permanent Yellow Deep is just this mixed with PO73 ,which they offer as Vermilion, and their Permanent Green Deep is this mixed with Phthalo Green BS so you could just mix these yourself.

Permanent Red Medium or Deep look very similar and use two very closely-related pigments PR254 and PR255, pyrrole red and scarlet. I would tend towards the medium as being the more versatile colour-wise and it will be more opaque too.

Permanent Madder Deep is PR264, another interesting pyrrole pigment and worth trying if you have a place in your palette for a dark-valued violet-red, very like an opaque Alizarin Crimson.

Permanent Violet Medium is quinacridone violet, PV19, one of the best and most useful pigment violets IMO.

Additionally my post in <A HREF=http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=27960>this thread</A> might be of interest.


P.S. About Stil De Grain Yellow, if you're in the market for a transparent, muted orange-yellow that's what it is.

05-09-2002, 12:17 PM
Oh, Einion ---thanks so much for your generosity in sharing your vast knowledge!! Many of your posts have seemed too technical for me, but it seems I must be learning as this is starting to make sense to me.

When nobody responded to this thread I called Talens and they couldn't give me the answers you have but are sending me information instead. I did learn that the permanent colors are semi opaque rather than opaque as the cads are. Is there any information on the toxicity of the permanent colors?
thanks again!!
PS, the thread you pointed out was very useful too, merci!!

05-09-2002, 04:16 PM
Hi Cathleen. How are you? Good I hope!! Interesting topic :)

I am going to have to try the Permanent Madder Deep, as I've been looking for a permanent substitute for Alizarin Crimson. :cool:

(isn't Einion wonderful???!!! Always so graciously helpful!)


05-09-2002, 09:14 PM
Hi Tina,
Did you get my email about this? I guess I thought this was a no brainer but turns out these formulas hold much knowledge. Einion is amazing and I am so grateful to have someone this astute to share information. I had already planned on the madder deep as I too was looking for a permanent alizarin, couldn't live without that color!

05-10-2002, 12:25 AM
God..........I know,,,,,,,,,probably like everyone else........EInion is superb for constructive/technical information. I believe I took one of Her/or His (gee........I'm not sure..........sorry Enion.......you're elusive my friend) threads at one time and had like 15 pages of definition terms I had to look up..........but you know what.........I learned something! ACTUALLY......a whole lot!!! :D

I can't live without my Alizaron Crimson either. I'm so glad to know that there is a permanent alternative to such a fabulous color. I went straight to the art store after work and bought me a tube of Permanent Madder Deep.........got home...........my husband thought I was going crazy or something (probably because I didn't come in and pick up a pan to fix dinner right off the bat :rolleyes: ), and just had to experiment with it right away. It's an absolute beautiful (I think more) resemblance to Alizaron...........THANK YOU EINION!!! Once again.........and threefold for your wonderful mind!!

Cathleen: No..I didn't get your e-mail about this...I was just browsing around and ran across the thread. You started a really good one. Hopefully..........there will be many more responses. It truly is a great subject!!!

C-YA around........


05-13-2002, 06:08 AM
Originally posted by guillot

1)-I've been looking for a permanent substitute for Alizarin Crimson. :cool:

2)-isn't Einion wonderful???!!!

ad 1) - There has been a nice thread concerning Alizarin Crimson a while ago:

ad 2) - yes



Scott Methvin
05-13-2002, 11:40 PM
I couldn't help doing a little research after reading the various bits of information on alizerin crimson. It is a very popular color, particularly with the plein aire set.

I always thought it was a coal tar derivitive, but it isn't. Here's what I found out about it.

In 1820 2 French chemists were able to isolate the part of the madder plant that makes the red. Madder was THE red forever and a cheaper substitute was despartely needed. A man named Perkins, in england discovered the first synthetic coal tar color, mauve in 1854. This wasn't red, but it was a sensation when it came out.

Alizerine, got it's name from those 2 French chemists. "Alizari", was the arabic name for madder.They later dropped the e.

Nothing much was done with the chemistry until around 1868, when 3 separate groups hit on a commercially viable way to manufacture the correct chemical combination without using the natural madder root. A cheap, permanent dye was finally possible for the first time in history. A German group-BASF and the same Mr. (mauve) Perkins, from England, patented the process one day apart.

They agreed to split it between themselves and went into production. The Franco-Prussian war caused Perkins to be the sole supplier for about 7 years. He retired wealthy and the Germans took charge later on. They are still in charge.

Most of the big chemical companies got their start in the dye industry. Bayer, BASF, ICI and others. Synthetic dyes were the ground floor of the modern chemical industry we have today.

So, alizerin is a totally synthetic dye. More permanent than the madder it replaced. Not as permanent as the synthetics that have come after. But permanent enough to still be a big part of today's "red" industry.

Hope that was interesting to somebody.:)
I am fond of quinacridone, myself.

05-14-2002, 01:06 AM
diphascon - I remember that thread (if that's the one I'm thinking of.....I'll take a peek) :D And, it was an excellent one at that. And with Einion - wow, I believe it takes a true love of color to understand it so deeply as he does. And I think it is very important for an artist to fully understand color. Amazing stuff!!

Mr. Methvin: What a great history on Alizarin!! Interesting, and totally in depth. So, it makes me happy to know that it is still a more permanent color than Madder?!? (Hopefully I didn't mis-understand you) They are actually......both wonderful colors!! I guess it was something in the thread that I remembered in the oils forum about permanent colors (which may be the one diphascon referenced above.....I haven't looked :( ) about Alizarin Crimson not being permanent at all. Question..........is the original Alizarin the same as "Alizarin Crimson"? I have the "Permanent Alizarin Crimson" that W&N produces (Permanence: A,......Pigment Antraquinonoid) and I believe there was even a question that arose over whether or not it was even "permanent". Just really curious ;) I like both colors (red madder deep and permanent alizaron crimson), so I guess that just makes it "artist choice"?

Thanks for the wonderful information!!


07-02-2002, 11:25 PM
I was thinking about how so many paint manufacturers have some colors in their line with the word "permanent" in the color name. When they do this be vewwy vewwy careful. This is a marketing trick to get you to purchase colors you don't need. And sometimes the pigments used are marginally colorfast at best. I would suggest learning which colors are really permanent and reading the back/side of the tubes to find out just what is really in that tube of paint.
Pigments are called by a combination of their local color and a number. As an example, Cerulean Blue is usually PB35, Pigment Blue 35. It can be PB36( pigment blue 36) which tends to be a little greener than the PB35. Some companies will sell a color called Cerulean Blue but when you look at the ingredients you'll see something like pb15, pg7, pw4. Now you know that Genuine O-fficial Cerulean Blue like they made 100 years ago is pb35 so what is this concoction they are trying to get you to buy?
That concoction is composed of:
pb15, Pthalo Blue.
pg7, Pthalo Green
pw4, zinc white
That particular mixture can be used effectively but it's going to handle quite differently than your genuine Cerulean Blue; for one thing it's going to be semi transparent at least while pb35 is usually opaque(sometimes semi-opaque depending on the manufacturer)
Soooooooo, learn your pigments, which do what in which medium, and "pick yer purple."
Hope I helped a little, this can be a daunting task but once you learn exactly what you are using you can excise the dross in your paint box.
Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to the Hundred Acre Wood to see my friends.:D

07-13-2002, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by MrSpringGreen

Soooooooo, learn your pigments, which do what in which medium, and "pick yer purple."

This is probably excellent advice (I just ordered a tube of "permanent sap green"....curious to see what shows up) Can you tell us where we can find out about which pigment is which? Is there a website you've found?

07-14-2002, 11:26 PM
My information comes from working in an art supply store where I could read information when I wasn't busy and ask questions of paint manufacturers.
1st piece of advice:
anytime you go into an art supply store, ask for literature on the various paint brands in the medium you use. Get it all! Get it from other company products as well.
2) If you can find it, get the "Wilcox Guide to the best Watercolor paints" book. At the beginning of each chapter he gives you the colors, their pigment name, and a general description of the color based on lightfastness. By reading between the lines you can get a good feel for how some colors did when made up into an oil or acrylic paint.(The book is written with the watercolorist in mind). This is where you can get most of your information on pigment names and pigment numbers.
3) I have a tremendous amount of material on various oil paints(and watercolors) and I'm always adding to it. When I go to the art supply store i ALWAYS check for literature on "my" brands to see if they've changed anything on me... by continually checking these color charts I've managed to memorize quite a bit.
4) If a company doesn't list the pigments on their tubes/cakes then presume the worst; that they are using school supplies for colors. This may work well for your effect/piece but at least you know your materials and you can claim the work did what it did because you wanted it to.
5) I mix and match paint brands. I'm always trying out new paints and different colors/pigments. Because of this I like to keep up on current brands ingredients and I will try a new paint brand to see what it's like. I usually pick 3 colors/pigments I've worked with a lot so I can gauge the company's pigment grinding, tinting strength, etc against known good paints. Sometimes I discover a new paint to add to my palette and sometimes I find a better version of a paint I already use.
Sooooooo, go out and learn. Oh, 1 good thing about this:
Suppose you go to your local paint store and they are out of W&N yellow ochre pale. If you know your pigments you know that their color is composed of PY42(Synthetic yellow oxide).
Now, with your newfound knowledge you can go find another brand that is using the same pigment and walk out of the store mostly happy. The other brand may handle a little different or be a shade darker or lighter BUT you are familiar with this color and how it tints and works with your mixes.(You'll have to eyeball the slight difference in value).
This gives you a certain amount of power over your colors and your painting.
The Artists Handbook by Ralph Mayer is also informative but the last time I checked it the pigment listings were rather antiquated.

Hope this helps!


ps. comments are welcome!

07-14-2002, 11:39 PM
I used to work in an art supply store too; ironically I wasn't nearly as serious about my work as I am now. I was young, single, partying. :D Sadly, that was actually a real store, with really nice stuff. Now I'm stuck with shopping at Michael's (don't know if you have them where you are or not), which is sort of a big warehouse dealie without much in the way of help or cool stuff. So I've been pretty much winging it, or ordering online. But you've given me some good places to start. Thank-you.

07-15-2002, 01:57 PM
We have them here. They aren't that bad....but if you want some off color brands or some of the more exotic stuff.....you are out of luck. Good thing the internet is here, eh?
Michaels knows their niche and they want to stay there.
But you need to know your materials because of the help you get when you buy your paints...as I'm sure you are aware of.;)
Oh, a good store for materials and information is:
They've always sent me any literature I ask for. I have no complaints about the service either.



ps I live in Georgia, same as you. I have a friend who went to college at Andrews Junior College down there.

07-18-2002, 11:56 PM
Originally posted by MrSpringGreen

ps I live in Georgia, same as you. I have a friend who went to college at Andrews Junior College down there.

Now that's too funny. The world is always smaller than you think, isn't it? Most folks have never even heard of Cuthbert. My hubby teaches there. :p Where are you in GA?
Thanks for the link. Will go look!

07-19-2002, 08:32 AM
Most folks have never even heard of Cuthbert. My hubby teaches there.
When did your hubby start? to teach that is.:) My friend went there I think '84-85....1984-1985. I had never heard of the town either until he mentioned it. He complained that the closest McDonalds was in Albany(pronounced locally all-benny):D
I live near ennesaw Mountain, northwest of Atlanta.... it's really a suburb.... but durn close to rural Ga, if'n that's what you like.

Did you ever shop for your paints in Atlanta? and which store did you shop at?

07-19-2002, 10:04 AM
He's only been teaching there for the last three years. We moved down from Athens where we'd both lived for a good long time (15 years for me, 13 for him). Never shopped for paint in Atlanta, but I still hit Athens for supplies when we go up to visit our friends. I used to work at the Loft, a pretty decent little art store in the middle of downtown, and get a good bit of my stuff there whenever I can.

The closest McDonald's is still in All-benny, ;) along the with closest decent grocery store, the Michael's, Wal-Mart, Lowe's, etc, etc,etc. We do a lot of driving. :D

That's still a pretty nice area, up around Kennessaw. I bet it's growing at an alarming rate, though, isn't it?

We would like to wind up living in the north GA mountains someday, or up in North Carolina, or Tennessee.....

Anyway, t'was nice meeting you!