In her book “The Secret Lives of Color” the author Kassia St. Clair writes that the French impressionists used a lot of purple. Some suggested it was because they spent so much time ‘en plein air’ squinting at the yellow sun that they often had the complementary purple afterimage in their eyes. The artists themselves may have used a lot of violet because of their aversion to using black for shadows, instead using a mix of very dark colors. Coal-tar derived dioxazine certainly qualifies as a strong dark. Somewhere I read that the paint is considered organic because it is carbon-based rather than being derived from minerals.
Whatever the origin or derivation, Dioxazine (Winsor) Violet screams “look at me!.” It is strong, transparent, and staining, Used along with other colors and not allowed to take over a painting, it can bring a freshness and forceful value statement. Here I used it sparingly in the upper sky, then mixed with ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, and burnt sienna to achieve an intense dark background. Raw sienna pops up as the complementary yellow.
On a recent walk, the deciduous trees with barely-opened Spring leaves inspired this painting.