Color Spotlight: Opera Pink (PR122 + BV10)

Mijello Mission Gold Bright Opera: Gradient; opacity; color mixes

Every major watercolor company has a version of Opera Pink, that fluorescent, neon, highlighter pink that pops so brightly! An unbelievably neon color, it’s great for pop colors, tropical florals, and gaudy sunsets. The only downside? The fluorescence can fade quickly!

Opera Pink is perfect for neon roses. Photo (c) Billy Idyll October 2021.

The Stats

Lightfastness: Mission Gold calls it “Fair”, which is their worst rating. DS comes out and calls their Opera Pink “Fugitive.” The major thing to note about Opera (from any company) is that it’s fugitive, that is to say, not lightfast. Some artists avoid it for that reason, while others – especially those who don’t care about artwork standing the test of time – don’t care. I tend to be in the “don’t care” camp.

Pigments: PR122, BV10. Note that most every company’s Opera color uses pigment PR122, which is also known as Quinacridone Magenta. This pigment is lightfast. It is the fluorescent additive BV10, or rhodamine dye, which is not lightfast. (Some companies do not list BV10, but if the color looks fluorescent, it’s there.) When the fluorescence fades, the pink will turn into a more typical PR122 magenta color, as seen in ThreeSixFiveArt’s fading test. If you are concerned about lightfastness, using a non-fluorescent PR122, such as Quinacridone Magneta (DS/WN) or Purple Magenta (SH) may be the way to go.

Granulation: Mission Gold’s Bright Opera is non-granulating, but that’s not true of all Opera (Daniel Smith’s Opera Pink is extremely granulating.)

Transparency: Transparent.

Experiment Results

Gradient: Gets lusciously deep and bright in mass, fading to a pale pink. It’s really striking how bold that pink gets!

Opacity: Left a bit of residue on my line, despite being listed as Transparent.

Glazing: Both were significantly darker in glaze (another effect of transparency), though Mission Gold’s also seemed oranger and more fluorescent in glaze, whereas Daniel Smith’s looks more like any other pink.

Colors Mixes: Similar color mixes across both brands, though I found the Mission Gold easier to mix.

  • Quin Rose: A very similar color to Quin Rose alone, but with a slight fluorescent kick.
  • Quin Coral: A feisty fluorescent strawberry color, like strawberry Bubble Yum.
  • New Gamboge: Fluorescent peach/orange.
  • Hansa Yellow Light: Fluorescent coral/orange (or yellow-orange, depending on how much yellow you put in).
  • Phthalo Green Blue Shade: Sort of a dull fluorescent purple. I had better luck mixing the Mission Gold than the DS, which granulated out of the green.
  • Phthalo Blue Green Shade: Purple to periwinkle, depending on amount of pink.
  • French Ultramarine: Maybe the best purple, a lovely fluorescent mid-purple violet.
  • Quin Purple: A pretty magenta, but not especially fluorescent. The Purple really tones it down. I think it would make more sense to use a non-fluorescent PR122 than this mix.
  • Transparent Red Oxide: Sort of a fiery coral with rusty granulation over it.
  • Quin Gold: Extremely vibrant, fluorescent orange.

Comparison to Other Brands

I was considering getting a bunch of brands’ variations on Opera to try them, but after watching Dr. Oto Kano’s Colossal Color Showdown on Opera, I chose my favorite, Bright Opera from Mission Gold, the professional watercolor line of the Korean paint company Mijello. I’ve been happy with that one and not felt the need to buy any others! However, if you’re interested, here are several others you might want to take a look at:

  • Da Vinci – Opus
  • * Daniel Smith – Opera Pink
  • Holbein – Opera
  • Schmincke Horadam has a whole bunch of pinks and purples mixed with BV10 for fluorescence
  • Winsor & Newton – Opera Rose

Daniel Smith Opera Pink

Daniel Smith Opera Pink compared to Mission Gold Bright Opera

I struggled to get the over-the-top brightness I wanted from Daniel Smith’s Opera Pink. It is highly granulating and quite a bit less pigmented. It’s still a hugely bright pop color, but in the interest of min-maxing, I want it to be the MOST bright and the MOST bold, and DS’s just isn’t.

If you are going to go Opera, you should go all the way, which is why I prefer Mission Gold’s knock-you-over-the-head depth of color to Daniel Smith’s more classy granulation.

My Overall Thoughts

This isn’t a palette staple; it’s more of a special effect paint, but as a hot pink aficionado, it’s a special effect that I love! There is nothing like this super fluorescent color, and for certain over-the-top Lisa Frank style pop art / sunset / botanical effects, it’s completely irreplaceable. As a person who paints more for the excitement of the moment and/or the photographs, and who doesn’t tend to keep or sell originals, the lightfastness doesn’t concern me.

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