What’s the difference between Transparent Red Oxide (PR101) and Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PO48)?

Transparent Red Oxide and Quinacridone Burnt Orange are both transparent, highly granulating earth oranges — alternatives to Burnt Sienna. Both can be mixed with Nickel Azo Yellow (PY150) to create a Quinacridone Gold hue. So what’s the difference between them, and why might you choose one over the other?

Top: Daniel Smith Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PO48).
Bottom: Daniel Smith Transparent Red Oxide (PR101).

It’s the battle of the granulating earth oranges!

Overall Comparison

DS Quin Burnt Orange (PO48) on the left, DS Transparent Red Oxide (PR101) on the right.

The hues are similar. Quin Burnt Orange is oranger, with Transparent Red Oxide being comparatively slightly more reddish and brownish, though I would still classify it as an “earth orange.” Quin Burnt Orange doesn’t get as dark in masstone. Both dilute to a very pale brown, with QBO’s reading a bit more like a light bronze and TRO’s looking more like a peachy beige. Both have large granulation.

Color Mix Comparisons

Nickel Azo Yellow

Both make a Quin Gold hue. The Nickel Azo Yellow brings out the brightest, fieriest elements in QBO. The TRO mix has a more muted and brownish quality.

Perylene Violet

This comparison suffers from having been done on such different papers and at different times, but here we go. Note that the TRO looks much more granulating, this is probably a result of the paper – granulation shows up more on the smoother Stilman & Birn Alpha paper compared to the relatively toothy Canson XL.

Perylene Violet had a similar deepening and reddening effect on both.

Cobalt Blue

Both mixes make browns and grays. Mixes with QBO stay lighter-valued, while those with TRO can get very dark, near-black.

In this case, the QBO is on the Stilman & Birn alpha paper, and so appeared much more granulating.

Phthalo Green

Both paints mix with Phthalo Green to create gently muted, brownish, granulating colors. At least on these paper samples, I found that QBO mixed with Phthalo Green more completely, while TRO tended to float above it.

What if we add Burnt Sienna Deep to the mix??

Da Vinci’s Burnt Sienna Deep is another PR101.

Top: DS Transparent Red Oxide (PR101). Middle: DS Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PO48). Bottom: Da Vinci Burnt Sienna Deep (PR101).

In terms of hue, BSD sits between Transparent Red Oxide and Quinacridone Burnt Orange: less red/more orange than TRO, but slightly less orange than QBO (but extremely similar). It doesn’t get quite as dark as TRO. It is the least granulating of the three; Da Vinci Paints describes it as having “some granulation” which I’d agree with. Just some. Not the wild amounts of the other two.


These colors are similar enough that I feel you probably only need one of them on your palette.

In terms of handling, I personally found the PR101 easiest to work with (both TRO and BSD). It was easier to get a pleasantly juicy color. With PO48 (QBO), I felt like I was fighting it to get a dark masstone, glopping the paint on instead of letting it be the way it wanted; it was also difficult to get a juicy tone without skipping straight to overdiluted.

TRO is the most versatile, offering the greatest value range. I feel it can do everything you need an earth orange to do, including making dark browns with purple or violet-blue, and a range of grays with green-blues. QBO never gets that dark.

However, QBO is brighter and really comes alive when mixed with yellows in a way that TRO never does. If I’m mixing my own Quin Gold hue, I am going to choose QBO to partner with NAY every time.

And BSD? This falls in between the two, and is a good option if you can’t choose between them in terms of hue (but you don’t care about having big granulation). If you like your granulation big, QBO is the way to go.

What’s on my palette? I actually use all of these in different situations, which I agree is a bit excessive, but there you go.

  • DS Transparent Red Oxide is on my everyday/main palette. I tend to favor brighter colors on the whole, so this is a good place for a good flexible earth tone that can do it all.
  • DS Quinacridone Burnt Orange, the most excitingly glowing and autumnally magical, is on my Autumn palette. I also have Burnt Umber on that palette to make up for the missing dark tones. Because earthy and orange are major components for Autumn, I felt it was an appropriate place to devote multiple slots.
  • DV Burnt Sienna Deep is on my Summer Palette. Again this is a place where I want minimal earth tones, but I felt it was okay to err on the brighter/lighter/less granulating side.

If I am going to recommend only one of these, I’d go with TRO, although BSD is a good option as well if Da Vinci is preferable to Daniel Smith.

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