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YKA
12-23-2010, 06:35 AM
Does anyone know a simple reliable way to get a hue as near as possible to Mars Violet (sometimes known as Caput Mortuum, too) by mixing 2 or 3 other common colours?
And this in Gouache.

Mars Violet is a great colour. It is so useful in Illustration (The shadows of Norman Rockwell) and in classical painting (Rembrandt, etc...). O.K., those were oils, but the pigment and the role in mixing is the same.
The pigment handles extraordinarily smoothly, subtly, strongly but delicately in all media I know: Oil, gouache, Acrylic, Watercolour.
It's a pleasure on the Brush, too.

So, I can't figure why colour companies stopped producing it, but it's become very hard to find, if at all.

I'm aware that mixing up an alternative won't give us the handling superior qualities of the original pigment, but still it would be a very big help.

Thanks,
Yves

dbclemons
12-23-2010, 11:09 AM
...So, I can't figure why colour companies stopped producing it, but it's become very hard to find, if at all...

This is one of the reasons I recommend sometimes making your own gouache. PR101 is the color index for what most manufacturers use for "mars violet" but often looks more like burnt sienna. W&N's mars voilet gouache is closer to true caput mortum. Natural Pigments sells a PR102 pigment (violet hematite (http://naturalpigments.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=450-32S)) that makes a nice dark, warm violet.

As a mix I might try burnt sienna (PBr7) and quinacridone violet (PV19). Others to consider would be burnt umber, quin. violet, and maybe ivory black.

Caroline Trippe
03-26-2011, 01:38 PM
Hello, Yves, I'm new to this forum, and have just seen your post, so my apologies if you've already received some other satisfactory answers, but I encountered the same problem---finding Mars Violet---when I started painting in acrylic and casein. I've not painted in gouache, but I imagine that casein is similar enough to gouache. Mars Violet is also called Violet Oxide---which is how I found it, finally, in acrylic. But I could not find it in casein, although presumably you can mix it from dried pigment and casein emulsion. But that won't solve your gouache problem. I loved MV for underpainting backgrounds.

To obtain a similar hue, I've mixed Ultramarine Blue, Venetian Red, and Titanium White. You would have to determine the proportions. This mixture produces a plummy, grayed violet, warmer or cooler depending on how much VR or UB you mix. You can darken it by adding a touch of black. In oils I loved Mars Violet for underpainting background and skies, then painting over with cerulean and glazing with UB, for very deep twilight blues. I have also wondered why it can be so difficult to find now, as it is such a wonderful color.

Also try cerulean blue plus venetian red plus titanium white for a muted violet. This is also a good shadow hue---for flesh tones, etc., as a glaze. Venetian Red is Red Oxide, and not so far off from Violet Oxide---just cooler. It also serves well for underpainting blue or black backgrounds.

YKA
03-28-2011, 11:09 AM
Hello Caroline and welcome to Gouache painters. Thanks a lot for your long and detailed answer. Thanks you, too, David. These are great very useful suggestions which make lots of sense. And I can't wait to be through with the finishing technical touches of my new comic-book, to get back to my real physical Gouache colour palette and try all those new possible mixes.
I'm glad to hear you find Mars Violet as useful and nice to work with as I do, because I can't grasp that good and very good artists' colour companies have dropped it from their programs.
In the meantime I found out that the German Lukas company still offers it in Gouache under the name Caput Mortuum Deep. I live in Germany but I've never worked with their Gouache yet. So I'll have to obtain it, test it some and get back to this thread with my results and appreciations, in a little while.
Yves

YKA
03-28-2011, 11:09 AM
Hello Caroline and welcome to Gouache painters. Thanks a lot for your long and detailed answer. Thanks you, too, David. These are great very useful suggestions which make lots of sense. And I can't wait to be through with the finishing technical touches of my new comic-book, to get back to my real physical Gouache colour palette and try all those new possible mixes.
I'm glad to hear you find Mars Violet as useful and nice to work with as I do, because I can't grasp that good and very good artists' colour companies have dropped it from their programs.
In the meantime I found out that the German Lukas company still offers it in Gouache under the name Caput Mortuum Deep. I live in Germany but I've never worked with their Gouache yet. So I'll have to obtain it, test it some and get back to this thread with my results and appreciations, in a little while.
Yves

Caroline Trippe
03-28-2011, 01:56 PM
Caput Mortuum---that's good to know, Yves. (Dead Head?) :) I'll remember that. The range of colors in casein is somewhat limited, maybe more so than gouache, although so far I've found what I need, or figured out how to mix something close.
Sometimes when you have to punt, you make a happy discovery. When I couldn't find Venetian Red (red oxide) in acrylic at first, because I didn't know what else it was called, I realized I'd have to come up with another mixture for flesh tones. (I'd been relying a lot of VR with viridian and ochre). So, what I tried was a mixture of (believe it or not) cadmium orange, dioxazine purple & titanium white; a touch of ochre is useful too. If you first mix the orange with just enough purple (DP is a very powerful tint) to give you a nice brown tone, then you can add white or ochre to "taste." Well, it works, and now I use it often for flesh tones when I want less of a reddish tone. Nice for shadows on flesh too, and you can glaze with a touch of Venetian red, or cadmium red to warm it up.
Oh, and BTW, Yves--VERY cool comic strip! :cool::cool:

YKA
03-29-2011, 03:59 AM
More great suggestions! Thanks a lot, Caroline.
Sorry for having posted two times the same message. I tried to delete one of the doubles, I could edit it, but didn't find a way to erase it off totally.
Casein must be great to work with. It sounds very exciting.
I use the same pigments in Gouache as you do in Casein for the same use, too. Thanks for the detailed tips, though, it's much more thought out than my instinctive-trial-and-error approach. Great!

YKA
03-29-2011, 04:12 AM
Caput Mortuum means something in the lines of "Dead Head". Some writers wrongly assumed it was referring to the color of corpses' heads' skin in the Middle-Ages, but actually the Romans already called this pigment like this because of the colour and chemical composition of rusty heads of nails.
It's sometime called Cardinal Purple in some colour supplyers' catalogues, and I think, in the Wikipedia colour catalog, too.

Caroline Trippe
03-29-2011, 09:44 AM
my instinctive-trial-and-error approach.

Actually, Yves, "trial and error" is really the way I go about color mixing too. It helps to know a little about color theory and about pigments, as every pigment will produce a different result mixed with another---and there are some surprises-- but the basic "rules" are easy enough. Complements on the color wheel produce grays when mixed, but of course there are a gazillion different "colorful" grays you can mix in actual practice. It's fun.

For flesh tones, any two or three pigments that produce a brownish hue in a mixture will work. I like to experiment now and then--especially with layering colors. So when I get something that works, I make note of it. Years ago I found, in a used book shop, a book by Wendon Blake called "Creative Color: A Practical Guide for Oil Painters." He describes all the pigments (at least the ones available when he wrote the book) and what they yield when mixed with white and black or with other pigments He suggests you make little mixing charts, and although I'm not one for exercises, I found these to be fun and useful. And pigments are pigments, so these would work for any paint. Color is so important, because it's a big part of the emotional content of one's work! :) As you well know!

wingedbear
03-29-2011, 11:52 AM
the mars violet that i'm familiar with (acrylics) is PR101 - Red Iron Oxide.

though i'm not that familiar with gouache, PR101 might be available in gouache under another name, though be forewarned, PR101 can range widely in value, so look for a darker version.

burnt sienna might be a good substitute, either alone, or adjusted with raw or burnt umber.

hope this is helpful.... ;)

Caroline Trippe
03-29-2011, 02:02 PM
burnt sienna might be a good substitute, either alone, or adjusted with raw or burnt umber.

I knew that Venetian Red is sold as Red Oxide, but didn't know that Red Iron Oxide is another name for Mars Violet. Good to know. Anyway, MV doesn't seem to be available in casein tube colors anyway, under any name.

I would say that burnt sienna by itself is a little too red-brown to substitute for a true Mars Violet, but a very beautiful , rich, regal red-purple hue can be obtained by mixing burnt sienna with dioxazine purple---don't know if that's what they call it in gouache. In caseins it' s Shiva Violet. IMO the closest substitute for MV would be Venetian Red (Red Oxide), also an earth color of the same family, with Ultramarine Blue Deep. But there's always room for experimentation.

In casein, there is this pigment called halftone black--a "transparent" black that is useful for glazing other colors to tone them down or change the value. Over burnt sienna, as a glaze, it produces a rich purple also. Maybe there's something similar in gouache?

Artist_by_Accident
03-31-2011, 07:59 AM
I found this link (http://www.naturalpigments.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=450-32S) that offers some help - at least the pigment and a bit of explanation.

JeffG
04-01-2011, 09:34 AM
Yves:

Kremer Pigments in Germany carries a line of watercolors, and they have "caput mortem reddish":

http://www.kremerpigments.com/shopus/index.php?cat=0901&lang=ENG&product=487008

Since it's such an opaque pigment, I'd think the watercolor might work well as gouache. They also carry several varieties of the pigment as well:

http://www.kremerpigments.com/shopus/index.php?lang=ENG&view=SearchResult

MichaelFraley
04-01-2011, 04:12 PM
Caput Mortuum means something in the lines of "Dead Head". Some writers wrongly assumed it was referring to the color of corpses' heads' skin in the Middle-Ages, but actually the Romans already called this pigment like this because of the colour and chemical composition of rusty heads of nails.
It's sometime called Cardinal Purple in some colour supplyers' catalogues, and I think, in the Wikipedia colour catalog, too.

From what I understand, Caput Mortuum is a phrase borrowed from alchemy, and involves the waste products left over from various alchemical processes (which most likely involved various oxides, etc.). "Dead Head" strikes me almost as a slang term. Perhaps we might call it "Junk," regardless of how nice the colour might be. I first encountered the paint via the Lukas company, and had never heard it called that before.

= Michael

Gwen Solvaag
06-11-2016, 05:23 PM
My favorite color also! To me it's the perfect complement for landscapes.

I've made caput mortuum violet gouache paint using PR254 (pyrrole red) and PB15:1 (phthalo blue). You can vary the proportions to get the shade you are looking for. I used Blockx pigments, but others should do as well.

Gwen

MagdaleneL
09-21-2016, 05:15 AM
I've made a quite good caput mortuum by mixing burnt umber and violet.