Color Spotlight: Transparent Brown (PBr41)

Schmincke Horadam Transparent Brown: Gradient, opacity and glazing tests, color mixes

This brown jumped off the page to me when I was doing the Schmincke dot cards; it is bright, clear, and vivid while still being undeniably brown.

Experiment Results

Gradient: Beautiful smooth gradient through a wide range of values from chocolate ice cream brown in mass, through to a tan and a pale fawn.

Granulating: No.

Opacity: The website says semi-opaque but I find it 100% transparent

Glazing: A lovely glaze to an even darker, “chocolate syrup” brown.

Color Mixes:

  • Nicest mixes are with orange and yellow, which turns it to more of a Quin Gold-esque bright ochre.
  • Yellow-gray with Phthalo Green Blue Shade.
  • Flat gray with Phthalo Blue Green Shade. Finally, a complement to PBGS!
  • Maroon brown with Ultramarine.

Comparison to Other Colors

Schmincke calls this a “reddish alternative to burnt sienna” but it is far less red than Perylene Maroon, Indian Red, or the other really “earth red” shades.

My immediate thought was that this just looks like a medium brown, but in comparing it to my ‘medium brown’ of Transparent Brown Oxide (PR101 brown – I would call it a Burnt Umber equivalent), Permanent Brown indeed looks quite reddish.

Transparent Brown on the left, Transparent Brown Oxide on the right

Transparent Brown is much closer in hue to Transparent Red Oxide (also PR101), but a bit less orange, and without the extreme granulation.

Transparent Brown on the left, DS Transparent Red Oxide on the right

The other brown that I think it resembles somewhat is Daniel Smith Permanent Brown (PBr25), which I don’t have a swatch to show you, except in my Daniel Smith Dot Cards article.

Comparison to Other Brands

This is a Schmincke Horadam exclusive! As far as I know, no other brand has PBr41, but several brands have PBr25 which is similar.

My Overall Takeaway

This is a brown that I really like on its own. This would be a great option if you love the color of TRO but not the granulation; or you’re always trying to make a bright transparent brown but getting grayish mud instead. The colors this most reminds me of: chocolate, coffee, clay, idealized version of a dirt path through a meadow.

That ‘idealized’ is key because when I think of using it to paint tree trunks of anything I really see in nature, it is too perfect. The browns I see in my landscape tend to be grayer, greener, more orange, or more yellow-ochre. They also tend to be textured, so granulated colors look more realistic. As much as I like the cleanness of nongranulating colors, I think for a brown granulation is generally more useful.

So while it’s rare for me to like a brown, I still didn’t end up getting this color (I did this swatch from a dot card) because I couldn’t figure a great way to use it.

However, it might be the perfect color for your paintings! As I mentioned above, I find it appetizing for food; it might be great for portraits; and I can imagine it working really well in landscapes in an area where the soil is moist and rich with clay deposits.

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