Color Spotlight: Transparent Pyrrol Orange (PO71)

Daniel Smith – Transparent Pyrrol Orange

PO71 oranges are highly transparent and very vibrant oranges! The Daniel Smith version pictured here is more reddish than some of the others. That said, it should be noted that I bought the DS TPO in 2022, so it’s one of the newer iterations. I am told that the older version was even more red and a bit more muted and earthy.

Experiment Results

Graded Wash: Lovely, smooth gradients especially from the Schmincke. None of them get incredibly dark. Schmincke gets the least dark. All of them glaze to peach, with the Schmincke’s being the most yellow-toned (though still definitely peach and not yellow).

Opacity/Glaze: Very transparent with no visible color on the black line. In a glaze over itself, it becomes a dark pumpkin red-orange.

Comparison to Other Brands

Schmincke Horadam – Transparent Orange

Schmincke Horadam – Transparent Orange (PO71)

Schmincke’s Transparent Orange (formerly called Translucent Orange) is the most bright and orangey of the set, neither reddish nor yellowish. It is much less red than the DS version. It dilutes to a crisp peach.

Winsor & Newton – Transparent Orange

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Winsor & Newton – Transparent Orange

I can’t tell if this is the same pigment or not. WN called it DPP (diketopyrrolopyrrole), but this is also the chemical that PO71 is made from. I suppose it must be slightly different or they’d just call it PO71, but it looks very similar to me.

In a direct head-to-head, you can see that the DS and WN are about the same hue, and both are a bit redder and more muted than the very bright and cheery Schmincke.

From left: Daniel Smith Transparent Pyrrol Orange; Schmincke Transparent Orange; Winsor & Newton Transparent Orange

Qor – Transparent Pyrrole Orange

Qor – Transparent Pyrrole Orange (PO71)

Qor has a very vibrant PO71, similar in hue to DS but a bit higher chroma. Like many Qor paints, I found it difficult to control or predict the cauliflowers.

Palette Appearance

All of these PO71s, including Schmincke, look very red in the palette. Compare the appearance of WN Transparent Orange to Winsor Orange (Red Shade) in my palette; although TO is the lighter color, it’s darker and redder in the palette, and so I mixed them up every single time.

Left to right: DS Quin Rose, DS Pyrrol Scarlet, WN Winsor Orange (Red Shade), WN Transparent Orange looking MUCH redder, DS New Gamboge, WN Winsor Yellow

I guess that’s what you get with a transparent color: it will look extra dark on the palette because it’s like a bunch of transparent sheets overlaid, vs. an opaque color which just looks the way it will paint out.

Color Mixes

Lemon Yellow (PY175)

Lemon Yellow + Transparent Orange
Winsor Lemon (PY175) + DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange on a Wonder Forest sketchbook

Vibrant, fiery yellow-oranges!

Nickel Azo Yellow (PY150)

DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange + Mission Gold Green Gold (PY150) on Wonder Forest paper

Compared to the Lemon Yellow mixes, these mixes are more subdued and goldenrod, but still very deep and intense.

Quinacridone Rose (PV19)

Da Vinci Red Rose Deep (PV19) + Daniel Smith Transparent Pyrrol Orange

Range of reds from a coral similar to Quin Coral (mostly PV19), to a fire engine red (balanced mix), to red-oranges similar to Pyrrol Scarlet (more orange).

Indanthrone Blue

Transparent Pyrrol Orange + Indanthrone Blue
Daniel Smith Transparent Pyrrol Orange (PO71) + Daniel Smith Indanthrone Blue (PB60)

You can make a dark solid black from this complementary pair!

Ultramarine Blue

Ultramarine Blue + Transparent Pyrrol Orange
Holbein Ultramarine Deep (PB29) + DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange (PO71) on Stilman & Birn Alpha paper

Ultramarine’s mixes are similar to Indanthrone’s, but they don’t go as dark and are more granulating (hard to see the granulation on this paper). The mostly-TPO mix yields a surprisingly “bright” brown.

Cobalt Blue

Transparent Pyrrol Orange + Cobalt Blue
DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange + DV Cobalt Blue (PB28)

A similar range of browns and grays with Cobalt Blue. You can see the granulation better on this paper, especially in the diluted mixes in which Cobalt Blue flecks float over the orange/brown shades. The slight muting in the mostly-blue, diluted mix gives me a Cerulean feel.

Phthalo Green Blue Shade

Transparent Pyrrol Orange + Phthalo Green
DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange (PO71) + DV Phthalo Green (PG7) on Stilman & Birn Alpha paper

The TPO mutes and warms the Phthalo Green, creating greens that are still bright and bold but a little more naturalistic and suitable for landscape colors.

Viridian

DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange + Winsor & Newton Viridian (PG18) on Pentalic Aqua paper

I found these mixes surprising. The hues are similar to the Phthalo Green mix, but the qualities are totally different. With a bit of green, you get tan! Cool, lighter browns are hard to mix, so this is a good one to remember. With more green, there is this cool copper-with-patina look, especially given the floating granulation of the Viridian.

What Others Say

This orange is a bit more mellow than its abrasive cousin, PO73, and has more depth than the rather popular Halloween-looking orange made from PO62. If you’ve been around the channel for awhile, you may have heard me sing this color’s praises before, especially the Daniel Smith version that was much deeper and darker in color than the other brands I’ve tried. Nearly red in color, this beautiful color was amazing for mixing the perfect blacks when combined with Phthalo Blue and has been a staple on my palette for many years. However, starting a year or so back [from 2019] I had several viewers and fellow artists say that they weren’t having much luck neutralizing this color like I seem to in my videos. I was rather confused, but recently picked up a new tube to see what all the fuss was about, and sadly, I can confirm that what was once a very unique version of this color is no more.

Denise Soden, Color Spotlight: Transparent Pyrrol Orange

Check out Denise’s video above to see a comparison of the old and new Daniel Smith colors for yourself. Note that when most artists online pre-2018 praise this color, it’s the former Daniel Smith version (this includes Liz Steel, Jane Blundell etc.)

About Schmincke’s unique version, which was the first on the market:

At an art fair I came across a colour I would now be lost without -if you haven’t tried Schminke Translucent Orange you are really missing out on something very wonderful! When diluted, it is really transparent, glowingly vibrant and works well with many other shades as a contrast.

Jean Haines, quoted by Peter Ward

My Review

I’ve gone back and forth on this one, since it’s easy to mix oranges, but I’ve found that it’s such a wonderful mixer that it’s worth a place on my palette even if I rarely use the unmixed shade. It combines with colors I already have on my palette anyway to make a wide range of other colors and lets me cut other colors that I’m “so-so” on.

  • With magenta (e.g. Quinacridone Magenta (PR122) or Quinacridone Rose (PV19) variants), it makes fire engine red or red-orange, so I don’t need to use a palette slot on something like Perylene Red, Pyrrol Red, Pyrrol Scarlet, or even Quin Coral (much as I like Quin Coral).
  • With any bold yellow (e.g. Pure Yellow (PY154)), it makes a bold yellow-orange, so I don’t really need a deep/warm yellow or yellow-orange like Isoindolinone Yellow Deep or Hansa Yellow Deep. I like the mixes with this (or with a yellow) better than those with a yellow-orange.
  • It neutralizes blues to grays. With Indanthrone Blue (PB60), it makes a bold black.
  • It makes greens look more muted and “natural” (though I prefer granulating Transparent Red Oxide for this job).

YMMV depending on the other colors on your palette, but I really like TPO with most of mine!

With that said, this isn’t the first orange I’d put on my palette if I were going minimalist; I’d grab an earth orange (such as Burnt Sienna, Transparent Red Oxide, etc.) before this one.

On my palette? Yes!

Favorite version: I find DS easiest to use. Schmincke’s bright crisp middle orange is my favorite of these colors unmixed, but I struggled a bit with the handling and it lacks a dark end to its range. Still, it’s extremely highly regarded and quite magical. I struggled with Qor’s handling even more while not liking the color as much. WN is too dull.

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