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View Full Version : Irreplaceability of Alizarin Crimson - split off


Doug Nykoe
10-30-2008, 02:39 PM
You can mix till the cows come home but there is nothing that OPERATES like Alizarin Crimson throughout the mixing process. Sure you can make colours that look like PR83 and on the surface they look good but its in the mixing that they all fall apart and lose their character but PR83 always retains it characteristics through out the mixing process. So therefore you lose a vital colour in your mixing …for what, longevity. So I guess only if it lasts like 4,000 years will we use a pigment from now on and lose vital characteristics that Alizarin provides.

Funny how we will buy a Lexus for 50,000 plus and fades to the dump in about 15 years but buy a painting for maybe 5,000 needs to last 3 centuries…wheres the priorities. Do yourself a favor and get back to the proven winner.

Those of you who have used a replacement like Gamblins permanent PR 83 go back to the original and see what you have been missing. Call it a test if you will but you might be pleasantly surprised how well this colour helps you to paint better not to mention how beautiful it plays off the other colours. There is nothing like PR 83 …NOTHING.

sidbledsoe
10-30-2008, 03:20 PM
Pr83 was first made in 1868 and represents the first synthetically made substitute or replacement for another pigment, rose madder. In reality that makes it the very first "hue" of another genuine color. Does it replace and mix like genuine original rose madder? Not according to the first artists to use it, they found it to be less saturated and less brilliant. Few other colors engender such vitriolic responses as pr83, that is the part that escapes me.

Paint_Tube
10-30-2008, 03:26 PM
So therefore you lose a vital colour in your mixing …for what, longevity.
Er, yes that's right.

We can continue to drone onward as to why many of us believe Alizarin Crimson is dispensable and ready replaced now that we are well into the age of the perylenes and quinacridones.

I used to have Alizarin Crimson on my palette just like everyone else and saw with my own eyes its fugitive nature. (In fact I still have it sitting in the well of an old watercolor palette.) Consequently, I simply accepted the fact that there's no sense in using a fugitive paint when I have been served well by substitutes that I either purchase or mix myself.

This thread wasn't meant to rehash the tired pro / anti-PR83 arguments. Rather, it was simply a bit of information I wanted to share so that others such as myself who will no longer use PR83 can try something different.

--Jamie

Einion
10-30-2008, 04:20 PM
You can mix till the cows come home but there is nothing that OPERATES like Alizarin Crimson throughout the mixing process.
While true that's not really the point. If it is for you, fair enough.

It's really the colours that one gets to that matter and those can be achieved by multiple routes, in some cases many routes - just ask 20 or so painters doing similar work whose palettes aren't the same.

Sure you can make colours that look like PR83 and on the surface they look good but its in the mixing that they all fall apart and lose their character...
Well that's certainly a subjective determination Doug!

...but PR83 always retains it characteristics through out the mixing process.
Could you show us what you mean by this by posting examples?

So therefore you lose a vital colour in your mixing …for what, longevity.
Funny how people can paint perfectly well without it. It's not vital, it's vital to you.

So I guess only if it lasts like 4,000 years will we use a pigment from now on and lose vital characteristics that Alizarin provides.
Please don't veer off into hyperbole, it does nothing to serve a serious discussion about the issue.

Doug, I believe you're an oil painter right? The issue is not just about one medium. In watercolour the paint is so fugitive as to make defences of its use practically absurd.

Call it a test if you will but you might be pleasantly surprised how well this colour helps you to paint better not to mention how beautiful it plays off the other colours.
Caveat emptor!

There is nothing like PR 83 …NOTHING.
The same is true of any number of single-pigment paints but you name it, someone can paint without it, with the possible exception of white.

Einion

Doug Nykoe
10-30-2008, 06:23 PM
Hi Einion--- yes, just oil painting, very little watercolour. So not sure about their issues.

Lets look at the character of this colour Alizarin Pr 83 compared to the other. In one the fact that we have three colours being mixed as Gamblin does in which I have used and saw it go in directions that were unpredictable and went downward very fast in this subtractive world in which we operate in. Mix a bit of orange into the Gamblin and it kills the blue hue in this three mixed pigment but in the original Crimson we are just fine and it stays on track and a lot easier to read relationships not to mention its beauty.

As we know, but seem to be ignoring is that three pigments right out of the gate makes for going downward all the faster into a subtractive world not to mention the individual character of the three. You will notice this in your mixing compared to how well Alizarin holds its own and is much stronger therefore you have a much easier time of mixing and relating to the two worlds such as, the warm and cool areas.

Try this, Make a sideways < V on canvas paper and at the point of the < put G. Alizarin, now mix Alizarin into the warm area up to yellow using individual pigments and then do the same on the bottom of the v into the cool area adding a bit of white to read and see what you get.

Now do another with your mixed version of three pigments (Gamblin Permanent Alizarin) and see what you get, surprise…grayed out unpredictability and harder to paint when things get a bit more complex. You might even notice how beautiful the genuine looks and how well it holds through the mixes, basically a stable force. Also alizarin plays as a great go between the two worlds of warm and cool as a mid tone pigment. You can also make another < but this time gray all the colours before you paint into them and now see how well Gamblin does as you get more complex.

The first test with the genuine Alizarin C. mixed into cadmiums reds to the yellows you will see the beauty that alizarin imparts but the gambling falls apart but what do expect starting out of the gate with three pigments. Now this should or will reveal what the heck is happening to you as you paint and get more complex in your paintings.

Alizarin is a very important colour for a few reasons more but won’t go into at this time.

Smokin
10-30-2008, 07:21 PM
There is an irrational POV on PR83 in these forums that refuses to look at this pigment objectivly which is fueled by a certain few indaviduals here. The truth is Pr83 is the identical in chemical structure in ?Nr5?(original madder) which has been used for centuries. There are examples of this pigment performance which do not suport the conclusions made with lightfastness tests.

The fact remains that pr83 and Nr5 has more history and much more predictablity as a pigment than any of the replacments being used today.

sidbledsoe
10-30-2008, 09:40 PM
Pr83 is the synthetic version of the alizarin component in rose madder, omitted from the synthesis was the other component in rose madder, purpurin, alleged to be highly fugitive thus making the new Pr83 more permanent and also close but different. Correct me if I am wrong since this is info gleaned from the sometimes in error internet.

Einion
10-30-2008, 09:41 PM
Doug, that all sounds right on the money to me (notwithstanding Schmid's positive comments) but what about other substitutes/alternatives for this colour that aren't mixes? Quinacridone Carmine for example? Quinacridone Crimson, Pyrrole Rubine, Perylene Maroon?

Beyond those colours which are close, what about the painters that don't have a paint in this position but instead use a rose or magenta paint? They clearly don't have trouble getting the colours they need by mixing in a completely different way.

Einion

Einion
10-30-2008, 09:59 PM
There is an irrational POV on PR83 in these forums that refuses to look at this pigment objectivly which is fueled by a certain few indaviduals here.
How is a desire to use something more lightfast not entirely rational?

Alizarin Crimson fades badly when exposed to enough light. As far as we know it always fades badly when exposed to enough light.

From Handprint:
Alizarin crimson has been tested hundreds of times since the late 19th century and there is simply no credible argument in its favor.

What my tests show is which paints, of the ones included in the test, fade soonest and worst in relation to the others exposed to the same amount of light for the same amount of time on the same panel in the same window, applied thinly in masstone (glaze thickness), thickly in masstone (impasto thickness), thinly in 50/50 mixture with the same white, and thickly in 50/50 mixture with the same white (impasto thickness). What faded quickest and worst in all instances was alizarin crimson PR 83, without exception.

From Amien.org, confirming something stated here previously, more than once by more than one person:
BTW, Shiva Rose is PV19 + PR83. If there was a standard for casein lightfastness, it wouldn't meet it, since its lightfastness rating would be III. But you could still buy it.

So who's not looking at things objectively?

The truth is Pr83 is the identical in chemical structure in ?Nr5?(original madder) which has been used for centuries.
Er, no it's not. Want the link to the thread where you were informed of this?

There are examples of this pigment performance which do not suport the conclusions made with lightfastness tests.
Such as?

Let me just come right out and ask you something I'm sure more than a few members would like to know: have you tested Alizarin Crimson in oils for lightfastness? If so, please tell us the testing procedure and share the results. I can't imagine it shows anything other than the expected outcome the "irrational individuals" would expect.

If you haven't tested it (yet?) may I ask why?

Einion

Doug Nykoe
10-30-2008, 10:53 PM
Doug, that all sounds right on the money to me (notwithstanding Schmid's positive comments) but what about other substitutes/alternatives for this colour that aren't mixes? Quinacridone Carmine for example? Quinacridone Crimson, Pyrrole Rubine, Perylene Maroon?

Beyond those colours which are close, what about the painters that don't have a paint in this position but instead use a rose or magenta paint? They clearly don't have trouble getting the colours they need by mixing in a completely different way.

Einion

I haven’t tried all of these exact colours you mentioned but have tried many and can’t remember all the specifics as I put a premium on character not necessarily where they sit on a colour wheel as being close to Alizarin, so it should work type thing.

Alizarin might be a red and we therefore think we can get close by using almost the same red but others will display different characteristics but all I have tried never measured up to the original Alizarin Crimson. For instance I tried the quins and they were to acidic in character and very pushy in a dominating way for me. But in the end I finally went back to Alizarins warm and welcoming attitude.

There’s also this warm wonderful glow that returned to my work that seems to come from this unique colour alone. Others have different properties to them. Ever see paintings that displayed this almost warm radiating quality…well, could it be Alizarins characteristics sitting in all those mid tones. There seems to be something special about this particular colour that others just don’t have.

Yes of course others can do without Einion but some I bet can relate on another level with this colour but Like Smokin said it’s gotten a bad rap and now many are avoiding it and I believe are going to suffer for it unnecessarily by way of missing out.

I am just saying give this colour another go and see for your self. If you have been away from Alizarin for a few years try it again and see if gained experience equals that you will recognize some of these unique differences.

Smokin
10-31-2008, 03:42 AM
Enion, let me plainly say, I’m not interested in convincing you of anything or pointing you to information I know you will ignore, or pointing to information and facts that conflicts with your conclusions. I am also not going to elaborate on my position despite how often you misrepresent what I have been saying or what I understand.

The truth is Pr83 is the identical in chemical structure in ?Nr5? (http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/indiv/history/alizarin.html)(original madder) which has been used for centuries. Refusing to understand this kind of basic fundamental fact despite the links in the past is an example of the irrational approach to pr83 I have mentioned.

I’m talking to those who might be interested in looking up info themselves. Is the madder that’s been used for centuries relevant to today’s pr83? Look it up, the answer is YES. Is the more to photochemical deterioration than sticking it in sun and seeing if it fade? Yes, absolutely. Is there a good reason as to why I don’t respect the information some people are adamant about here? Yes, after doing alot of research on lighfastness and the history of pigments (including alizarin) and took the times to educate myself about the science of pigments, I know for a fact that what is being shared here is far from a complete and proper understanding.

Einion
10-31-2008, 07:05 AM
I haven’t tried all of these exact colours you mentioned but have tried many and can’t remember all the specifics as I put a premium on character not necessarily where they sit on a colour wheel as being close to Alizarin, so it should work type thing.

Alizarin might be a red and we therefore think we can get close by using almost the same red but others will display different characteristics but all I have tried never measured up to the original Alizarin Crimson. For instance I tried the quins and they were to acidic in character and very pushy in a dominating way for me. But in the end I finally went back to Alizarins warm and welcoming attitude.

There’s also this warm wonderful glow that returned to my work that seems to come from this unique colour alone. Others have different properties to them. Ever see paintings that displayed this almost warm radiating quality…well, could it be Alizarins characteristics sitting in all those mid tones. There seems to be something special about this particular colour that others just don’t have.

Yes of course others can do without Einion but some I bet can relate on another level with this colour but Like Smokin said it’s gotten a bad rap and now many are avoiding it and I believe are going to suffer for it unnecessarily by way of missing out.

I am just saying give this colour another go and see for your self. If you have been away from Alizarin for a few years try it again and see if gained experience equals that you will recognize some of these unique differences.
Thanks for elaborating Doug http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2003/3842-thumbsup.gif

Einion

Einion
10-31-2008, 07:14 AM
Enion, let me plainly say, I’m not interested in convincing you of anything or pointing you to information I know you will ignore
You're on thin ice here, again, Frank. Don't presume to pass judgement on what I, or any member, will or will not ignore.

I am also not going to elaborate on my position...
So we'll have to take it that you haven't tested the pigment. Okay then.

...despite how often you misrepresent what I have been saying or what I understand.
To the best of my knowledge I have never misrepresented what you've been saying. I have never misrepresented what you've said - this is one of the key reasons for quoting individual sections to deal with them separately, the very thing you've criticised me vocally in the past for ;)

The truth is Pr83 is the identical in chemical structure in ?Nr5? (http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/indiv/history/alizarin.html)(original madder) which has been used for centuries. Refusing to understand this kind of basic fundamental fact despite the links in the past is an example of the irrational approach to pr83 I have mentioned.
The truth is a little more complex than you're making out http://www.amien.org/forums/showthread.php?t=566&page=2

From George O'Hanlon (WC! member georgeoh):
First, Sir Joshua Reynolds did not use the modern synthetic pigment alizarin crimson, but rather madder lake, a pigment made from the naturally derived dye, which contains 1,2 dihydroxyanthraquinone, the chemical substance known as alizarin, among other natural dyes and substances. The synthetic form was not produced until 1868 when the German chemists Karl Graebe and Karl Lieberman, working for BASF, found a way to produce it from anthracene.
...
Even more to the point, madder lake was often made by precipitating the dye with a metal salt, other than aluminum, such as iron sulfate.
...
There are differences both physical and chemical that influence fading. As has already been noted, alizarin in mixes fades faster than when it is not mixed and used full strength. Artificial alizarin fades less quickly than madder lake, because madder lake includes other dye substances, such as purpurin, that does fade faster than alizarin.

Yes, after doing alot of research on lighfastness and the history of pigments (including alizarin) and took the times to educate myself about the science of pigments, I know for a fact that what is being shared here is far from a complete and proper understanding.
And I happen to 'know for a fact' that what you're saying is not from a complete and proper understanding. Nobody, including me of course, is an expert on anything from reading a few references. Our conclusions are the sum total of what we've read (assuming we remember it) filtered through our own intrinsic viewpoints - this is clear because some people don't ignore, or explain away, fading while others see it as a clear indication of something and draw a different conclusion.

Einion

WFMartin
10-31-2008, 11:30 AM
Since I understand that the topic of this thread is the irreplaceability of Alizarin Crimson, I have an observation that I'd like to make, pertaining to that topic.

I am often surprised by how totally unremarkable some of these colors that seem so "indispensable" or "irreplaceable" to certain artists actually are. In my humble opinion, the importance is the resulting color. If one pigment seems to be a bit fugitive in its nature, then simply select another one that seems close.

Inspired by all these "Alizarin Crimson" threads that seem to abound, lately, I took the advice of someone who, on another thread, suggested that a quite appropriate "replacement" for Alizarin Crimson was Old Holland's Burgundy Wine Red, and I bought a tube of it. (One real advantage of Q & A sites, such as this) As many may be aware, Old Holland does not do the buyer a favor by printing the pigment ID on the label, so I have absolutely no idea what precise pigment it actually is.

However, it DOES state "Anthraquinone" on the label, so for all I know, it may be every bit as "fugitive" as real, PR83 Alizarin Crimson.

Inspired by the fact that some colors exhibit different overtones when mixed with white, or with other colors, I just did a side by side comparison, lightening an ancient tube of Alizarin Crimson with white, and also mixing my Old Holland's Burgundy Wine Red with white. I added white until each was to the same approximate value.

There was no detectable difference, whatsoever between the appearance of the two. Granted, I do not have the availability of a color measuring instrument, as I used to have, but I'd be willing to bet that if put to a visual test by the most discriminating artists, the "real" Alizarin Crimson could not be identified from its counterpart--even when mixed with white.

Now, this tube of Burgundy Wine Red is not a "mix," as was advocated in another thread, but it most certainly is a different pigment, and seems to behave much as the actual Alizarin Crimson does. To me, real Alizarin seems as though it represents a slightly yellower, and slightly dirtier version of PV19, and I don't much care WHAT you wish to call PV19, (Rose, Red, Magenta, Violet, etc., etc.) That nomenclature seems to often be such an issue, in discussions.

Quite truthfully, I've been painting for 20 years+, have sold many paintings, and have received quite a few awards, and haven't actually employed Alizarin Crimson on my palette in nearly that length of time, since I was led to believe the fugitive nature of real Alizarin Crimson. Some combinations of various Cadmium "Reds" and PV19 have worked exceptionally well for me, and I do flower paintings--the very type of subject that is quite dependent upon achieving various reds, yellows, and blues.

Color is color, and if one of them is purported to be "fugitive", then simply select another, or a combination of others. It is really not brain science or rocket surgery.:D I could practically guarantee that you'll be able to create every bit as acceptable work, if Alizarin Crimson were to suddenly disappear from this earth.

Bill

sidbledsoe
10-31-2008, 11:54 AM
I agree with you Bill. There is already a vast amount of acceptable work that has been produced without it. To prefer and "love" a pigment is an emotional head thing that is what I think is going on here, and I am not immune from that either but that has more to do with me than an intrinsic magical quality possessed by a chemical.

Einion
10-31-2008, 12:00 PM
Thanks for your thoughts Bill.

OH's Burgundy Wine Red has been PR177 (Anthraquinone Red) for a few years now - since 2001 at least - so it's probably that.

I don't much care WHAT you wish to call PV19, (Rose, Red, Magenta, Violet, etc., etc.) That nomenclature seems to often be such an issue, in discussions.
Well the rose form is generally rose in hue. No reason not to call a spade a spade.

Einion

gunzorro
10-31-2008, 02:12 PM
I may have been the one to recommend the OH Burgundy Winered as a similar color. It is the same pigment as Williamsburg's Permanent Crimson, which I was chagrined to find after buying, since I already had two full tubes of the OH in my collection -- and neither WB or OH is cheap! ;)

I love genuine Alizarin and have searched far and wide for an exact replacement, but so far, those two above are closest, but not an exact match. Probably close enough for almost everyone though. Perhaps someday, somehow, someone will invent a truly permanent replacement for ASTM III Alizarin. Until then we have an improvement in using the PR177. BTW -- PR 177 is not truly permanent, being somewhere between ASTM I and ASTM II (closer to II, I believe), but far better permanence than genuine Alizarin PR83.

awerth
11-01-2008, 12:41 AM
From another thread:
A book worth checking out, jam packed with actual scientific information.
http://www.getty.edu/bookstore/titles/accage.html (free pdf)


Interesting reference, and I won't claim to have read the whole thing. But I did search for "alizarin" and most mentions of it are in relation to its fading characteristics, especially when mixed with titanium white.

From another source I found on the web:

http://books.google.com/books?id=o23u0SuRLxsC&pg=PA143&lpg=PA143&dq=lightfastness+alizarin&source=web&ots=mB7EU-WzsM&sig=_zZvG-_ylY3ZAaixF5RuF8zjBQo&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result#PPA160,M1

This describes alizarin as being borderline lightfast and thus usable as a control in tests; things which fade as much as alizarin don't make the grade for being suitably lightfast.

At the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) web site, they describe alizarin as being ISO R105 Lightfastness Classification = 4-5, which I believe means you can expect it to last for 20-100 years under normal exposure, and which falls short of acceptable as an "artist pigment". (http://cameo.mfa.org/materials/record.asp?key=2170&subkey=333&Search=Search&MaterialName=alizarin&submit.x=0&submit.y=0 (http://cameo.mfa.org/materials/record.asp?key=2170&subkey=333&Search=Search&MaterialName=alizarin&submit.x=0&submit.y=0))

Just some more food for thought. Since I paint in acrylics and have never used genuine alizarin, I guess I don't know what I'm missing, but neither will anyone who looks at my paintings in 20-100 years (if I'm lucky enough to have that happen!) :wave:

sidbledsoe
11-01-2008, 05:41 PM
You don't really need to do any research outside of WC! There are many experts here that can answer these questions. I have learned that ASTM III means very good lightfastness and when a color is labeled "permanent" that means that it will fade nicely in tints, see how easy! As I have said before, I have no expertise in this stuff, none, but it sure is fun sticking paint swatches in windows.

(Sorry I just can't resist trying to lighten up these serious threads a little)

Daniel_OB
11-01-2008, 11:37 PM
Frank
There is an irrational POV on PR83 in these forums that refuses to look at this pigment objectivly which is fueled by a certain few indaviduals here. The truth is Pr83 is the identical in chemical structure in ?Nr5?(original madder) which has been used for centuries. There are examples of this pigment performance which do not suport the conclusions made with lightfastness tests.
The fact remains that pr83 and Nr5 has more history and much more predictablity as a pigment than any of the replacments being used today.

I think that all that painter in past used NR5 was not very smart and wanted to misslead us (well that is I learn from Einion, and I have no idea she ever made any painting).
As I know
IT-engineers, and other members-individuals of the group (well, AArtists), spending extra time making some swatches and paintings that a dog will bite them (you know where) if they show it. On the other hand they search for Cleasens linen and total (100% or FOREVER) lightfast pigment hoping that when UFO come they will choose their painting and take it away somewhere into the universe and their name will last and will be celebrated for ever. They are full of false facts how some pigments that Old Holland makes is not good enough for their "paintings", making self-assumptions and then turning it into facts.

On another side of our reality liveth one guy who have no idea how bad Alizarin rimson is, so he use it to paint something like this

http://www.fineartportrait.com/sylvia.html

(By the way this is Old Holland PR83 plus PV19)

But do not take him serious. He do not hold his paints in California, south facing window. He hide it inside in someones house.

And for replacements of Alizarin Crimson. Any replacement is just another color and should be use instead of Alizarin Crimson only if a painter need that color. But if a painter is not able to see the difference so no matter what is used, it is different story. There are people that never need Alizarin Crimson (for exaple painting a sky) so they are counted by certain individuals as painters that knows how bad Alizarin Crimson is, and it is why they do not use it on the sky. Also there are people that just cannot distinguish between nuances or they do not care for it, so just anything more or less similar is OK. Well there are and another kind of the painters but they are just a few (as one above).
If someone wish more examples like above, one more is: look yourself for Bitinger. And if you still think AC is bad paint, I think he have a problem.

I am also very sure that you Einion do not know ANY example of any painter, as good as one mentioned above, that needed Alizarin Crimson but refused to use it because of "facts" that have nothing in common with practicing top quality paintings.

sidbledsoe
11-02-2008, 12:55 AM
Here we can see the magic of Alizarin Crimson mixed with white, yellow, and blue. Pretender to the throne is PR177 above with the true PR83 below. Note the difference between the real thing and the wannabe and how vastly superior PR83 is, as if pigmentally embued from above. (as for myself I am the artistic equivalent of a tone deaf musician)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Nov-2008/112587-Aliz_Crim.jpg

Oh Alizarin Crimson thy hue so winsome, let me ne'er forsake thee
if thou must pale in later years, I will then gaze upon thee through bitter tears.

(Sorry again for waxing poetic)

WFMartin
11-02-2008, 01:28 AM
I hope you will excuse my questioning of that which you are exhibiting here, but to me the chief apparent difference between the PR83, and the PR177 is that the PR83 actually creates a bit yellower colors, and for that reason is tending to gray both the "pink" and the "lavender" mixes, a bit. The orange appears pretty much identical to me. Is this yellowness the chief attraction of PR83?

I can easily effect this difference by dumping in the slightest amount of some yellow into my PR177, if I were to desire such dirtier colors. Personally, I did NOT notice even this slight difference between the two, when I mixed white with each, but that could depend upon which brands of each were used, I'm sure.

By the way, the term, "dirty" is not a disparaging word in describing a color, but it is only a description to indicate the presence of grayness, and/or perhaps a bit of darkness, which is often a good thing. There is certainly nothing wrong with that characteristic, providing that's the color for which you're striving.

In this test, the PR83 certainly appears to producing "dirtier" colors than those of the PR177. Is that characteristic of PR83 truly what seems to make Alizarin Crimson so desireable to so many? If so, I suppose that is understandable, in a way, if that characteristic makes it more convenient. My choice is generally a cleaner color, because I feel that I can always add something to it if I wish a slightly grayer color.

Bill

Doug Nykoe
11-02-2008, 02:32 AM
Here we can see the magic of Alizarin Crimson mixed with white, yellow, and blue. Pretender to the throne is PR177 above with the true PR83 below. Note the difference between the real thing and the wannabe and how vastly superior PR83 is, as if pigmentally embued from above. (as for myself I am the artistic equivalent of a tone deaf musician)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Nov-2008/112587-Aliz_Crim.jpg

Oh Alizarin Crimson thy hue so winsome, let me ne'er forsake thee
if thou must pale in later years, I will then gaze upon thee through bitter tears.

(Sorry again for waxing poetic)

For one thing sidbledsoe, this can not be shown on a monitor. The qualities of Alizarin Crimson and its subtleties need to be seen with our own eyes; others have to do it for themselves.

Another problem is your swatches are very non-artistic and speak weakly for any colour. Take a palette knife and move the Alizarin into the other colour or paint nut. Move it all together in a swirling action mixing a bit here and a bit there in degrees but in the end make sure you allow the two colours to show their character too, so don’t fully mix the two pigments together.

This will simulate more of what the colour will somewhat act like on an actual painting and speaks a little more clearly to the appearance of these two colours being mixed together. We are trying to see its character not just smashed together. Don’t forget this colour also has a very strong allure and beauty when glazing in some passages so lets not just smash um up and call it a day, look for the quality.

sidbledsoe
11-02-2008, 08:54 AM
Bill, you pretty much nailed my own thoughts about this, very nice evaluation!
Doug, show us what you mean, Bill has demonstrated his acumen in viewing subltle differences even on a monitor! Thanks guys

sidbledsoe
11-02-2008, 10:11 AM
BTW, post 21's comments are totally tongue in cheek and the demo is far from a be all, end all thing, later I will try some broken color mixes as Doug has suggested. The only red I use right now is that pr177 (Holbein Crimson Lake) but if good ol'83 can make me a better painter I intend to find that out.
(I also accept c&c on my poetry)

WFMartin
11-02-2008, 10:35 AM
BTW, post 21's comments are totally tongue in cheek and the demo is far from a be all, end all thing, later I will try some broken color mixes as Doug has suggested. The only red I use right now is that pr177 (Holbein Crimson Lake) but if good ol'83 can make me a better painter I intend to find that out.
(I also accept c&c on my poetry)

Haha...Sid, believe me, if you are a "good" painter already, neither the addition to NOR the elimination from your palette of real, Alizarin Crimson will have much of an impact toward "making you a better painter," in my opinion. I did very well without it for nearly 20 years. Once I learned of the fugitive tendencies of it, and witnessed all the arguments that ensued regarding a suitable replacement, I rather chose to avoid its use, altogether. I've found other convenience colors such as Burnt Umber and Fr. Ultramarine Blue to be much more important to my daily palette than true, Alizarin Crimson.

But, believe me, if either one of THOSE colors were to disappear from this earth overnight, one would not suddenly see a difference in my resulting work. And, I'm sure that you can imagine the simple reason for that.:D

Bill

Doug Nykoe
11-02-2008, 02:13 PM
BTW, post 21's comments are totally tongue in cheek and the demo is far from a be all, end all thing, later I will try some broken color mixes as Doug has suggested. The only red I use right now is that pr177 (Holbein Crimson Lake) but if good ol'83 can make me a better painter I intend to find that out.
(I also accept c&c on my poetry)

Because of ignorance or maybe I tried it already for all I know because I’ve tried a lot of them that were close but I wanted to try this colour per your recommendation and see how it performs. According to Holbein (http://www.holbeinhk.com/pdf/complet_pg02-10.pdf), Crimson Lake has the same rating as Alizarin. I did a bit of a search but found no PR numbers to identify the colour though.

Do you have a better web site?

sidbledsoe
11-02-2008, 02:59 PM
http://www.dickblick.com/items/00425-3723/
Doug, this is Blick's page with pigment info, click on that to get the description. I first used Winton Perm Aliz Crim pr177 but this one by Holbein is far more saturated. Winsor newton artists perm aliz crim may be similar, I don't know. I quit painting altogether 20 years ago and started back a bit over a year ago. Back then I used pr83 as my only red and loved it, didn't know about any permanence issues. My paintings still look fine but the ones I still have spent most all their life not in the light, (basement). I would adore using pr83 again but want to satisfy all my questions and concerns, hence my interest in these type threads.
Bill, you are right again, and that was a bit of a wry comment again by silly me, hoping against hope that a gorgeous pigment would give me that extra little oompah! Your work suffers from a lack of nothing, it is spectacular and glows with brilliance.

Doug Nykoe
11-02-2008, 03:31 PM
Thanks Sid for the web site but still I could not find a permanence rating except on Holbein’s site.

I guess I will pass on testing this one and continue with Alizarin as they seem basically the same in scientific means. On the canvas though this is an entirely different issue, because we look at how they display their unique characteristics.

sidbledsoe
11-02-2008, 04:29 PM
Doug, in case you missed it go to that link again and look above the color swatch. There will be those page icons, one says color swatch, the other says pigment info. Click on pigment info and it toggles to that information. It doesn't give the exact Astm rating but does have a good description. There isn't a link that can take you directly to that page because it is page 2 on the same address.
This feature in Dick Blick's site is profoundly useful. You can go to any list of colors they have, click on the magnifying glass icon, it has the swatch displayed. There are a few pigments not listed yet but not many. As Gunz said it is probably closest to Astm 2, with tints being subject to fading (that is, in tests as we know them ie, accelerated) and different brands vary in lightfastness, permanence. I would think this is similar to any good quality PR177 but Holbein has dissapointed me before with their famous "permanent" yellows and greens that fade in my tests after 2 months in the sun.
My pr177 looks a more rosey than my pr83 so they may be similar but not exactly the same

Doug Nykoe
11-02-2008, 05:34 PM
Okay thanks Sid, Yes I did look at the pigment info and wanted to see the star info but it wasn’t there. I did read it though.

They did a good job on that site and thanks for pointing me there and will use it again in the future.

Einion
11-03-2008, 07:27 AM
On another side of our reality liveth one guy who have no idea how bad Alizarin rimson is, so he use it to paint something like this

http://www.fineartportrait.com/sylvia.html

(By the way this is Old Holland PR83 plus PV19)
I do hope this was merely a mistake and not an attempt to deliberately mislead people Daniel! That painting was done with OH's Alizarin Crimson Lake Extra - which is a mixture without any Alizarin Crimson in it! For those that don't know Old Holland's Ali Crimson goes by a different name (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6482814#post6482814).

I am also very sure that you Einion do not know ANY example of any painter, as good as one mentioned above, that needed Alizarin Crimson but refused to use it because of "facts" that have nothing in common with practicing top quality paintings.
From Marvin Mattelson on another forum:
I have an obligation to my clients which I don't take lightly....

Regarding a viable alternative for the less-than-permanent Alizarin Crimson, I would rather use a mixture of permanent pigments.
So, uh :smug:

There are plenty of excellent, skilled portrait and figure painters who continue to use Alizarin Crimson. Whether one can paint beautifully with it is not the point since I'm sure most or all of that group could paint beautifully without it, given there are plenty of excellent, skilled portrait and figure painters that have moved away from it or have never used it.

Einion

Einion
11-03-2008, 07:44 AM
Gents, ladies, from now on in this thread I'd like to stick to the matter of the colour that Alizarin Crimson provides, compared to possible alternatives. We've done the subject of its lightfastness or not to death recently and it seems clear that nobody who isn't already swayed is going to be by us discussing it further.

Einion

LarrySeiler
11-03-2008, 08:24 AM
Haha...Sid, believe me, if you are a "good" painter already, neither the addition to NOR the elimination from your palette of real, Alizarin Crimson will have much of an impact toward "making you a better painter," in my opinion.

Bill

Bill...some here may or may not have heard this story from me, long time ago...but I certainly concur that talent and/or human convention that girds skill is the bottom line.

I learned a very important lesson back in my Vietnam era bootcamp training at the Great Lakes Training Center in Chicago, Illinois. A batallion commander discovered several weeks into my training, (and I was in a special drill team unit learning to flip and drill with bayoneted rifles), that I had a couple years background of art in college before entering the service.

I was called to his office, standing there at attention as he was reading thru my files. Quite a scary thing if anyone has been a bootcamp recruit before! :D

He told me I would be painting a scene of his river patrol boat (PBR) under fire in Vietnam, and returning fire. Gave me a photo of his boat in the river, and I had to imagine the boat under fire, water kicked up and so forth.

He set me in a barracks to myself, and I had about a dozen or more paints in old (very old...WWII vintage) tin cans. Brushes that had not been cleaned properly.

I opened the cans of paint to discover sticky honey-like stuff (couldn't bring myself to call it paint).

I went back to his office, (what was I thinking? :eek:) and informed him I would need some better paint that could be actually used.

He pretty much ripped me a you know what!!! @)!#%_#%Y!#%!!!

...then informed me I WOULD do the painting with what I had, and that IT WOULD BE OUTSTANDING!!!!!

That was after he got out from behind his desk, and came within inches of my face and ears. <a href=http://www.thesmilies.com><img src=http://www.thesmilies.com/smilies/angry/pullinghair.gif border=0></a>

Well...for the next four-five weeks I painted on a huge oval board. Having no opportunity to excuse myself and avoid painting this thing, I produced a very good painting. One that I would have never believed possible.

The battalion commander had the painting installed on the floor of his building's entrance, surrounded by four huge brass posts, and thick diameter rope around its perimeter. A marine standing at guard on both sides.

About three years ago, I engaged an argument here on one of the forums insisting nothing but the best most expensive brushes could be used to produce a good painting. The artists insisting on this might have been able to afford $14-$40 brushes, and they enjoyed belittling other artists.

I went out and cut four sticks, pounding their ends against a rock to produce fibers, whittled a couple others...and did a plein air using sticks-

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213656

I do not think enough is said or understood about dogged determination and where talent and skill can bring an artist.

That much can be done with determination and skill, is one reason I don't often get involved with arguing one pigment over another. Especially when camps of thought are not likely to budge over any argument presented.

I think for myself there is more to color theory, and one can learn what is possible not because of one pigments contents versus another so much as what to do with paints on a palette in mixing...or palette strategies. Not enough of that as a subject is really hit upon in this forum IMO...but should be. It always comes back to an argument of one pigments inferiority or superiority to another.

For the past three years, I put most my pigments aside...and have been painting with no more than three primaries, Naples Yellow...sometimes viridian, and white. Black when I play with a Zorn-like palette. I have absolutely enjoyed discovering what is possible, and how the viewer's eye can be manipulated.

I think far too many amateurs hurt their advancement in painting by putting too much weight and belief in the value of having many colors out on their palette. They will have to spend a good many years before they get a sense of what is possible with them, whereas I think it is better to work to exhaust the possibilities with less. I think that is where real understanding comes, IMO...

LarrySeiler
11-03-2008, 08:26 AM
sorry, posted my comments above before seeing your post Einion...but I think in my comments is a similar sentiment on my thoughts about endlessly arguing a point no one intends to budge on...

paint...

gunzorro
11-03-2008, 12:50 PM
Einion -- I hate to say it, but OH's Alizarin Crimson Lake Extra is exactly as Daniel said, primarily PR83, with just enough PV19 to make it a little more lightfast. It still fades, but I would say it is in the ASTM II section, compared to squarly in the III section for straight Alizarin.

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c80/gunzorro/IMG_0409web.jpg

sidbledsoe
11-03-2008, 01:04 PM
Edit: I made a comment about what Einion just said to not comment on,
Thanks for sharing your test Gunz!

Einion
11-03-2008, 01:33 PM
Einion -- I hate to say it, but OH's Alizarin Crimson Lake Extra is exactly as Daniel said, primarily PR83, with just enough PV19 to make it a little more lightfast. It still fades, but I would say it is in the ASTM II section, compared to squarly in the III section for straight Alizarin.

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c80/gunzorro/IMG_0409web.jpg
Thanks for that, but is their website in error? Just making sure I checked the right colour... yep, this (http://www.oldholland.com/pages/oil/x5.html) is what it says that's made of. Going back a few years at least there are posts that mention it was remade without PR83. Clearly Mr. Mattelson is working under that impression to judge by his comments.

Einion

gunzorro
11-03-2008, 01:52 PM
About a year ago, there had been a series of questions regarding a number of OH pigment listings -- I don't recall if the controversy was on WC or another art forum. The upshot was that a message from a correspondence with OH was posted stating that somehow their database for labeling paint tubes had gotten messed up a few years ago, leading to various confusions.

But it could be that the latest incarnation of the OH Alizarin is as you've stated. I just haven't seen it, my examples going back at least a year or two. It had been that a whole family of crimsons were PR83-based and supplimented with PV19, i.e. Crimson Lake Extra, and I believe two others.

Someone should contact OH to verify the current listing and see if they actually made a wholesale change to the line-up. It's possible, but I think it unlikely, as their PR83-based paints were still selling well to their core audience.

I kept two 40ml tubes of these paints, and recently got rid of the others variations including (sadly) my 225ml tube of Alizarin Extra. :( Which had essentially become a glorious doorstop. ;)

Doug Nykoe
11-03-2008, 03:26 PM
About three years ago, I engaged an argument here on one of the forums insisting nothing but the best most expensive brushes could be used to produce a good painting. The artists insisting on this might have been able to afford $14-$40 brushes, and they enjoyed belittling other artists.

I went out and cut four sticks, pounding their ends against a rock to produce fibers, whittled a couple others...and did a plein air using sticks-

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213656



The bottom line here in your story Larry is that anyone can make a painting either it be with sticks or two pigments etc …sure I agree. Everyone on these boards to everyone in the world that has done their first painting …well they simply did a painting. ANYONE ON THIS PLANET CAN DO A PAINTING…ANYONE.

My first painting was of an old truck in a field. Yup you could see an old truck in a field as simply as that. Was it good? Not really, but anyone can do it. The question is how to become good.

This is a process and it takes time and we begin to see and add little nuances as we progress to becoming good. We add a little knowledge here and there as we continue down this path and experience continues to feed us by way of small changes and the paintings get a little better as we go but sure anyone can slap a painting together, even a monkey.

Some talk about their joy of finding for the first time those special properties and characteristics that only lead white can give them. Yes they discovered lead and now those special characteristics of lead white have given them an up in experience and new abilities abound because they now understand that something special has happened and they paint better and more forcefully as a direct result of this new knowledge.

Lead white has special properties and characteristics guess what… yup alizarin has special properties and characteristics to. There is a learning curve that we need to explore about these characteristics just as others believed all you need is titanium were shocked by their lack of Knowledge as they continued with lead.

Sure you can make nice paintings with just titanium White but maybe you can do so much more in your abilities if you would just try lead. But at first these properties of lead white elude you until you spend some time with the lead, then and only then will you know. Same goes for Alizarin.

Guess what… Lead White goes transparent after some time but do they stop using it, not on your life. Linseed goes yellow after some time….do they stop using it, well I could go on and on. The truth is you are leaving out a great color Alizarin Crimson and that’s your choice but I guess it comes down to priorities and how much you want to believe and incur the consequences of our actions.

Sure, anyone can make a painting. Right now I am stringing together a few elastic bands on a stick and will be trying out for the Boston Pops Orchestra….wish me luck.:D

LarrySeiler
11-03-2008, 05:14 PM
Not really, but anyone can do it. The question is how to become good.
- -

This is a process and it takes time


I'm in agreement that excellence is NOT an accident.

Thing is...I've seen folks nearly paralyzed by the weight of the technical, or various aspects so daunting that for them meant near having to throw the towel in and give up.

There is a talent that can take an imperfect alizarin crimson and do more with it than another...or not using alizarin at all, arriving at excellence while some having the idea of what should be ideal demonstrate very little skill.

Now...of course if one has a lifelong earned/honed talent with a good deal of hindsight behind them, then we know that growth no longer comes in quantum leaps. After 30-40 years of painting, growth sometimes comes in subtle small things.

Its also extremely exciting when someone painting that many years comes across something...even if it is small, that makes a difference. That may well mean then having the best proven pigment, for what it brings to the table for the artist.

From my position as an art educator, a painter of 30 some years experience, and a moderator...I know that a forum environment has very experienced proven artists on one hand, and eager to learn hungry to grow and advance novices and intermediates on the other hand.

I think it doesn't hurt that every once in awhile in these jot and tittle discussions or what often amounts as debate...we are aware of lurkers that would fare better to focus on how to improve rendering, values, how color works and so forth.

Like people getting trampled at the Who Concert, so excited to get in the door...ya know??? :)

Yes...excellence is not an accident. Excellence can also happen with the less than consensus approved pigment.

If its workin' for you...awesome, and its interesting to hear and know why. If not...equally interesting. These debates often get to infer who can be taken as a more serious artist or painter by who finally wins the argument. We might not be aware of that or even intending such, but to the lurker it may well hold sway.

That's just not right IMHO...and not the basis of what makes a painting work for reasons paintings work excellently.

That was my point, my opinion...and probably about all I need to contribute to this discussion.

take care... :wave:

gunzorro
11-04-2008, 12:32 PM
I’ve expressed my preference for genuine Alizarin, as a color. But its poor lightfastness is a constant concern.

During this discussion regarding substitute pigments, I’ve been somewhat unenthusiastic. I agree that there are a few paints that are near replacements, such as PR177 Anthradquinone (notice the similar chemical name to Alizarin PR83.1 -- Dihydroxyanthraquinone; Anthraquinone on Alumina Base), which is a “kissing cousin” of the genuine item.

While my search goes on, testing genuine Alizarin under various varnish combinations, I continue to use it in color comparisons because it is so familiar to oil painters. Call me Sisyphus. ;)

This current thread, combined with my recent reading of the Munsell Student Book, made me curious as to how Alizarin and some of its “substitutes” would compare in primary mixes against an assortment of yellows and blues.
The first sheet shows the reds and yellows. I chose a fair average of the alizarin-types we commonly discuss, but made more novel choices on the yellows.

Yellows
(From left to right) OH Scheveningen Yellow Light (Monoazo) PY74 was included as a nod to Sid, who used in his recent comparison. WN original Chrome Yellow (Lead Chromate) PY34 from the 70s, (yes, the original lead-based yellow, still in awesome condition!). WN run-of-the-mill Cadmium Yellow Pale as the most predictable yellow “control”. Finally, two more obscure and lower tinting strength pigments: Harding’s Naples Yellow Light (genuine) PY41 and Doak’s Lead Tin Yellow (genuine lead-tin oxide with tin oxide and silicon).

In tinting strength, the WN Cad Yellow Pale was strongest, but the WN Chrome Yellow was nearly as strong and clean. The OH Schev. Yellow Light was comparatively weaker than these previous two, and considerable more translucent.

Reds
The reds are the same, and in the same order, for both the yellow and blue sheets. On the yellow sheet, I’ve included two white tints of each red (on the blue sheet, I excluded this as redundant, but expanded the red/blue mix tints – as you will see, the mixes are near black without the addition of a lighter color). From the top: Harding Alizarin Crimson PR83, Williamsburg Permanent Crimson PR177, Blockx Crimson Lake (Pyrol) PR264, Old Holland Magenta PV19 and Mussini Florentine Red (Perylene Maroon) PR179.

The interesting result about mixing these reds with these various yellows seems to bear out the contention that Alizarin is not irreplaceable. Many of these reds look almost identical to the genuine article – including, surprisingly the “Pyrol Ruby” by Blockx and the distinctly different Magenta from OH. The Florentine Red on the bottom shows the greatest bias toward yellow, which makes its original tints looks somewhat brown.

In tinting strength, the WB Permanent Crimson was strongest and the Mussini Florentine Red the weakest. Highest chroma was found in the Blockx PR264 and the OH PV19, followed by WB PR177.

Based on the mixes with yellows, we might conclude that genuine Alizarin is replaceable with a wide range of red hues. The unavoidable conclusion is that if you mix with yellows (and probably yellow-orange), these substitutes will likely serve you well without being too picky.

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c80/gunzorro/IMG_5151web.jpg

Blues
From left to right, Harding Phthalo Blue PB15.3, Blockx Indanthrene PB60, Smith Autograph Prussian PB27, OH Ultramarine Blue Light PB28 and OH Cyan (mix of zinc, titanium, phthalo and UMB).

As I mentioned above, I expanded the blue mixes and tints to three patches due to the subtractive nature of mixing the reds and blues (coming out near black in the mix).

The blue mixes show a much more profound difference between the various reds. Most notable is the red-yellow bias of Florentine Red acting as a compliment to the blues, creating some near-neutral greys. The Magenta’s purple-blue bias is also now quite pronounced in making rich blue violets.

The top three reds behave more predictably – here the greater tinting strength of the WB PR177 is evident. Both the Blockx and WB show their leaning more toward red, than does the genuine Alizarin. The most pronounced shift occurs when we get to the Cyan (mixed pigments) – a completely different hue shift has occurred. This is the same effect that frequently accompanies the use of “hues”, cheaper substitutes for genuine colors. Here the mix effect is more exaggerated than the sum of its parts (see the phthalo and UMB individual tints). This hue-shift is related to why I don’t recommend making blacks and greys from complimentary mixes – you can’t be sure how the colors will shift as they are mixed with various pigments.

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c80/gunzorro/IMG_5152web.jpg

Conclusion
The conclusion is unavoidable that the top three reds could be used almost interchangeably with both yellows and blues, and that the minor unique characteristics of Alizarin are indeed minor, but more pronounced in the blue mixes than in the yellow mixes.

Much as I love genuine Alizarin, the results of these mixes indicate it is not irreplaceable for most painting situations or subjects.

sidbledsoe
11-04-2008, 01:45 PM
Good lord you are the king of candyland. Thanks very much for doing this, what a resource for comparison or just as a luscious thing to look at, maybe baron can put a frame on it! I agree with your evaluation on this testing. First chart makes me want to get out my cad yellow, second one, my pthalo blue. ? OH ultra blue lt. should be PB29 ? (you know 28 is cobalt)
Thanks again!

gunzorro
11-04-2008, 03:11 PM
Sid -- Thanks for catching the typo. Doh! :) Of course you are right. It's awfully hard to edit oneself perfectly, or even close.

I'm glad you like the presentation. If it motivates anyone to pull out paint and move it around, it has served its purpose!

Einion
11-04-2008, 05:18 PM
Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

Thanks a mil Jim, greatly appreciated (as always).

Einion

Adriantmax
11-05-2008, 02:07 AM
I've been using M.graham anthraquinone red as an alternative to Alizarin. I't seems a lot closer than the other quianaquidone alternative and is lightfastness 1.

It's hard to match alizarin with another colour for tiniting, unfortunately that is where it is the most fugitive so you pretty much have to if you want your painting to last. Might be a little extra work mixing the tint to suit your purpose but the alternatives are a good starting point.