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The Color Mix

Alizarin Crimson



I consider myself a bit of an expert when it comes to knowing and naming colors, shades and hues, but this one always stands out for me – alizarin crimson. How delicious does that sound?

Alizarin crimson is a cool, slightly bluish red with a smoky glaze that creates a deep, dense purple when mixed with ultramarine blue.

I've always been more of a fan of cool colors, but this crimson pigment is so complex you can't help but appreciate it. Color Theory shows various ways this color can be used and rendered in art.

Mixing For Vibrance

We've learned that mixing complementary colors together yields neutrals, grays, and browns. Now we need to learn the basic ideas behind mixing secondary and tertiary colors according to our needs, whether vibrant or muted. To achieve the most saturated, brilliant secondary and tertiary colors, mix colors that lean toward each other. For example, you can mix a vibrant purple using ultramarine blue (which leans red) and quinacridone magenta (which leans blue). -excerpted from Color Theory

mixing alizarin crimson paint

Interestingly enough, Alizarin Crimson can also create a cool shade of gray when mixed with phthalo green, cadmium yellow, and white. How exciting that red, green and white make gray!

mixing alazarin crimson paint

The combinations that can be produced using alizarin crimson are truly endless, each distinct and striking. I love these cupcakes both for their texture and for the varied use of this crimson. It's so fascinating how this color can be used in the fluffy pink frosting, but also to define the white cupcake's shadows in a more interesting way than typical grays and whites. 

paint with alizarin crimson

Images excerpted from Color Theory

What is your favorite color name you've come across?


Heather Linder

Heather is a journalist and writer living in Chicago with her composer husband and art-loving puppy, Lancelot. She's on an endless quest for the city's best coffee and is endlessly inspired by Chicago's magnificent skyline. Heather is a bookworm, aspiring chef, and NPR fanatic. She's in the process of teaching her beagle to use a French press and overcoming her fear of DIY.



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