Dioxazine Violet PV23

  • Chemical Description: Carbazole dioxazine

  • Pigment Number: PV23

  • Lightfastness Rating: ASTM II

  • Pigment Opacity: Transparent

  • Paint Opacity: Transparent

I first worked with Dioxazine Violet back in May 2019. Honestly, it is a challenging pigment to work with. I would not recommend it to a beginner paint maker. I have referred to it in an earlier blog post regarding friendly and not so friendly pigments. Click here to read more about this. I would recommend that you gain experience and some confidence with understanding how to adapt your own binder to pigment ratio. This is THE most challenging part of being a paint maker and working with matte pigments. If you have only worked with mica pigments, it will come as a shock at first to try out matte pigments. Mica pigments, in comparison, are not as variable, cure well, and do not require mulling. It is not easy to simply add binder to said matte pigment and get sound quality paint. It takes much practice to learn each individual or family of pigments binder needs. It is difficult to guide a new paint maker here because of the many factors that can affect a paint's final curation. For example, the climate can be a variable that is difficult to control. It means that the way I make a pigment into a watercolor paint in one country can be totally unsatisfactory in another country.


My advice when first working with a difficult pigment is to work with a small amount. Record what you do in a notebook including swatches. You might record amount of pigment used, amount of binder used, how long it was mulled, lifting tests, lightfastness tests, and rubbing tests.


When I first worked with Dioxazine Violet I was quickly reminded that it is similar to Prussian Blue. It is a fine, staining pigment and with ample time, it mulls beautifully. The horror comes afterwards! The curing stage. When you think that you mulled it wonderfully and check on it in it's pan to find that it has substantially shrunk! It almost seems like all the binder has evaporated into thin air and the smallest portion of set, hard pigment is left in the pan. It's as though a paint thief came along in the night and slurped up all your beautiful paint! It's so frustrating! All that mulling time and this happens!




Don't fret! This just means that you need to go back a step and re-look at your binder to pigment ratio. It seems that this pigment is particularly thirsty and requires quite a bit of binder. It really does. Glycerin is a helpful aide and store bought binders do not come with this ingredient so this is why it is beneficial to learn to master your own binder recipe that you can adapt to suit your needs.


Handy Tip: Keep Glycerin in a small bottle on your paint making table. Sometimes adding a couple drops more during the paint making process can help soften the paint. This tip applies to painters too. If you have paint that is squeezed from a tube that hardens and crumbles, I recommend a little binder or glycerin to soften the paint and enable easier re-wetting.



Handy Info from the Handprint website.


"Dioxazine violet PV23 (or it's cousin PV37) is a lightfast to impermanent, semitransparent, heavily staining, very dark valued, dull violet pigment, available from about 30 pigment manufacturers worldwide for use in plastics, inks, paints and foods. The hue is similar to (but much darker than) ultramarine violet or cobalt violet deep. Its tinting strength is very high, on a par with phthalo green (PG7) and phthalo blue (PB15).


PV23 is a good choice for color point 6 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).


Dioxazine Purple is one of the bluest shades of violet I tested. But even so it is a violet, therefore falls between red and blue. It mixes well with most any pigment. The red characteristic of this pigment mixes well with any yellow, orange, red or violet and the blue characteristic of this pigment mixes well with most blue, turquoise or green. "


According to the Matisse website.


"While Dioxazine Purple is classed as ASTM II it is right at the top end of ASTM II colors and has a reputation in industry for very little fading and only then in the lightest tints. In short, Dioxazine Purple is a very light-fast pigment that can be used with confidence by the artist."


According to the Gumnut inspired website, Dioxazine/Carbazole comes from coal tar.

"It can be created synthetically, but the process isn’t economically viable.

Apparently the pigment is so strong and staining that in a more concentrated form it is so dark it’s sometimes used as the pigment in black Indian ink. By the less quality brands of ink manufacturers, that is.

The chemical itself is very closely related to the red and orange  pyrroles."


Thank you for reading!


I hope you enjoyed this blog on Dioxazine Violet. It is pleasing to find out that although it is listed as ASTM ll, that it is on the high end of lightfastness ASTM ll. My version of Dioxazine Violet has an incredible dark to light range, staining, dilutes beautifully, smooth and vibrant! It was originally part of a curated set of paints called The Stormy Palette curated by a talented artist, Jenni @secondjenletters


Are you interested in finding out about more pigments?


Leave a comment below with a pigment that you're curious about.


Comment on the Instagram post to win a dot sample of this beautiful violet paint. Giveaway ends 21st Friday August 2020 midday NZT.

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