A Range of Oranges

Swatching out all the greens I can make was useful to me in determining which mixes were promising and which ones I wanted to explore further, so I did the same with oranges! I did these tiny, so they fit on one page.

Mixed orange color chart

Reds and red-oranges are the rows, and yellows are the columns. My thoughts below…

Okay, together this looks like an absolutely overwhelming page of near-identical oranges, but let’s try to pick it apart row by row and column by column.

The columns (yellows) are:

  1. WN – Winsor Lemon (PY175) – Roughly identical to its neighbor PY154
  2. WN – Winsor Yellow (PY154) – Moderately bold oranges; not inherently muted but also not the boldest
  3. Mission Gold – Green Gold (PY150) – Quite muted oranges
  4. Holbein – Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (PY110) – The boldest column, by far! This one really jumps out.
  5. DS – Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7) – Tied for most muted with…
  6. Holbein – Yellow Ochre (PY42) – Also very muted, only difference between MANS and YO is the granulation tbh.

The rows (reds) are:

  1. DS – Transparent Pyrrol Orange (PO71) – This is a slightly muted orange so its mixes are also slightly muted, but it’s still orange so of course it mixes clean oranges. I would expect a more bold PO71 like Schmincke’s Transparent Orange to make more vivid mixes.
  2. WN – Winsor Orange Red Shade (PO73) – This would be my pick for the boldest orange mixer (after fluorescent Opera). Just look at the middle orange you get from the mix with PY110. Also very clean yellow-oranges with the banana yellows, a nice PY110 hue.
  3. DS – Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255) – I was surprised by how muted these oranges were considering that this red is so bold and orange-toned. They’re not super muted, just a huge step down from WORS. Disappointing. (It’s not that muted oranges are never wanted, but it wouldn’t occur to me to get them from such a bold red.)
  4. DS – Perylene Red (PR178) – This color goes down bright but dries more muted, and its mixes behave the same way. I have to say I’m shocked that these are actually the most muted oranges on the page, since I would expect Perylene Red to be at least more bold than Pyrrol Crimson. Perylene Red, what are you good for??
  5. DS – Pyrrol Crimson (PR264) – Fairly similar to Perylene Red, although I find this color more “honest” because it has less drying shift and looks muted going down as well.
  6. DV – Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19) – A bit bolder than Pyrrol Crimson.
  7. DV – Red Rose Deep (PV19) – Bolder still! I find these to be roughly on a par with the Pyrrol Scarlet mixes, which should be surprising because it is a much more blue-toned pink. Admittedly, they are muted in a different way. Particularly with Lemon Yellow, this makes a “cool” orange that reminds me of sunrise. I also found the muted mix with MANS to be among the nicest in the muted burnt sienna hue category.
  8. Holbein – Quinacridone Magenta (PR122) – Much more muted and bluey than the PV19 pink mixes. I often struggle to decide between PV19 pink and PR122 magenta as my palette primary cool red, and I think this is a good demonstration of why PV19 can be better (if using it to mix orange is important to you).
  9. DS – Quinacridone Coral (PR209) – Extremely fiery! These are some of my favorite and boldest mixes! As an orange-toned coral pink, I’d expect Quin Coral to mix bolder oranges than more magenta-adjacent PV19 pink; but Quin Coral still has some blue undertones and mixes clean purples, so it’s shocking to see it beating out colors like PO71 and PR255 in terms of bold oranges.
  10. DS – Deep Scarlet (PR175) – This is a muted color so I expect its mixes to also be muted, but not muddy, and that’s what I’m seeing. What I like about using muted colors to mix muted colors is that it’s predictable, in a way that mixing two bolds and getting a muted can be a disappointment.
  11. Mission Gold – Brilliant Opera (PR122/BV10) – Neon oranges! These are undoubtedly the boldest, though this color has an unfair advantage due to its fluorescent element (special effect paint). Also, fugitive: we’ll see who has the last laugh in a few months of light exposure.


Unexpected Heroes: Quin Coral, Red Rose Deep

Unexpected Wallflowers: Pyrrol Scarlet, Perylene Red


  • Orange-yellow (PY110) was by far the boldest mixer of the yellows, though middle yellows are also fine. Nickel Azo Yellow works like an earth color.
  • Starting with a bold red-orange or orange-toned red/pink is a good idea, but the hue of the mixer isn’t always a clear guide. Sometimes transparent orange-pinks (like Quin Coral or Quin Rose) mixed bolder, cleaner oranges than opaque orange-reds (like Pyrrol Scarlet).
  • Go for Opera Pink if you want literally fluorescent oranges.
  • For pleasant muted oranges, my favorites were a mix of one earth color and one clean bright transparent (e.g. MANS + RRD, YO + Quin Coral, Deep Scarlet + Iso Yellow Deep).

Further research… I’d like to try mixing with a bold middle orange like Perinone Orange or Schmincke Transparent Orange. I’d also like to try a bold yellow that falls between PY154 and PY110, such as a PY74 Brilliant Hansa Yellow or PY83 Turner’s yellow (or a mix like Holbein Permanent Yellow Deep).

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