Perylene Maroon sits somewhere between crimson and earth red, a deep red with a brownish cast; sort of brick-colored. It’s useful to deepen scarlets and mute greens and blues to make more realistic landscape tones. I became interested in Perylene Maroon after watching Denise from In Liquid Color paint a pigeon using shades of gray from a mix of Perylene Maroon and Cerulean.
Hue: A dull, bricky red. All the versions of this pigment that I tried dried with tiny, white dots/gaps – I think this is a characteristic of the pigment.
Drying Shift: There was a big drying shift. The color was much darker and more vibrant before it dried. The tiny dots might have something to do with this since they appeared during the drying.
Gradient: Easy and pleasurable to grade but I didn’t love the result as much as I enjoyed the experience. The wash seemed to get stuck and created a big “step” instead of an even gradient. Color moved quickly when wet (too quickly – creating horizontal lines seen above). It handled like an opaque pigment even though it is not opaque. (These issues are all unique to DV, as far as I can tell. Other versions handled differently; see comparison below.)
Glazing: Glazes to a deep brown.
Salt: Nice salt reaction with plenty of texture.
Blooms: Complex blooms with dark halos.
Compared to Other Brands
PR179 is one of those pigments that can have different personalities depending on the brand.
Multiple Brand Comparison
I became a patron of Oto Kano, and dot card comparing multiple versions of Perylene Maroon was one of my rewards. Here’s Oto Kano’s comparison of these colors.
Here are my quick impressions:
- Daniel Smith: muted, high tinting strength, difficult to grade/streaky
- Holbein: orangey, granulating, moderate tinting strength
- Schmincke: incredibly smooth, easy to grade, significant drying shift (painted out bright red); Da Vinci is most similar to this one
- Winsor & Newton: moderate tinting strength, granulating, slightly more muted than Holbein
- Mission Gold: high tinting strength, deep masstone, reasonable gradient and pleasant hue
- Daler Rowney: very orangey, bolder than others, moderate tinting strength
- White Nights: low tint, granulating, similar to WN
- Winsor & Newton Designers’ Gouache: Bold, most reddish, not as muted or as dark in the masstone as the watercolor version. I really like this hue.
Of the ones on this page, my favorite hue is Daler Rowney; my favorite all-arounder is Mission Gold; and I also really like the WN gouache.
Here’s a closer look at the ones I’ve individually tried.
Daler Rowney Artist – Perylene Red (PR179)
Similar handling to Da Vinci Perylene Maroon, but less brownish/orangeish; more of a crimson color, similar to Pyrrol Crimson or Sanguine Red. Less pinky than Alizarin Crimson. I found this a bit dull as a red, but a possible choice if you’re looking for a real side-of-a-barn color and you love the handling of Perylene Maroon.
Very striking black with Holbein Shadow Green (Perylene Green PBk31)! Also neutralizes Phthalo Green to a middle gray.
Daler Rowney Artist – Perylene Maroon (PR179)
To me, this one looks and handles a lot more like Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet. It’s slightly less orange than QBS, but much more orange than Da Vinci’s Perylene Maroon, and handles a lot more like the transparent pigments I’m used to: more of a smooth gradient, less of a fast mover. Tinting strength is slightly weak but I felt I was able to get more range out of it than QBS.
I really like the mixes, which I find surprisingly bright and cheery for a fairly muted color. It created a passable fire engine red with Quinacridone Coral and made a nice range of earth oranges from my various earth tones. It also makes nice grays; it totally neturalizes my Phthalo and Cobalt Blues to neutral grays. Interestingly, unlike the other Perylene Maroons here, it turned Shadow Green (Perylene Green) and Jadeite into bright browns instead of blacks!
I really liked this color, though I did find its texture in the palette a bit off-putting; even when fully dry and solid, it remained quite sticky and tacky.
Here’s the side-by-side comparison of the two Daler Rowney PR179s:
Mission Gold – Perylene Maroon
I got this on the strength of the Oto Kano dot card, and I’m not disappointed! Although there is still a drying shift, the color is much deeper than other versions I’ve tried, the hue is nicely balanced between scarlet and brick red, and it has fewer white dots than most brands. I feel like I finally understand what’s good about Perylene Maroon.
Winsor & Newton – Perylene Maroon
Similar to the DRA version, particularly in its orangey undertones, but slightly more muted with slightly less range. Texturally, I prefer this one to DRA, as it is less sticky, but I think it’s lower tinting strength.
These color mixes show the Daler Rowney Artist – Perylene Maroon formulation.
Rich Green Gold
This green-toned gold mixes up a range of glowing orangey shades, including a gold that looks to me like Quin Gold.
PV19 rose pinks are on the purpler side of red and Perylene Maroon is on the oranger side. Combined, they make true crimson reds. The mixes tilted toward PV19 look more like Alizarin Crimson with a pinkish bias, especially in dilute. Mixes tilted more toward Perylene Maroon fade abruptly to “light red” rather than pink, and to me resemble something like Pyrrol Crimson.
The orange-toned earthy red of the DR Perylene Maroon both dulls the Ultramarine and makes it purpler, for very dull purples. With more Perylene Maroon, it creates a reddish-brown.
A range of granulating soft red-browns, purpley grays and muted blues. I love all of these for muted, atmospheric colors. Similar to the Ultramarine mixes, but I like these better – they’re more varied.
Cerulean Blue (PB36)
Similar to the Cobalt mixes, but even more granulating, softer and never getting dark. Personally, I think the Cobalt mixes are more useful because of their greater range.
Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PG15:3)
A brighter, bolder and wider range of colors than the Cobalt or Cerulean (and not granulating), from a muted pink-peach to rich brown to medium gray to blue-grays to muted sea blue. This is one of those ranges I think would be really useful for a lot of different situations, including portraiture and seascapes.
The Viridian mutes the Perylene Maroon to a range of baked bean colors through grayish brown. I found it hard to get a greeny mix because Perylene Maroon is so much stronger than Viridian.
What Others Say
This colors excels at making flesh tones, muted secondaries, and dark tones, but you don’t want to use this color for applications like trying to make bright oranges or purples… This pigment goes through a massive drying shift… I also noticed a lot of white speckles showing through the paper.Denise Soden, Color Spotlight: Perylene Maroon
Perylene Maroon is a beautifully rich, warm red that softens rather dramatically when it dries, and it’s a great color for everything from landscapes to lips. It’s also a stable mixer; combined with Phthalo Green (PG7), it produces a gorgeous range of darks, or try it with Raw Sienna (PBr7) to gain a lovely earth orange.Tonya @ Scratchmade Journal, Watercolor Comparison: The Color Red
I also use it quite a lot for foliage, especially in autumn. I am actually looking at some rose foliage right now that has this exact red shade in the young shoots.Sandrine Maugy, Pigment Spotlight – The Perylene Family
For those who are still using alizarin crimson (PR83), I recommend you try perylene maroon as a replacement. It has a dark, warm, dull color without the bluish overtones common to all red and crimson quinacridone pigments. (Replacing alizarin crimson requires you to rethink the mixtures you used to make with it: the flesh tones, dull greens and dark mixtures possible with alizarin crimson are nicely handled by perylene maroon; the intense orange and violet mixtures you couldn’t quite mix with it are much better with a quinacridone rose PV19 or quinacridone magenta PR122.) Its mixing complements include phthalo green BS (PG7), which produces a pure jet black darker than most carbon pigment paints.Bruce MacEvoy, handprint.com
There’s probably only one place on the internet where the recommendation is to avoid Alizarin Crimson. EVERYONE still uses it, well, at least they say they do. But Bruce McEvoy of Handprint recommends giving Perry (my pet name for this pigment) a try and I’m so glad I did. It’s quite simply luscious. If you need red velvet curtains? Ask Perry. If you need the blackest black you can ever make, introduce Perry to Pthalo Green. It’s not an everyday pigment for me in the book illustration work that I do, but for landscapes, it’s a delight to work with.Matt Shanks, My core colour palette: eleven pigments that have earned my trust
Perylene Maroon is so different depending on the exact formulation! And different ones serve different roles in your palette. More reddish formulations, such as Daler Rowney Perylene Red, may be better for neutralizing greens, but the one I like is the more orangey formulation, such as Daler Rowney’s Perylene Maroon. (That’s the one I showed in the color mixes above.) It neutralizes blues and mixes up wonderful browns.
On my palette? Yes! I’m trying it out on my palette again.
Favorite version: Mission Gold, by far!