Color Spotlight: Pyrrol Orange (PO73)

Winsor & Newton Winsor Orange (Red Shade): Gradient, opacity & glazing tests, color mixes

A very strong and vibrant semi-opaque reddish orange, PO73 oranges such as Winsor Orange (Red Shade), pictured, can be substituted for a warm orange-red in color mixes.

(I am calling this in general “Pyrrol Orange” because every brand seems to want to claim it for their own.)

Experiment Results

I found Winsor Orange (Red Shade) extremely enjoyable to swatch out. Very pleasant handling.

Gradient: Look at that. It’s a thing of beauty. One of the smoothest gradients I’ve ever seen. In mass, it’s a deep bold vibrant orange, and in dilute it is a coral peach.

Opacity: This is an interesting one. WN describes this as semi-opaque and it feels like it does have that kind of pop and heft you expect of a semi-opaque, but I didn’t detect much if any color on the black line. I would say this is significantly more transparent than, say, Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255).

Glazing: Glazes to almost a neon red.

Comparison to Other Colors

Winsor & Newton – Transparent Orange

Left: Winsor Orange (Red Shade). Right: Winsor & Newton Transparent Orange.

Transparent Orange (PO71/DPP) can vary in color a bit from brand to brabd, but generally they are less red, more muted, and above all far more transparent than PO73 oranges.

Da Vinci – Vermilion Hue

I found Da Vinci’s Vermilion Hue, which is a mix of Vermilion (PR188) and Perinone Orange (PO62), very similar to this color but a but more muted.

Da Vinci’s Vermilion Hue vs. Winsor & Newton’s Winsor Orange Red Shade

Comparison to Other Brands

Da Vinci – Da Vinci Orange

Another PO73 that’s very similar, but a bit duller and slightly less amazing to swatch out.

Left: Da Vinci Orange. Right: WORS.

Mixes from This Color

Holbein – Permanent Yellow Orange

Holbein – Permanent Yellow Orange

Made from PO73 plus PY74 (Brilliant Hansa Yellow) and PY83 (Diarylide Yellow), this is a bright, vibrant yellow-orange. In the same general family as Yellow Orange (PY110), New Gamboge, or Hansa Yellow Deep (PY65), but a bit more orange with a deeper masstone.

Holbein – Shell Pink

Holbein – Shell Pink

Holbein’s Shell Pink is an opaque pastel peach/pink made from PO73 + white.

What Others Say

I have very high regard for this pigment; it is everything modern pigment chemistry should be. Provided you use the transparent single pigment brands, this makes a very versatile and reliable paint, worth trying for florals and other brilliant painting styles, and splendid as a warm, almost pinkish tint or blush color for caucasian flesh tones. It is an ideal red orange pigment for the six paint secondary palette.

Bruce MacEvoy, handprint.com

My Review

I really enjoy using this color, particularly the W&N version. I nabbed it on the strength of enjoying it in the Winsor Newton Dot Cards and I’m even more delighted by it after experimenting. It just has wonderful handling and it’s so vibrant.

It’s a fun color in “cliché” sunsets.

Postcard-style sunset, January 2022

It’s also a useful color for orange sandstone desert milieus, where it mixes wonderfully sun-drenched canyons.

Monument Valley, November 10, 2022. Colors: Canyon colors are mostly WN Gold Ochre and WN Winsor Orange (Red Shade), dusted with a bit of DS Quinacridone Burnt Orange, with DV Burnt Umber and Holbein Indigo for shadows. Sky is DV Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) to DV Hansa Yellow Light.

As a bold semi-opaque, it’s useful anytime you need an orangey pop color. It also mixes up lovely peachy pinks or yellow-oranges (as evidenced by the existence of Shell Pink and Permanent Yellow Orange, both of which are easily mixed on your own with white and middle yellow respectively). Finally, it’s an almost too effective neutralizer for blue-greens or green-blues, turning them into striking blacks.

On my palette? B-team, at the moment. Despite really enjoying this color when I swatched it and played with it, I didn’t actually find it that useful and found I usually preferred mixing with Transparent Pyrrol Orange.

Favorite version: Winsor Orange (Red Shade) is hands-down my favorite PO73.

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