Until recently, I've been pretty adamant about not allowing a purple or violet to take up valuable real estate in my watercolor palette. After all, it's almost too easy to mix a huge range of violets from nearly any red or rose and blue.
I was originally introduced to a form of Quinacridone Violet when Cheap Joe's offered me a tester tube of American Journey's Raw Umber Violet. Determined to keep an open mind, I boldly dipped my brush into this color and immediately found my soul mate.
Since I already had Raw Umber (PBr7) in my palette, I thought I'd give Quinacridone Violet a try. I soon learned that this transparent color comprised of PV19 (or Pigment Violet 19) is a valuable violet to have on hand. Not only do I love it with Raw Umber, but it's a great stand-alone violet as well as a congenial mixer with many pigments in my palette.
If you've been following this blog for a while, you know how I love testing colors! So let's do a watercolor comparison with several different brands of Quinacridone Violet (PV19). I'll compare their characteristics and share a video so you can see how each brand performs on various papers.
And Quin Violet in mixes... let's just say that PV19 is a miracle mixer! I'll also share a printable mixing chart with common Quin Violet mixes. Let it begin!
P.S. If you are curious about what in the world "quinacridone" is and how Quin Violet compares to Quin Rose, which is also PV19 (I know, right?!), see this post.
[Article contains affiliate links.]
Discovering the Best Quinacridone Violet for You
Before we begin, it's important to point out that PV19 is insanely hard to photograph and scan. In practice, Quin Violet is a beautiful, multifaceted color with transparent qualities, but its intense blue-violet hue refracts light and makes it look like a neon sign on camera.
Yep, sooo not accurate! I highly advise you to take the swatches below with a grain of salt, view the video, and then do your own swatch tests.
Quinacridone Violet (PV19) Watercolor Swatches
Quin Violet is a deep red purple that nicely balances warm colors in a painting, but it contains enough warmth to calm down cool colors like greens and blues. It's semi to fully transparent and has excellent lightfast ratings, so it can easily fit into a variety of palettes.
Quin Violet displays a mysterious, evocative quality that (as mentioned above) can't be adequately represented in this blog post. Regardless, I'll do my best to share and describe these various brands.
When painting on most papers, American Journey's Quinacridone Violet looks silky smooth and highly transparent. It also appears to be the coolest of the bunch (which I like), but its price can be somewhat of a shocker (which I don't like).
Currently at Cheap Joe's, a 15ml tube runs $15.89. At $1.06 per ml, AJ is the second most expensive brand of the bunch, but significant savings can be had if you're willing to purchase the 37ml tube. Currently priced at 69-cents per ml, value sizing would make AJ the least expensive of the four. Click on the swatch to see current prices.
If you're interested in learning more about AJ watercolors, I've written a complete review here. For in-depth information on brand pricing and how to save money when purchasing watercolors, see my article.
Daniel Smith's Quinacridone Violet appears the rosiest of the four brands on some papers, but it's still plenty cool enough to hold its own among the other Quin Violets. It thinned consistently and was a solid performer on all of the papers that I tested it on.
One of the most transparent of the bunch (see below), I haven't tried mixing with DS Quin Violet yet. I've had trouble with DS Quin Rose haloing in mixes, but so far, I'm fairly impressed with this color. If I test this Quin Violet further, I'll be sure to update this post.
A 15ml tube of Daniel Smith Quinacridone Violet is currently $14.42 at Amazon with prime shipping, placing it as one of the more expensive Quin Violets that I tested. Click on the swatch to see current pricing.
M. Graham's Quinacridone Violet is the color that I currently have in my 18-color watercolor palette, and though I struggled with its performance in the video (below), I've not encountered any issues while painting with it.
Though it mixes very well and was used to create the mixing chart below, M. Graham's soft, honey-based Quin Violet makes it difficult to add small amounts to mixes. Because the pigment sticks to the brush, I kept grabbing more pigment than I needed.
Though MG is the least expensive of the bunch (currently $12.01 for a 15ml tube at Amazon), this lack of control when loading a brush results in more waste and may have contributed to the streakiness of this brand in the video.
Regardless, if you like M. Graham paints, this Quin Violet is a solid contender and the price allows one to play with this pigment for less than a morning stop at Starbucks. Click on the swatch to view current pricing at Amazon.
I've written an overview of this brand along with Daniel Smith here.
QoR is crafted by Golden Artist Colors and is labeled as a "modern watercolor," though I'm not sure exactly what that means. I've only recently been introduced to this brand, so while the overall verdict is still out, QoR's Quinacridone Violet painted admirably well on artist grade papers.
I also like how it thinned into one of the coolest of the four making it appear eerily similar to American Journey, yet at full strength, it looks a lot like rosy Daniel Smith. So far, it's been fun to play with this rather complex paint.
However, QoR Quinacridone Violet balked on some papers (see video), and it's definitely the most vivid and opaque in the bunch. (See swatches below.)
It's also the most expensive. Sold only in 11ml tubes, it currently runs $13.42 on Amazon with prime shipping. That's $1.22 per ml. Ouch. It's a little less expensive at Cheap Joe's, but that cost doesn't include shipping. Click on the swatch to view current pricing at Amazon.
Quinacridone Violet (PV19) Transparency Test
As you can see in the swatch tests above, American Journey is beautifully transparent. M Graham and QoR are about equal and firmly in the semitransparent camp, while Daniel Smith falls somewhere in between.
Side-by-side like this, it's easy to see that American Journey is the bluest and coolest of the brands, but when Quin Violet is thinned with water, the blue undertones become much more apparent and the brands appear nearly equal in tone.
Video: Quinacridone Violet Watercolor Brand Comparison
I've tried scanning and photographing Quin Violet swatches in a variety of lights, but it's rather camera shy because no matter what I try, it continues to hide its blue undercurrent unless you meet it in person. Because of this, I thought a video might better display its true qualities.
Quinacridone Violet (PV19) Printable Mixing Chart
Though Quin Violet will never be the life of party, in actuality, this violet is ready and willing to adapt to a variety of scenarios and could be a painter's most trusted confidant and best PV19 partner. Like a typical INFP, it's a true mediator and appears to seek the good in any situation. This personality makes Quin Violet an excellent mixer.
My favorite Quin Violet partners are Phthalo Green (PG7) and Indanthrone Blue (PB60), and these were the only three colors used in the landscape painting for the lead photo of this post. This 3-color palette trinity produces a startling range of colors with atmospheric qualities that I adore.
In fact, I could easily build a limited, 4-color palette with Quin Violet. Partnering it with a warm yellow, Phthalo Green, and a blue of choice results in nearly every color one might need in nature sketching. (Hmmm, I feel another mixing session coming on!)
In the meantime, below are a few, common mixes using Quinacridone Violet (PV19).
How to read this chart: With the exception of the bottom row, on the left is the original color used for mixing with Quin Violet, and the colors to the right of the original color are examples of a range of mixes one can achieve with varying amounts of the two colors. Mixes across the bottom row are Quin Violet blended with pleasing amounts (IMO) of the listed color.