Color Spotlight: Purple Magenta (PR122)

Schmincke Horadam Purple Magenta: Gradient, opacity and glazing tests, color mixes

PR122 magenta is a bold, transparent, non-granulating primary magenta option, purple mixer, and just an all-around lovely pink-purple-fuchsia-magenta shade.

PR122 is also the pigment that gives Opera Pink its pink, which makes many people think it’s fugitive (since Opera Pink is famously fugitive), but PR122 is actually very lightfast! It’s the fluorescent pigment (BV10) in Opera Pink that’s fugitive; exposed to enough light, Opera Pink actually loses the BV10 and becomes a straight-up PR122 magenta. The PR122 part sticks around.

Experiment Results

Gradient: Not quite as smooth as other SH gradients I’ve done, but I may have overwatered it. Nice and juicy grape-juice purple in mass through a primary magenta and diluting to a pale lilac.

Opacity: 100% transparent.

Glazing: Dark crimson glaze.

What’s in a name?

Different companies refer to PR122 (non-Opera) with different names:

  • Daler Rowney: Quinacridone Magenta
  • Daniel Smith: Quinacridone Lilac
  • Holbein: Quinacridone Magenta (formerly Rose Violet)
  • MaimeriBlu: Verzino Violet
  • Mission Gold: Permanent Magenta
  • Schmincke Horadam: Purple Magenta
  • Sennelier: Quinacridone Purple
  • Winsor & Newton: Quinacridone Magenta

Although many of the companies seem to be rallying around the term “Quinacridone Magenta” for this color. Confusingly, use the terms “Quinacridone Magenta” and “Permanent Magenta” are often used to refer to different colors.

  • Daniel Smith’s and Schmincke’s Quinacridone Magenta is PR202.
  • Greenleaf & Blueberry’s Quinacridone Magenta is PV19.
  • Winsor & Newton’s Permanent Magenta is PV19.

Because the SH Purple Magenta is one of my favorite iterations of PR122 and was one of my first professional watercolor paints, so I’m using this as my baseline and I will continue to refer to PR122 mainly as ‘Purple Magenta’ around the site. I think this is less confusing than saying ‘Magenta’ or ‘Quin Magenta’ which could mean a number of things.

Comparison to Other Colors

There are so many slightly different pinks/purples/magentas that it can be hard to keep them straight! Here’s where PR122 magentas fall compared to similar colors:

  • Bluer than DS Quin Rose (PV19 pink) and SH Magenta (PV32)
  • Pinker than DS Quin Violet/WN Permanent Magenta (PV19 purple)
  • Much pinker than Quin Purple (PV55)
  • Similar hue, but bright/bolder than DS Quin Magenta (PR202)
Left to right: DS Quin Rose (PV19 pink); SH Purple Magenta (PR122); WN Permanent Magenta (PV19 purple); SH Quin Purple (PV55)

Comparison to Other Brands

Holbein – Quinacridone Magenta

Holbein – Quinacridone Magenta (PR122)

A very similar color to Schmincke’s, but I found it easier to get a nice deep dark masstone without overdiluting.

Color Mixes

Lemon Yellow

Lemon Yellow + Purple Magenta
Winsor Lemon (PY175) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

Variety of bold reds and oranges!

Rich Green Gold

Rich Green Gold + Purple Magenta
DV Green Gold (PY129) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

I dunno, some yellowy browns? This is not a great combo

Monte Amiata Natural Sienna

Monte Amiata Natural Sienna + Purple Magenta
DS Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

Variety of peaches and cranberries

Deep Scarlet

Deep Scarlet + Purple Magenta
DS Deep Scarlet (PR175) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

Bold crimsons!

Transparent Pyrrol Orange

Transparent Pyrrol Orange + Purple Magenta
DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange (PO71) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

This combination makes a variety of reds and red-oranges!

Indanthrone Blue

Purple Magenta + Indanthrone Blue
SH Purple Magenta (PR122) + DS Indanthrone Blue (PB60) on Arches

Lovely deep, deep, dark purples.

Ultramarine Blue

Ultramarine Blue + Purple Magenta
Holbein Ultramarine Deep (PB29) + Schmincke Horadam Purple Magenta (PR122) in an Etchr Perfect Sketchbook

This is my favorite mix for really bold, vivid purples.

Cobalt Blue

Cobalt Blue + Purple Magenta
DV Cobalt Blue (PB28) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)

Purple Magenta + Phthalo Blue
SH Purple Magenta (PR122) + Holbein Phthalo Blue Yellow Shade (PB15:3) on Arches

These purples are also very bold, despite the green shade of Phthalo Blue being so green-toned.

Cobalt Turquoise

Purple Magenta + Cobalt Turquoise
SH Purple Magenta (PR122) + SH Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) on Arches

These all stay pretty light-value due to the light-value opaque Cobalt Turquoise, and there’s visible turquoise granulation floating above. I like the lilac color best.


Purple Magenta + Viridian
SH Purple Magenta (PR122) + WN Viridian (PG18) on Arches

Grayish-purples or gray-greens. These mute each other, but never quite reach middle gray.

What Others Say

TOP 40 PIGMENT… PR122 is my preference for the “primary” magenta paint for color point 5 of the color wheel. It has a marvelous mixing range, producing the brightest possible mixed violets from red blues such as ultramarine or cobalt blue; deep dark blues and violets with phthalo blues; iridescent purplish grays with cobalt turquoise; deep, sturdy blacks with phthalo green; and interesting, transparent botanical browns and dull yellows in mixtures with yellow, green golds or yellow greens such as sap green.Substitutions. The main alternatives are quinacridone rose (PV19), a redder color that produces slightly less saturated violets and more saturated warm mixtures; and quinacridone violet (PV19), whose dark but saturated tones produce some lustrous dusky violets and very interesting browns and maroons with other warm colors. However quinacridone rose, assigned an “excellent” (I) lightfastness by the ASTM, was variable across manufacturers in my own tests, and some brands were clearly less lightfast than PR122.

Bruce MacEvoy,

My favourite of the PR122 range was Purple Magenta, Schmincke, as it was nice and strong and painted out well. … Winsor and Newton [is also] a great colour. The only downside for me is that I find the magenta colour less useful unmixed than a rose, which is why I ended up using Quin rose in my palette.

Jane Blundell, Watercolor Comparisons: Primary Red

My Review

I love this color. I just love the basic unmixed hue of it as well as its gloriously large range and superbly versatile mixing capability. True to the promise of a primary magenta, it can mix mix a range of reds, oranges, and of course, the most gorgeous purples I’ve ever seen! I would rather have Purple Magenta as a ‘purple mixer’ than any premixed or single pigment purple, since my PR122 purples are always wonderfully clean and vivid, more so than any purple paint I’ve tried.

The big issue is whether to have this as my primary magenta or Quin Rose (PV19). They serve the same palette role. I am so into both of them that I have both, but I find it a bit ridiculous.

On my palette? Yes.

Favorite version: Holbein is my new favorite, though I originally fell in love with the Schmincke version (and I find it more usable than other Schmincke colors). MacEvoy notes in his extended review (linked above) that these are both bluer versions than the Winsor & Newton or MaimeriBlu offerings, which I haven’t tried.

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