Friday, May 25, 2012

New Color? It's all in a name!

When I recently shopped online for more tubes of paint, I discovered a color made by Schmincke Mussini called "Caesar Purple".   It sounded interesting and unlike anything I had, so I ordered a tube since it was on sale.

Caesar Purple

(FYI:  My background is in the technical and scientific community.  I have always loved research, number crunching, and discovering what the foundation of a product is.)

Apparently, Caesar Purple was nothing new to my palette. According to the ASTM label, the color index name is PV-19, or Quinacridone Violet.  I purchased this online, and this information was not provided on the website.  If it had been, it's unlikely I would have ordered it.

It turns out that I already had FOUR tubes of paint with the PV-19 designation:  Gamblin's Radiant Magenta (which is mixed with Titanium White), Gamblin's Quinacridone Red, Grumbacher's Thalo Red Rose; and Winsor Newton's Permanent Rose.  And there probably are duplicates of these lurking in the studio somewhere...

Silly me!  I was charmed by the name of the product, and it's obvious that I love this color.  Why else would I now have FIVE tubes of it?

To compare the different brands, I charted them out.

Color Chart
Various Brands of Tube Paint Pigment PV-19
It's obvious that four of the rows match up (the bottom row, Radiant Magenta, has that white premixed with it).  But, wait a minute!  Caesar Purple (the middle) looks very different from the other tubes of PV-19.  It has a lot more blue to it.  What is going on here?  Has it been mislabeled by the manufacturer?  What aren't they telling me? An investigation into this anomaly has begun, and I will revisit this in a future post.

Even though it is labeled with the same color index name, it looks like Caesar Purple really is something new to my collection.

PV-19 is a useful color for me, working its way into the background shadows, tempering the brightness from yellows and yellow-greens.

And, I guess I'd better use up my current supply before I order any more.

Which brings me to my next point:  Manufacturers' Labels

Most of the manufacturers do provide the ASTM color index names on their paint tubes, which allows you, the artist, to see what pigment you are really getting.  Try to ignore the fancy names (NOT what I did!), and stick to the numbering system.  More information about this can be found in Michael Wilcox's excellent reference books on color - information available on the website at, where you can purchase all sorts of terrific reference materials, as well as his signature paints.

And, yes, there are some manufacturers out there who do not identify their colors with the color index names printed on the paint tubes.  Even though I occasionally buy a color on a whim (Caesar Purple, anyone?), I prefer to know what I really am buying.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Preliminary Gamblin Paint Review

I like the new Gamblin "radiant" colors so much that I ordered the rest of the radiant palette.  They arrived last week (along with a few other colors I needed to refill). So here is the complete Radiant color palette from Gamblin:

I've been going through the Gamblin paints website and have found that there is some very good information for oil painters.  I've marked it as one of my favorite sites, so that I can return to it quickly in the future.

Getting new materials for painting is always an exciting adventure for me.  These paints are great, with a smooth buttery texture that I love.  They are made of quality pigments (referencing the Wilcox ratings), so permanence is assured.  These have a luminosity of "7" and, so, are good for the higher key portions of a painting, or a way to introduce light into darker passages.  The Gamblin "Radiants" have found their way onto my palette.

Radiant Smiley Face C: