The warm (orange-toned) red in the Daniel Smith Essentials kit, Pyrrol Scarlet has been a part of my personal palette for a long time! It is a semi-opaque and extremely vibrant flame red, straddling the line between a red and a red-orange.
Gradient: I found it difficult to get a wash that didn’t show some brush strokes; water control can be a bit of a struggle with this one. Still, the color range is impressive, from an extremely bright and bold fire engine red to a pale, peachy coral.
Opacity: This one is pretty opaque; I can clearly see a thin layer of red overlaying the black line.
Glazing: Like many opaque colors, the glaze color isn’t startlingly different from the mass color. It’s a bit darker fiery red.
Comparison to Other Brands
MaimeriBlu – Pyrrole Red
One of the better MaimeriBlu colors I’ve tried, but still not immune from the usual MMB problems (in my view) of being too dispersive and a bit weak. Still, a good option for a PR255. One of the more transparent ones I’ve tried. (This photo makes it look like a middle red, but in real life it is more on the scarlet side, similar to the other colors on this page.)
Schmincke – Vermilion
Same pigment, more transparent and much weaker. I always struggle with Schmincke colors.
Sennelier – Rose Dore Madder Lake
The Sennelier version of PR255, Rose Dore Madder Lake, has a word salad name, but it’s a nice paint! It grades nicely and is highly pigmented. This one doesn’t disperse as wildly as the DS version. It’s slightly streaky.
Hansa Yellow Deep (PY65)
Very bold oranges!
Still deep and intense, but earthier and less in-your-face oranges.
Vivid oranges. Not quite as bright as those with PY65.
Quin Rose (PV19)
Bright, bold fire engine reds from this mix of a bold magenta and a bold red-orange.
I like the deep crimson this makes, though I prefer single pigment crimsons (e.g. Alizarin Crimson hue or Pyrrol Rubine).
Phthalo Blue Red Shade
Not my favorite set of grayish purples and maroons; not quite a complementary set. Orange may be better for PBRS.
Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PB15:3)
Now this is a complement. Makes a very balanced grey.
Possible to make a balanced, light-colored gray that never gets dark, or muted turquoise (or a pinkish gray, but I’m not sure what that would be for).
Phthalo Green Blue Shade (PG7)
Another slightly off not-quite-complement, muddy but not evenly grey.
My Review of Pyrrol Scarlet
I can see why Daniel Smith uses this as the warm red in its beginner set, because it is a bright, fun orangey-red which paints out bold color easily. A semi-opaque color, it offers some contrast to the typical transparent colors like quin rose and phthalo blue. I happen to prefer more transparent colors, but there is also something handy about an opaque color with a bit of heft to it, especially in bold colors like this one. I’ve found it especially useful for pop color details: flowers, a red coat, or a woodpecker’s crest.
I don’t find it to be an optimal mixer. It is so bold that it overwhelms most mixes, even Phthalo Blue (!). It makes bold oranges with yellow, but doesn’t make purple at all. Instead, with blue, it makes a range of muted (muddy) earthy maroons, browns, grays, and blacks. That might be what you want! The very dark black with Phthalo Blue GS is pretty convenient for night skies.
On my palette: No.
Favorite version: Daniel Smith I guess, though I find it a bit opaque. Sennelier has a nice hue, but I can’t handle the stickiness of their binder. MaimeriBlu is okay, but a bit weak. While I like PR255 in theory (because of the hue and lightfastness), I’ve yet to find a version of it that I truly love.