Color Spotlight: Perylene Maroon (PR179)

Da Vinci – Perylene Maroon

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.

Experiment Results

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.)

Opacity: Transparent.

Glazing: Glazes to a deep brown.

Experiments page 2

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.

Perylene Maroon Comparison

Here are my quick impressions:

  • Daniel Smith: muted, high tinting strength, difficult to grade/streaky
  • Holbein: orangey, lightly textured, 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, very textured, 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, very textured, 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)

Daler Rowney Artist – Perylene Red

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)

Daler Rowney Artist – Perylene Maroon

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.

DS Quin Burnt Scarlet (PR206) vs DRA Perylene Maroon (PR179)

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:

Daler Rowney Artist – Perylene Red vs. Daler Rowney Artist – Perylene Maroon (both PR179)

Mission Gold – Perylene Maroon

I got this on the strength of the Oto Kano dot card, and I like it! Although there is still a drying shift, the value range is fantastic, 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. Like many Mission Gold paints, it gets shiny in masstone.

My main problem with it is textural; it tends to be sticky and not quite dry fully, at least in my environment.

Holbein – Perylene Maroon

Moderate tinting strength; lower than I usually like, but you can get a decent deep red masstone out of it. Relatively high-chroma for this pigment. There is some texture in this one which shows up in the mixes.

Winsor & Newton – Perylene Maroon

Winsor & Newton – Perylene Maroon (PR179)

Another with orangey undertones, though more on the muted/burnt orange side. Slightly more muted than DRA or Holbein, and noticeable weaker. It was difficult to get dark color with any of the mixes.

Daniel Smith – Perylene Maroon

It took me a long time to try the DS version (largely because they do not appear to offer a 5ml sample), but having tried it, I like it quite a bit. Although it has the duller color that I don’t like as much, it gets really strong in masstone and makes really dark mixes with other colors, especially striking blacks and browns with shadeso f blue and green. The black with Perylene Green is blacker than almost any combination I’ve seen, except maybe DS Perylene Violet (PV29).

Color Mixes

These color mixes show the Daler Rowney Artist – Perylene Maroon formulation.

Rich Green Gold

Perylene Maroon + Rich Green Gold
Daler Rowney Artist Perylene Maroon (PR179) + Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold (PY129) on Wonder Forest paper

This green-toned gold mixes up a range of glowing orangey shades, including a gold that looks to me like Quin Gold.

Quinacridone Rose

Quin Rose + Perylene Maroon
Da Vinci Red Rose Deep (PV19) + Daler Rowney Perylene Maroon (PR179) on Wonder Forest paper

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.

Indanthrone Blue (PB60)

DS Perylene Maroon (PR179) + DS Indanthrone Blue (PB60) on Canson XL

Dark and moody violet-blues and muted violets. Gets to near-black in masstone, not because it’s neutral, but because it’s just so dark.

Ultramarine Blue

Ultramarine + Perylene Maroon
Holbein Ultramarine Deep (PB29) + Daler Rowney Perylene Maroon (PR179) on Arches Cold Press paper

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.

Cobalt Blue

Perylene Maroon + Cobalt Blue
Daler Rowney Perylene Maroon (PR179) + Da Vinci Cobalt Blue (PB28) on Wonder Forest paper

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)

Perylene Maroon + Cerulean Blue
Daler Rowney Perylene Maroon (PR179) + Da Vinci Cerulean Blue Genuine (PB36) in a Wonder Forest sketchbook (blue spot in upper right is a mistake)

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 Red Shade (PB15:1)

DS Perylene Maroon (PR179) + HO Phthalo Blue Red Shade (PB15) on Canson XL

Similar to Indanthrone Blue and its mixes, because the PR179 neutralizes and darkens the phthalo.

Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PG15:3)

Perylene Maroon + Phthalo Blue
Daler Rowney Perylene Maroon (PR179) + Da Vinci Phthalo Blue (PB15:3) on Wonder Forest paper

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.

Viridian (PG18)

Perylene Maroon + Viridian
Daler Rowney Perylene Maroon (PR179) + Winsor Newton Viridian (PG18) on Wonder Forest paper

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… 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

The Winsor Newton Designer Gouache: (1) works great on cheap paper, and (2) a lot more affordable. The only thing to look out for is that it will crack on your palette, so it might be better to use it straight out of the tube… On cotton paper, in terms of hue, I love how the Winsor & Newton [watercolor] looks, I think that’s a really Perylene Maroon (what I think of as Perylene Maroon). The Mission Gold one is a little dark and suffers from a lot of sheen. I’d say it’s between Winsor & Newton and Daniel Smith.

Oto Kano, Comparing 12 Perylene Maroon Watercolors – Colossal Color Showdown

The Holbein is definitely my favourite. I kind of like it a bit warmer.

Jay Nathan, PR179 Perylene Maroon Watercolor Comparison – White Nights – Daniel Smith – Holbein – Schmincke

My Review

Perylene Maroon is so different depending on the exact formulation! And different ones serve different roles in your palette.

In terms of hue, more reddish formulations (DV, DS, Daler Rowney’s Perylene Red) are better for neutralizing greens, while more orangey formulations (WN, Holbein, Daler Rowney’s Perylene Maroon) mix a variety of lovely grays and browns with blue.

But I think the biggest different in usability is the value of the masstone. All the versions had a noticeable drying shift, but a few (Daniel Smith, Mission Gold, Holbein to some extent) were able to maintain a strong masstone in spite of that. It is these ones that I find most useful. With a really strong Perylene Maroon, you can:

  • Mix deep crimsons with Pyrrol Red, Quin Rose, Quin Magenta, etc.
  • Mix striking blacks with Perylene Green, Phthalo Green, or to some extent Phthalo Blues
  • Deepen Indanthrone Blue into an inky indigo
  • Mix lovely red-browns, reminsicent of Imidazolone Brown (PBr25), with violet or earth tones

These are all super useful functions that no other paint quite seems to do. I have found that Quin Burnt Scarlet (PR206), Deep Scarlet (PR175), and other earthy reds do not typically get dark enough for this. Nor, indeed, do most Perylene Maroons. Even Naphthamide Maroon (PR171), my previous top contender for a “shadow red”, has such a huge drying shift that it’s hard to predict when it’s going to dry to a faded nothing. I’m finding that DS Perylene Maroon is a bit more predictable and reliable for these dark mixes. Although I don’t particularly like the unmixed hue, the mixes are worth it.

On my palette? Yes!

Favorite version: Daniel Smith is the most usable to me because of its reliable dark masstone and high-strength mixes. Mission Gold also gets dark but I could not deal with the sticky texture and slow drying; it might be worth trying in a dry environment. Daler Rowney’s hue was my favorite, but it doesn’t do the same things that DS does and competes for a mid-value scarlet role with PR206, PR175 and others.

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