Color Spotlight: Moonglow

Daniel Smith – Moonglow

A granulating gray-purple made from a mix of Viridian (PG18), Ultramarine (PB29), and Anthraquinoid Red (PR177). This is one of those colors that super appeals to people who like granulation. It is not a straightforward, boring gray; it’s interesting. It settles and blooms in odd ways, with the green and blue sometimes granulating away from the pale red in the background.

Daniel Smith calls this color lightfast, but Kim Crick’s experiments show that it is not. The weak link is the PR177 red, which fades over time leaving only the remaining colors, so it turns blue-green instead of purple-gray. Luckily for Moonglow fans, the red is the easiest one to replace, since it’s non-granulating and not a key part of the texture. So you could make your own with Ultramarine, Viridian, and any other lightfast red, such as Pyrrol Red or Permanent Red.

I don’t have Viridian, and Phthalo Green doesn’t work for the texture as it is nongranulating, so I experimented with other ways of creating a lookalike. In the end, I wasn’t able to make an exact match, but I did come up with something semi-similar using Daniel Smith’s Sodalite Genuine + Pyrrol Red (PR254). Various other mixes of red + granulating blue/green may be possible. It’s a fun exercise that I encourage you to try!

Comparison to Other Colors

Daniel Smith – Shadow Violet

Moonglow (left) vs Shadow Violet (right)

The nearest comparison is to Daniel Smith’s Shadow Violet, which is the exact same pigment mix except with the PR177 red replaced with PO73 orange. Legend has it this was due to a mix-up in the factory but they liked the resulting color so much, they added it to their lineup!

The color is “warmer” (yellower), so it’s less blue-violet and more brown-violet, which, depending on your perspective, may look uglier or more natural. Because the Shadow Violet mix replaces the non-lightfast color in the mix with a lightfast one, the color as a whole is more lightfast.

Comparison to Other Brands

It’s worth noting that several other brands offer “lookalikes” of this color, including Da Vinci’s Artemis, which uses the exact same pigment mix. I haven’t it but I have been told it’s pretty darn similar. Unfortunately, because it also uses PR177, it’s also not lightfast.

My Overall Review

I am on record as saying I don’t care much about lightfastness, but it does leave a bad taste in my mouth when a company outright lies about it. So, that controversy is one reason I sort of push this one down on my priority list.

Aside from that, I think this is just a non-essential color for me. I’m not really drawn to pre-mixed “interesting” colors, I’d rather make my own.

On my palette? No.

Favorite version: I have only tried Daniel Smith, but I have no reason to believe that the other versions are very different.