Color Spotlight: Dioxazine Violet (PV23)

Da Vinci Violet (PV23)

This single-pigment purple made from PV23 is sometimes called Dioxazine Violet.

An extremely staining blue-toned violet that gets very, very dark!

Experiment Results

Hue: An inky, night-sky blue-violet that is easy to get very dark. In fact, it is is difficult not to get it dark. Extremely dark, near black, in masstone and grades through every tone of medium purple through to a pale wisteria. A bit of a drying shift; not quite as bright as it painted out.

Gradient: Very smooth, though again difficult to keep the masstone from taking over.

Granulation: Alone, this looks non-granulating, but in the mixes (especially the dilute mixes below), you can see some moderate granulation.

Transparency: Transparent.

Glazing: Glazes to its near-black masstone.

Texture: Very sticky when dried and re-wet.

Comparison to Other Brands

Daniel Smith – Carbazole Violet

Daniel Smith – Carbazole Violet

Daniel Smith’s Carbazole Violet is the first PV23 I started with, so it’s the basis of a lot of my comparisons. But it took me awhile to figure out that it’s relatively dull, color-wise. Notice in the comparison below, that Da Vinci’s is a brighter hue.

DV Da Vinci Violet vs DS Carbazole Violet

Daniel Smith’s color has a gray undertone, especially noticeable in dilute, which always throws me when I’m expecting to make bright purples. (This single-pigment purple is actually much duller than a combo of magenta and ultramarine!) This might be a plus for you if you’re looking for a more muted shadow color, but it’s not the right purple for a bold Neon Palette.

Other observations:

  • Compared to DVV, I found the DS Carbazole Violet harder to grade evenly.
  • DS Carbazole Violet remains matte in masstone, where DVV (like many DV colors) tends to go shiny.
  • DS Carbazole Violet has a better dry consistency – it became hard but not difficult to rewet – whereas DVV remained sticky in my palette.

Holbein – Permanent Violet

Daniel Smith Carbazole Violet vs. Holbein Permanent Violet (PV23)

The Holbein version of PV23 is much brighter than Daniel Smith’s, but much harder to work with. It dries hard and doesn’t rewet well, and it was strangely difficult to get a juicy color, which is unusual for PV23. I simply didn’t enjoy working with it.

Qor – Dioxazine Violet

Qor – Dioxazine Violet (PV23)

Qor’s colors tend to be very strong and this Diox Violet was the strongest one I’ve ever tried. Since Diox Violet already tends to border on being unpleasantly strong, this extra-strong version of it was simply too much for me. Seriously, a one stroke swipe on dry paint got me that super-dark near-black color in the masstone and one the bottom bar (where I typically don’t try to get masstone – just a juicy color). It was really difficult not to get masstone and I had to add an extra step to dilute the paint in my palette in order to get a more reasonable color for it. It’s like trying to drink juice concentrate.

Schmincke Horadam – Schmincke Violet (PV23)

Schmincke Horadam – Schmincke Violet (PV23)

I like the hue of this, which is a bit brighter than the Da Vinci version that is my baseline. It is not quite as strong, which I think is a boon for Dioxazine Violet because it can tend to be so overwhelmingly strong. This one is easier to mix with other colors. My problem with it is textural; I found the dry and rewet paint to be very sticky. This is also true of the Da Vinci one.

In terms of hue, this is probably my favorite PV23, but I still find it texturally unpleasant enough that I’m not rushing to use it.

Winsor & Newton – Winsor Violet

Winsor & Newton – Winsor Violet (PV23)

The world’s most middle-of-the-road Dioxazine Violet. Not as dull as Daniel Smith, nor as bright as Schmincke; not as dark as Qor or Da Vinci nor as weak as Holbein. Texturally, it’s less hard than Daniel Smith, but not as sticky as Schmincke or Da Vinci, meaning that I am willing to use it. This is my goldlilocks PV23. I’m not over the moon about the hue but I’m not avoiding it.

Comparison to Other Colors

Perylene Violet

Daniel Smith Carbazole Violet (PV23) vs Daniel Smith Perylene Violet (PV29) on Canson XL

Much bluer than Perylene Violet.

Mission Gold – Bright Clear Violet

Mission Gold – Bright Clear Violet

A semi-granulating blue-violet that’s a similar hue to Dioxazine Violet, but doesn’t use the PV23 pigment; instead, it’s mix made from PV3:2 (a Methyl Violet pigment), PB29 (Ultramarine), and PR122 (Quinacridone Magenta).

Color Mixes

Winsor Yellow

Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + WN Winsor Yellow (PY154) on Canson XL

Close to a complement, so the mixes get greyish, but I find these to be awkward, ugly tan-grays that are hard to balance and never look great.

Rich Green Gold

Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + DS Rich Green Gold (PY129) on Canson XL

Sort of a Raw Umber-ish brown in the highest strength.

Monte Amiata Natural Sienna

Da VInci Violet (PV23) + DS Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7) on Canson XL

Better! These mixes remind me of sandstone in shadow. A diluted MANS-tilted mix is a reasonable beach sand color, if you don’t want to mess with Buff Titanium.

Yellow Orange

DV Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + Holbein Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (PY110) on Canson XL

I also find these mixes sort of awkward and muddy, though I can see the violet being used for a shadow color cast over the orange.

Transparent Pyrrol Orange

Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange (PO71) on Canson XL

An awkward set of browns, not my favorite.

Burnt Sienna Deep ⭐

DV Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + DV Burnt Sienna Deep (PR101) on Canson XL

You can get a wonderfully balanced brown from this mix! The violet cuts the orangeyness of the Burnt Sienna Deep.

Quinacridone Coral

DV Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + DS Quin Coral (PR209) on Canson XL

Generally these mixes puzzle me. QC can make nice purples, but it seems to work better with blues than with the purple. Still, the diluted lavenders are kind of interesting! It’s just the masstone mixes that kind of look ugly to me.

Deep Scarlet ⭐

Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + DS Deep Scarlet (PR175) on Canson XL

The violet is effective at deepening the scarlet to a dark crimson. The mostly-violet mix looks like a reasonable Perylene Violet hue to me.

Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone ⭐

DV Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + DV Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19) on Canson XL

I really like these deep, super-darker purples, magentas, and dark crimsons in masstone. A bit of violet can make the ACQ incredibly dark.

Quinacridone Magenta ⭐

DV Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + Holbein Quinacridone Magenta (PR122) on Canson XL

A bold, Lisa Frank-esque combination! Had some overdilution problems with the mixes due to my own use of a too-large brush, but I can see this being really fun for fantasy cotton candy cloudscapes.

Ultramarine Blue

Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + HO Ultramarine Deep (PB29) on Canson XL

Textured blue-violets with granulation floating over a periwinkle background. I though this mix might be similar to Ultramarine Violet or WN Smalt, although I don’t have those colors so I can’t compare!

Indanthrone Blue ⭐

DV Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + DS Indanthrone Blue (PB60) on Canson XL

Extremely dark, near-black blue-blacks, perfect for extremely dark night skies. Way darker than you can get with either color alone, even though both are really dark.

Cerulean Blue Genuine

Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + DV Cerulean Blue Genuine (PB36) on Canson XL

Textured muted light blue/periwinkle mixes, not my favorite (the Cobalt Turquoise mix does something similar with more magic).

Prussian Blue

Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + DV Prussian Blue (PB27) on Canson XL

Muted midnight blues.

Phthalo Turquoise ⭐

DS Carbazole Violet (PV23) + Holbein Marine Blue (PB16) on Wonder Forest paper

My favorite “magic” from this mix is how they combine to form a very dark, middle blue similar to WN/DV Indanthrene. You can also get very nice deep violet blues.

Cobalt Turquoise ⭐

Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + SH Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) on Canson XL

The floating turquoise granulation gives a certain glow to this light periwinkle mix.

Phthalo Green (Blue Shade)

Da Vinci Violet (PV23) + DV Phthalo Green (PG7) on Canson XL

Purple + green = blue?! Lee Angold has an explanation of why you can mix a “primary” color, like blue, from two secondaries.

I could see some of these blues being used for an offbeat, muted blue sky – e.g. at twilight, contrasted with brighter sunset colors.

What Others Say

The Daniel Smith carbazole violet is very dark and concentrated, producing a slightly grayed violet in tints, perfect for rendering shadows, and it appeared to be among the most lightfast paints… PV23 is a good choice for color point 6 [blue-violet] on the color wheel, is useful for reducing the saturation of paints on both the warm and cool sides of the color wheel, and produces potent dark shades when mixed with the likes of phthalo green (PG7) or quinacridone violet (PV19). It is probably too strident or strongly tinting to make an effective shadow color, and I feel it is untrustworthy in tints.

Bruce MacEvoy, (2004)

As a leading role I think it is too extreme and staining, but where you desire transparency and nuance, this is just the paint to rely on.  I think [dioxazine] purple mixtures lend the most effective results when mixed strait into other strait pigments, creating visually interesting and deep colors that support a painting in the dark passages.

Elizabeth Floyd, Favorite Paint Mixtures: Dioxazine Purple (2013)

My Review of Dioxazine Violet

Dioxazine Violet is a staining color, and it’s super high chroma. Like, it’s the strongest color I’ve ever tried, including Phthalos. It quickly overwhelms mixes, so it’s best used in a palette with other high-chroma colors. Even then, use sparingly – you probably only need to swipe your brush once here!

This is a “love it or hate it” color. Personally, I love and hate it. It’s obnoxiously extra, yet not as vivid as I want it to be. (Personally, I think the mix of magenta and ultramarine is a prettier purple.) It’s a diva that wants to be the #1 color in all its mixes.

But if you can tamp it down, it’s actually a wonderful supporting player. It deepens indigos and night sky blues. It brings a lovely richness and mystery to shadowy violet grays. It brings out this wonderful brightness in browns. Seriously, every earth tone I mixed it with turned into a wonderful rich velvety chocolate color.

This paint is like a character actor who wants to be a star. Let it take over, and it’ll chew the scenery. You have to do some work to convince it to stay in the background, where it will thrive.

If you want dark, dark, dark colors even from dry paint, this is a good one to include in your palette, since it doesn’t need to be straight from the tube to get its darkest tone. (I used dry paint in all the demos above!) While I typically use Indanthrone Blue as my dark value-setter, Diox Violet is a good alternative, and makes more pleasant dark tones for magentas and reds.

On my palette? Experimenting with it on my Neon Palette, but not enough of a favorite for my main.

Favorite version: Winsor & Newton is my goldilocks DV. I like the hue of Schmincke best, but both Schmincke and DV have a sticky consistency that I find unpleasant. I like the texture of DS the best, but the hue is quite muted compared to the other options. WN is just fine in all categories.

Alternatives: For a vibrant violet color, mix magenta or quin rose and ultramarine blue. For a single-pigment dark shadow color in the violety blue range, I prefer DS Indanthrone Blue (PB60). For the unique fantasy magic of purple, I like the granulating Ultramarine Violet (PV15).