Captured by the visual names given to three of Langridge’s oil paint colours, we set out to discover the texture, consistency and handling of Nickel Azo Red Gold, Quinacridone Violet and Video Blue, and to explore the palette blends of the three handmade paints. We could never have expected to come across such a vast expanse of colours and hues from just three tubes of paint and from this, it is clear that Langridge know how to combine their knowledge of historical pigments with modern day technology.
Overview of Langridge Oil Paint Range:
Langridge Handmade Oil Colour is constructed to excel in saturation of colour and physical handling qualities. Like most professional grade paints, the colours are unadulterated by fillers or modifiers, have maximum pigment loading and each paint has an individual drying time.
Each colour has undergone dedicated analytical testing to ensure its performance and each paint is triple milled in batches of no more than 20 litres to control its quality.
The tubes look clean, minimalist and modern with a wide painted band of colour to make each paint easily identifiable while working.
On each tube, the pigments included, binding oil used, transparency, consistency and drying time is easy to see. This is essential if you’re just starting to use professional oils and want to be made aware of how they behave.
Langridge Oil Paint consistency:
Starting to use the paints, you are immediately met by the attention given to each pigment. The consistency of each colour is defined by the pigment and described on the label using the butter scale. Of the colours tested on this page, the Nickel Azo Red Gold had a lovely smooth buttery feel, the Video Blue was very stiff, leaving distinctive brush marks visible when undiluted, and the Quinacridone Violet was described as having the consistency of soft butter, but felt more like butter that had recently come out of the fridge, needling some handling to loosen.
Texture and Colour Saturation:
There was an expectation that the colours would have a gritty feel, common to some handmade paints, but they’re gorgeously smooth. It was surprising how clean and vivid mixes made with colours such as Nickel Azo Red Gold and Video Blue appeared, considering both are made from a blend of pigments.
The Nickel Azo Red Gold and Quinacridone Violet showed some beautiful undertones and characteristics when used as glazes while Video Blue’s tinting strength was surprisingly strong.
Testing the colours, it seemed almost possible that, with just these three, you could create a whole nuanced painting. Either replicating a classical palette by modifying each carefully or, using them in bolder mixes to create something that looks more contemporary. The colours are fantastically strong and a joy to use.
Pigment Index: PY150, PV19 (Nickel Azo / Quinacridone), Vehicle: Linseed Oil, Consistency: Buttery, Transparent, Drying rate: 3-6 days, Series 4
Earthy red-gold, like the last rays of the desert sun. Very rich in stronger applications, with golden undertones that come through as it is extended.
It is made from Nickel Azo, which produces deep dullish reds to green shade yellows and transparent muted yellows, similar to gamboge, and can be mixed to create botanical yellows, oranges and browns. The addition of PV19 Quinacridone Violet or Rose shifts the colour more towards a warm red but still maintains its ability to create fresh spring greens and rich golden yellows.
Almost brown in its mass tone, the range of hues you can draw out of this colour is quite impressive. From a rich orange, burnt deep red to a light muted yellow, it is very versatile. Its transparency lends itself to a variety of lovely glazes when used neat.
Its tinting strength is such that it can be used subtly in mixes or toned down easily. This can be seen in the central test (above) which goes from a pure stroke of Nickel Azo Red Gold to a 1:1 ratio mix, with Titanium White in the middle and a 1:10 ratio to Titanium White at the end.
Pigment: PV42 (Quinacridone), Vehicle: Linseed Oil, Transparent, Consistency: Soft Butter, Drying rate: 2-5 days, Series 6
An elegant modern violet with a deep burgundy mass tone and sweet violet undertones. Creates cool-but-not-cold tints and glazes, in comparison to say, Dioxazine Violet. It doesn’t dominate colours in mixes and is incredibly stable.
Made from PV42 (quinacridone pink), it is quite a dark valued violet, appearing bluer then most magenta coloured quinacridone pinks. As a single pigment colour, it’s great for mixing and produces lovely browns, maroons and brooding reds with warm colours. Combined with dark blues it creates interesting violets and deep atmospheric blues. With greens, you can obtain some delicate greys.
It is transparent, again, and able to produce a range of coloured glazes that could be tonally useful. It’s quite high tinting with a shift towards a softer bluish violet when mixed with white. It’s easy with solvent, or a 1:1 ratio to white, to produce a deep, almost fuschia tone.
Finally, it is quite easy to draw out and its slight stiffness meant it dragged nicely.
Pigments: PW4, PB15.3, PB28 (Zinc Oxide / Phthalocyanine / Cobalt Teal), Vehicle: Safflower Oil, Semi-Opaque, Consistency: Stiff, Drying rate: 3-6 days, Series 4
Designed as a hot electric blue, built to generate light. This intense warm azure blue is full of depth and space and came from the idea of a computer-generated colour. While a strong colour on its own, it also mixes well to create a range of shades useful in landscape painting.
It is a mid-value warm blue that is semi-opaque and can be used as a base with other blues to create warm azures and aquamarines.
Video Blue is made with Phthalocyanine (PB15:3), a very clean mixing blue with a very strong tinting strength (you can see Video Blue somewhat shares this characteristic on the tinting test below). The colour is lightened somewhat, and the tinting strength reduced, by the addition of zinc oxide (PW4), allowing it a delightful visual impact.
It also contains cobalt teal (PB28) that is a soft blue, verging on green, with a warmth that makes it beautiful for warm skies and oceans, synonymous with Australia. The inclusion of this pigment is what’s responsible for the lovely greener tones in the lighter swatches. For a three pigment colour, it is very versatile for mixing, producing clean, saturated hues.
The tinting strength is quite strong and interestingly, there’s very little colour change from its mass tone to a glaze, or when mixed with white. Slightly greener undertones do become more obvious and it forms a blue that one associates with the Mediterranean or brochures for hot beach holidays and swimming pools.
Its stiffness means it catches nicely on the paper which means it could be interesting when used for scrumbling.
As both Nickel Azo Red Gold and Quinacridone Violet contain Quinacridone pigments on the red spectrum, they mix easily together. A small addition of Quinacridone Violet to Nickel Azo Red Gold created a richer, redder burnt orange, that is striking but could be toned down to a hyped up terracotta. These reds also easily conjure up Uluru under strong light with harsh shadows, or even the reds of desert cliffs worldwide.
Adding a little of the Nickel Azo Red Gold to the Quinacridone Violet brought out some gorgeous deep magenta pinks and combining both more equally produced strong oxblood reds. Clearly, with the addition of white, you could produce a range of nuanced pinks, violets and light oranges.
Modifying Video Blue with small amounts of Quinacridone Violet produces some gorgeous, darker blues, whose semi-opaque nature could be useful. The three blues mixed feel like everyday household colours, with a warmth and a visual familiarity. Using more Quinacridone Violet, with a some Video Blue, produces a dark toned purple, where as a small amount of Video Blue, added to a glaze of Quinacridone Violet, produces a more traditional purple violet. Using even less Video Blue creates a warmer violet that verges on brown.
These swatches demonstrate how both Nickel Azo Red Gold and Video Blue could be appealing to landscape painters, both those working with a traditional or more modern colour palette. The range of mossy greens on the right included more Nickel Azo Red Gold in their mixes. The top green approximates hookers green nicely, the middle glaze is much closer to a green-gold, so many painters find appealing and the green at the bottom, which includes a lot of titanium white, is a nice soft minty green, approaching a swimming-pool turquoise. Adding a small amount of Nickel Azo Red Gold to Video Blue, or mixes of Video Blue and titanium white brings out lovely turquoise undertones and the Cobalt Teal elements of Video Blue.
Combing all three colours, also with titanium white for some swatches, shows the range of desaturated, subtle and nuanced colours you can create. There are some appealing warm browns, soft grey options and deep, almost indigo blues. As well as bright high chroma glazes there’s also the more pastel mixes that could be adjusted for softer stone or furnishing colours. Depending on your subject matter, even if you were just to use these three colours and a white, you could create a well-balanced painting with a diverse colour palette, drawn from the warm light, dusty red tones and hyper-real blues of the Australian landscape.
You can view the whole range of Langridge Artist Colours Jackson’s carries here.
David Coles, the founder of Langridge Artist Colours, also recently published a book on the history of pigments, you can read our review of it here.
You can also find out more about Langridge on their website, here.