Color Mixing Watercolor Paint Characteristics

Alizarin Crimson Watercolor – Paint Characteristics & Color Mixing

Alizarin Crimson watercolor is a transparent red with a color temperature that leans toward cool. It is a saturated, intense, staining color but its durability and permanency rating is low.

Alternative color substitutes that have higher permanency ratings than Alizarin Crimson are Carmine or Rose Madder Genuine. Or try Permanent Alizarin Crimson by Winsor & Newton made from a mixture of PV19-Quinacridone Violet and PR179-Perylene Maroon pigments.

Alizarin Crimson is one of the “reds” in the transparent staining watercolor palette used for the glazing technique and mixing with other colors in its category.

alizarin crimson watercolor thumbnail
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Measured against a gray scale value finder, transparent staining watercolors range in value from 10% light to a maximum of 90% dark.

gray scale value finder

Colors in the transparent staining category can portray intensity and dark values without becoming muddy and are adequate for a full palette except for where opacity is desired.


Alizarin Crimson is a supersaturated, stronger color than watercolors in the non-staining category and more restraint is required when mixing or glazing it with other watercolors.

Transparent staining watercolors will stain the fibers of the paper they are applied to, and stain, overpower and dull non-staining watercolors they are mixed with.

For the best results, Alizarin Crimson can be glazed and mixed with colors in the transparent staining watercolor category.


Add Winsor Yellow or Permanent Yellow Deep or Winsor Blue (phthalo blue) to Alizarin Crimson to mix a variety of orange and purple colors.

Mix Alizarin Crimson with Permanent Green #1 or Winsor Green YS to create interesting mid-value transparent gray colors. For a darker gray, mix it with Winsor Green BS or Hooker’s Green Light.

Transparent staining watercolors can be layered one over another, wet over bone dry, successfully as long as the number of layers and density is controlled.

Before applying a layer of color from another category, use the transparent staining watercolor as the first layer.

Interesting textures and effects can be achieved by painting opaque colors over a layer of transparent staining watercolor and allowing some of the staining color to peek through using various lifting methods.

Semi-opaque or opaque colors are composed of coarser pigments that are stained and discolored when mixed with transparent staining watercolors. So, they are the least successful combinations.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

… and the recommended transparent staining watercolor for mixing grays with Alizarin Crimson

… in addition to the above list of colors, the following transparent staining watercolors are best for glazing or color mixing with Alizarin Crimson

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Watercolor Paint Characteristics & Color Mixing” for more videos. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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