Color Spotlight: Perylene Scarlet (PR149)

Da Vinci – Perylene Red (PR149)

Da Vinci’s new Perylene Red (PR149) is the pigment that Daniel Smith called Perylene Scarlet. (DS has another color which they call Perylene Red; it’s PR178, and it’s cooler.) PR149 is an intense red that is slightly orange-toned (warm). While not as muted as an “earth red,” it’s lower-chroma than the bold scarlets like Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255).

PR149 Pigment Stats

Pigment number: PR149

Pigment description: Perylene red

Toxicity: Non-toxic (A)

Lightfastness: Very Good (II). Per ArtisCreation, “tints may darken after extended exposure to sunlight.”

Observations of Da Vinci Perylene Red

Gradient: Moderately smooth; not incredibly streaky but also not perfectly smooth.

Transparency: Transparent

Bronzing: Shows some shininess in masstone. This is likely a factor relating to Da Vinci’s binder more so than the pigment, since many Da Vinci colors have this characteristic.

Color Mixes: I like the way it mutes blues into slate grays. It also makes lovely intense brick/terra-cotta colors with earth colors.

Comparison to Other Colors

Pyrrol Scarlet, Pyrrol Red, Perylene Red

Here’s a table showing the typical “scarlet” and “red” offerings from the pyrrol and perylene families: Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255 – Daniel Smith), Pyrrol Red (PR254 – Holbein), Perylene Scarlet (PR149 – actually Da Vinci’s Perylene Red), and Perylene Red (PR178 – Daniel Smith).

You can see that the scarlets are consistently warmer than the reds, and the Perylenes are consistently more muted than the Pyrrols. These swatches also showcase the Perylenes’ tendency to show brushstrokes; my Pyrrol samples seemed to settle more evenly.

Color Mixes

Rich Green Gold (PY129)

DV Perylene Red (PR149) + DS Rich Green Gold (PY129) on Canson XL

Nickel Azo Yellow (PY150)

DV Perylene Scarlet (PR149) + MI Green Gold (PY150) on Canson XL

Imidazolone Yellow (PY154)

DV Perylene Scarlet (PR149) + HO Imidazolone Yellow (PY154) on Canson XL

Medium chroma oranges.

Hansa Yellow Deep (PY65)

DV Perylene Red (PR149) + DV Hansa Yellow Deep (PY65) on Canson XL

More intense scarlet/oranges.

Ultramarine Blue (PB29)

DV Perylene Red (PR149) + DV Ultramarine Blue (PB29) on Canson XL

A range of muted mauves.

Indanthrone Blue (PB60)

DS Indanthrone Blue (PB60) + DV Perylene Scarlet (PR149) on Canson XL

Very dark indigo, blackberry, and crimson colors.

Phthalo Blue Red Shade (PB15)

DV Perylene Scarlet (PR149) + HO Phthalo Blue RS (PB15) on Canson XL

Darker, more muted mauves. Nearly black/gray in balance. The PR149 has a strong muting effect on the PBRS making a very dark blue. I do not like the mostly-red mixes.

Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PB15:3)

HO Phthalo Blue Yellow Shade (PB15:3) + DV Perylene Red (PR149) on Canson XL

PBGS is a great partner for PR149. They are complements, so they make a nice neutral black/grey which is easy to tint more reddish or more bluish, and I also like both sides: Prussian Blue hue dark blues and Perylene Maroon hue dark reds!

Perylene Green (PBk31)

DV Perylene Red (PR149) + DS Phthalo Green Blue Shade (PG7)

Makes nice smooth browns, including a potential Burnt/Raw Umber hue (without the granulation).

What Others Say

This is an evocative and lovely pigment, very flexible in mixtures, and one of my favorites when I began painting. I no longer use it because I don’t really trust its lightfastness, but it is not a reckless choice. Daniel Smith gives the pigment a “very good” (II) rating, the same rating they give to naphthol red (PR170) or hansa yellow light (PY3), which some painters use without worry. I suggest you conduct your own lightfastness test. 

Bruce MacEvoy,

My Review of PR149

I wasn’t expecting much from this paint – I tried it mainly out of curiosity – but I found it surprisingly useful right off the bat! While too muted to vie for exactly the same pigment slot as Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255), Naphthol Scarlet (PR188), etc., I’d say it’s a competitor to the same muted red-orange-brown slot as Deep Scarlet (PR175), Brown Madder (PR206), Imidazolone Brown (PBr25), or even Transparent Orange (PO71/DPP). This is a useful slot that I miss when it’s not filled. It’s great for mixing grays with blue, or a variety of intense red-browns that are very useful when painting animals.

Compared to other competitors for this slot, PR149 has stronger tinting strength and more value range, which is my preference. While it has a drying shift like all Perylenes, it’s mainly a shift in chroma rather than value; things dry more muted, but not pale and insipid.

The lightfastness is a potential issue. I have not tested this color, though I was recently disappointed by the performance of Deep Scarlet in a lightfastness test, so I suspect this is a lateral move for me.

My favorite mixing partners are PBGS and Perylene Green.

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