Chemical Description: Carbazole dioxazine
Pigment Number: PV23
Lightfastness Rating: ASTM II
Pigment Opacity: Transparent
Paint Opacity: Transparent
Dioxazine is the original violet color that came out in the earliest acrylic paint ranges. It is a deep clean, and very dark violet colour that is well liked by artists. It is also known as carbazole violet, both names refer to the same pigment. It is closely related chemically to the pyrrole pigments. It is manufactured in huge quantities and its use in artists paints is only a tiny portion of its story as a color. Because it’s base dye is such a strong and staining is often used highly concentrated and in this form it looks black and is often sold labeled as black indian ink. This is especially true of the cheaper inks purchased in news agency’s and similar places In acrylics the color is formulated to create the clean violet color that is most desired by artists.
While its color is perfect, it is an ASTM II color, although that is a little misleading. Each ASTM class is a broad band and lightfastness within that band does vary depending on the color. Thus ASTM I includes pigments such as Phthalocyanine Blue which passes the test of no change, or a very imperceptible change at the 80 - 100 year range, but is not so lightfast as Yellow Oxide which will be able to last 200 plus years before any perceptible change occurs. All ASTM I colors retain the same resistance to fading whether applied full strength or in tints with white. It is in the tints that a color is most vulnerable to fading. An ASTM II color will share a similar resistance to light in full strength as an ASTM I color but will exhibit some fading in tints with white. While Dioxazine Purple is classed as ASTM II it is right at the top end of ASTM II colors and has a reputation in industry for very little fading and only then in the lightest tints. In short, Dioxazine Purple is a very lightfast pigment that can be used with confidence by the artist.
In the 21st century we are so used to a huge choice of pigment colors that we find it difficult to imagine an artists life with just a few colors available. Before the 19th century, however that was the case and there was no good violet pigments available and so all violet colors were mixtures. Despite many alternatives available these days, Dioxazine Purple has become the industry standard and is used in plastics, printing inks, floor coverings, textiles, rubbers, house paints, industrial and automotive coatings. A large portion of its use is for warming blue pigments and toning whites.
Artists have always valued the variations of violet from soft lavenders and mauves to the deep imperial purples favored by the aristocrats and royalty who were the mainstay of an artists portrait career in earlier times. It is since the Impressionists, however, that violet has grown in importance to most artists. The emphasis of the Impressionist’s on the violet colors that inhabit shadows in place of the blacks that the old masters might have used has played a significant role in making paintings in the modern era brighter and more appealing. Dioxazine Purple is the perfect starting point for these Impressionistic colours whether mixed with Ultramarine Blue for bluer violets or with Magenta Quin Violet for warmer violets, or perhaps just used from the tube for deep dark purples. Dioxazine is equally at home lightened with Magenta Light, or Permanent Light Violet, or Australian Sky Blue, remembering that it is always better to lighten with a related color than to just use Titanium White except for the lightest tints. Dioxazine is the universal purple or violet color able to make any imaginable violet color.
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