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I’m making a large oil painting and want to use a violet hue to flood the background. I usually paint with cobalt violet and Dioxazine purple, both of which are frustratingly transparent and require several layers of application.

What are my best options for a cool violet hue for a consistent, non-blotchy background? Willing to consider acrylic or other non-oil media for this as it won’t be mixed with anything or engage with the foreground in any way.

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  • The opacity is usually indicated on the paint tube as a symbol, as shown in this answer and this answer. Using fully opaque paint for your background should only require a single coat. If that doesn't solve your problem, please leave a comment or edit your question to clarify the problem.
    – Elmy
    Jun 20, 2023 at 5:32

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You could use black gesso or other dark pigments mixed into the ground. Then the transparency of your violet/purple paints will not be trying to overcome a white background, requiring less pigment.

If that is not an option then mixing (more opaque) primary colors to get the purple you want is an option. Just make sure the tone (lightness) of the red and blue pigments are close (lighten the darker of the two with white) and that you match cool with cool and warm with warm to avoid muddiness. This gives you the advantage of more control and variety in the final color as well.

edit: Are you mixing the Dioxazine purple with titanium white to get your tone or using straight up and relying on its transparency to the white ground to get the tint you want? It should be strong enough to make a good tinted body color and that should give you the cover you are looking for. ie. you may just be using your paints too thin to get any body color from them.

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