Da Vinci PV19 Comparison: Is Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone Reduplicative With Red Rose Deep?

DV Red Rose Deep (PV19), top, vs DV Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19), bottom

I chose my watercolors by slot: my favorite green-blue, my favorite black, my favorite yellow ochre… Of course, slot boundaries and malleable. Over time, I broke out reds into several categories: bright magenta/rose, bright orange-red, deep crimson, and deep scarlet. My bright orange-red (which varies between Quin Coral or Scarlet Lake) is pretty different from my deep scarlet (Deep Scarlet), so no problem there. However, when it comes to my “cool reds,” I think my bright and my dark are too similar!

My quin rose choice is Da Vinci’s Red Rose Deep, and my crimson choice is Da Vinci’s Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone. They both use the same pigment, PV19, and now that I look at them together, I’m wondering if they’re basically… essentially… the same color?

This is the problem with choosing colors one-by-one like this: as your slots become increasingly fine, you may end up with some pretty similar colors. In fact, you’re likely to, since the common denominator is you, with your same aesthetic preferences. In my case, apparently, I tend to go for lively, cheerful, deep pinks! RRD is one of the more “crimson-like” roses, and ACQ is one of the more “rose-like” crimsons.

So, are these colors reduplicative? Do I only need one, and if so, which one? Or do they actually serve different palette roles?

Hue Comparison

Although on the reddish side for a Quin Rose, RRD is firmly in the pink category. ACQ is redder (less magenta/purple-toned, a step closer to orange on the color wheel, though I’d still call it a “cool red” rather than a middle or orangey red). ACQ is a bit more muted and gets slightly darker in its masstone. They both dilute to rosy pinks, with RRD’s being closer to a cherry-blossom/bubble-gum pink and ACQ’s being a bit more of a light red.

Color Mixes

RRD makes very bright oranges, while ACQ’s are slightly more muted.

Phthalo Blue Green Shade

RRD makes bolder purples, whereas ACQ’s are more muted and closer to gray-purples.

Cerulean

RRD purples are brighter here too, concluding with a mostly-blue mix that is decidedly lilac. ACD mixes, while still purple and not an even gray, are much more muted, concluding in a mostly-blue mix that is slate-colored with pink undertones.

Phthalo Green Yellow Shade

Both make dark blacks/grays/browns. RRD’s remain slightly blue- or purple-toned, whereas ACQ’s get closer to a neutral gray.

Lightfastness Comparison

In theory these should be the same in most ways since they are the same pigment. Da Vinci gives both Lightfastness rating II.

Cost Comparison

Interestingly, despite being the same pigment, these do differ slightly in cost. DVP has priced RRD a bit higher, not sure why. ACQ is also available in an 8ml size, whereas RRD must be purchased at a minimum 15ml size.

Conclusion

Although I think of these colors as being in different “slots,” the difference between them is minimal. (I know that many people think of Alizarin Crimson as a primary cool red equivalent, so, I guess that makes sense!) They are about as different from each other as ACQ and Pyrrol Crimson are, and I considered those to be competitors for the same crimson slot. So I guess I grudgingly have to admit that RRD and ACQ are also too similar to make sense on the same palette.

However! Now that I am making multiple palettes, it doesn’t mean I need to drop one forever. I will simply use them in different palettes. For example:

  • By default, i.e. on my main palette, I think RRD is still my magenta/cool red equivalent of choice. But a separate crimson may be simply unnecessary here: between my blues, violets, and earth tones I have various options to deepen and mute the color, as well as oranges and orange-reds for pulling it more toward a middle red.
  • ACQ is great for my Autumn palette, where I don’t have another magenta/cool red option. It works in context because for autumn, it’s more important to have deep reds than pinks; ACQ unmixed is a great color for deep red maple leaves; and I don’t mind if some of my purples come out more muted. (I also have plenty of other options here for making a bold orange.)
  • ACQ could be a great crimson option for my Summer palette, where I tend to go with versions of colors that are bright and blue-toned. My primary magenta there is Quin Magenta (PR122), which is more blue-toned/purpley than RRD and therefore more different from ACQ.

Of course, you’re the boss of your palette, and there’s no law saying you can’t simply include two colors that are super-similar. But for what it’s worth, I saw a huge spike in my ACQ usage when I began using the autumn palette. Having too similar colors on a palette can lead to neglect of one – but putting a color in more of a load-bearing position within a palette can help it to really shine! Context is everything.

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