Color Spotlight: Venetian Red (PR101)

Venetian Red is an opaque earth scarlet made from synthetic iron oxide (PR101), very similar to Indian Red but a bit more on the orange side of red (not at all violet-toned). It is still more red/less orange than Burnt Sienna.

Observations of WN Venetian Red

Hue: Earth scarlet, diluting to peach.

Granulating: Mildly granulating.

Opacity: Extremely opaque.

Color Mixes:

  • Deepens warm colors, like yellows/oranges/reds.
  • Adds orange tones to earth yellows.
  • Creates gorgeous cool browns with blues!
  • Earth violets with Ultramarine Blue and Ultramarine Violet.
  • Cool Raw Umber type tones with Phthalo Blue and Phthalo Turquoise. This can be a tough color to mix!
  • A nice soft dove gray with Cerulean Blue Genuine (similar to the combo of Indian Red + Cerulean Blue, though a bit warmer/less neutral.)
  • Mix with Cobalt Turquoise is pretty ugly.

Comparison to Other Colors

Indian Red (PR101)

Indian Red is the most similar color in terms of general hue and brushfeel. Both are made from the same pigment (PR101), and both are granulating and very opaque. Indian Red is a deep maroon hue that dilutes to a dusty pink; while Venetian Red is more orange-toned, a true earth scarlet that dilutes to peach. The WN Venetian Red is less granulating than the DV Indian Red and looks merely thick and flat in masstone, as opposed to that lovely texture you see all the way up in the DV Indian Red.

Color Mixes

Naples Yellow Deep (PBr24)

WN Venetian Red (PR101) + WN Naples Yellow Deep (PBr24) on Canson XL

Yellow Ochre (PY43)

WN Venetian Red (PR101) + DV Yellow Ochre (PY43) on Canson XL

Raw Sienna (PBr7)

WN Venetian Red (PR101) + DV Raw Sienna (PBr7) on Canson XL

Ultramarine Blue (PB29)

WN Venetian Red (PR101) + DV Ultramarine Blue (PB29) on Canson XL

Indanthrone Blue (PB60)

DS Indanthrone Blue (PB60) + WN Venetian Red (PR101)

Phthalo Blue RS (PB15)

WN Venetian Red (PR101) + HO Phthalo Blue RS (PB15) on Canson XL

Neutral grays are possible here, or deep Indigo hue blues.

Cerulean Blue (PB36)

WN Venetian Red (PR101) + DV Cerulean Blue Genuine (PB36) on Canson XL

Soft dove greys. A bit warmer/less violet than those with Indian Red.

Phthalo Turquoise (PB16)

DV Venetian Red (PR101) + WN Phthalo Turquoise (PB16) on Canson XL

Some pretty neutral shades here, as well as a very difficult-to-mix cool green-brown Raw Umber hue!

Phthalo Green BS (PG7)

WN Venetian Red (PR101) + WN Winsor Green BS (PG7) on Canson XL

What Others Say

About Cotman Light Red;

This is a very fierce ‘earth’ colour – a little of it goes a long way. Never use it without adding another colour, such as Raw Sienna.

Ron Ranson, On Skies (1996)

My Review of Venetian Red

I found this color very attractive. Whether it’s actually useful will depend on what you’re painting. As its name suggests, it’s a lovely match for Italian houses and roofs. Meanwhile, Indian Red seems to me a better match for desert red rocks. It also depends what else is on the palette. It’s in-between earth orange and maroon (e.g. Burnt Sienna and Indian Red), but not quite close enough to either to be a straightforward replacement. I like its mixes overall; it does a fantastic job of muting green-blues to neutral grays (especially the tricky Phthalo Blue Red Shade); it also makes gorgeous browns with a wide range of blues (including a tricky Raw Umber hue with Phthalo Turquoise), and lovely mauves with Ultramarine Blue.

I’ll be trying it out in my palette for a bit to see what I can make of it!