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Day 23 – Dioxazine

Dioxazine. What a great name! Dioxazine Violet is the name of a particularly wonderful shade of purple which I’ve recently fallen in love with.

But despite its synthetic-sounding name it actually comes from coal tar, and has a molecular structure based on carbon. It can be created synthetically, but the process isn’t economically viable.

It was discovered by Carl Graebe and Carl Glaser in 1872, and as a pigment is resistant to light, heat, alkalis, acids, soaps, oils, waxes, solvents, and water. This means it’s great for using in car varnishes, printing, textiles and polymers, and in a in a wide variety of inks and paints.

The colour is so strong and dark when concentrated that it can be used as the pigment in black Indian ink.

So this brings me back to my exploration of pigments and their hidden ‘fingerprints’ of colour; plants contain pigments of various hues, and so it appears do man-made dyes.

In my ‘Dioxazine’ painting I decided to apply the coloured glaze over the entire face and experiment to discover whether the spread of the pigment could be controlled to follow the shape of the hair. It was a great surprise when the wonderful orange was revealed to contrast with the purple. The face became less important than the pigment and its separation out into components of pure colour.