Color Spotlight: Shadow Violet

Daniel Smith – Shadow Violet

Shadow Violet is a granulating purple-gray that’s made from a mix of three pigments: PB29 (Ultramarine), PG18 (Viridian), and PO73 (Pyrrol Orange). As such, close inspection of the seemingly unassuming shade reveals flecks of violet blue and blue-green as well as and underlying orange cast that make it more interesting than your typical gray, and mimics the overall effect of a real-life shadow with light and dark spots, color variety, and texture. John Muir Laws praises its beautiful granulation and suggests using it as a convenience gray for shadows in nature paintings.

Experiment Results

Gradient: Highly granulating gradient from dark gray (almost black) to a pale haze, showing unpredictable multicolored flecks especially in the midtones.

Transparency: Semi-transparent.

Glazing: Glazes to a near-black.

Color Mixes: Though adding interesting granulation, I found this a challenging one to mix since it makes mud with almost anything. This is a color best used on its own for compelling shadows.

Comparison to Other Colors

Daniel Smith – Moonglow

DS Moonglow vs DS Shadow Violet

Daniel Smith’s “Moonglow” is a very similar shadow mix that actually uses two of the same components (Ultramarine and Viridian), just replacing the orange with a red, PR177 (Anthraquinoid Red). As such, Moonglow is a bit cooler and more bluey.

My Review

This is a deeply interesting color, but its limited use cases make it only a “maybe” for my palette. I tend to prefer more mixable shades. Still, this color has opened my eyes to the idea of making shadow colors with granulating mixes that keep its blues and oranges somewhat separated. For example, I feel in love with a pretty similar shadow color I mixed from Pyrrol Scarlet and Cerulean Chromium.

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