Color Spotlight: Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PO48)

Daniel Smith – Quinacridone Burnt Orange

This granulating earth orange is a lovely desert color and, along with Nickel Azo Yellow, part of Daniel Smith’s mixed hue version of Quinacridone Gold.

Experiment Results

Gradient: I struggled to get an even gradient here; you can see the individual brush strokes. This one doesn’t seem disperse much. Nice range of values form a deep orangey-brown burnt sienna color to pale peachy orange.

Granulation: Granulating.

Opacity: Transparent.

Glazing: Glazes to masstone brown/burnt sienna color.


Lightfastness test for DS Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PO48). Left: window swatch, exposed to western light in Boston, MA, from July 22-December 9, 2023. Right: Protected strip.

Very subtle muting/browning. The protected strip is more orangey. It’s almost imperceptible.

Comparison to Other Colors

Holbein – Burnt Sienna (PBr7)

DS Quinacridone Burnt Orange on the left, Holbein Burnt Sienna on the right.

They are quite similar in hue; the QBO is a bit more orange and the Burnt Sienna a bit more yellow-brown, but it’s close. Also, maybe it’s the granulation, but for some reason QBO seems more lively and “sparkly” to me (metaphorically, I mean – it is not actually sparkly). The Burnt Sienna grades much better.

Daniel Smith – Transparent Red Oxide (PR101)

DS Quin Burnt Orange on the left, DS Transparent Red Oxide on the right.

Daniel Smith’s Transparent Red Oxide is redder and rustier (while still being in the earth orange family IMO). The difference is particularly noticeable in dilute where the QBO dilutes to a light tan and the TRO dilutes to a light peach. TRO has larger, wilder granulation. Both of these colors are exciting and magical to me.

Da Vinci – Burnt Sienna Deep (PR101)

Daniel Smith Quin Burnt Orange on the left, Da Vinci Burnt Sienna Deep on the right

I find these almost identical in hue. Da Vinci Burnt Sienna Deep is actually a PR101 like DS Transparent Red Oxide, but to me it looks and behaves much more like the Holbein Burnt Sienna: non-granulating, lovely gradation, well-behaved, but not as lively or exciting (IMO) as Quin Burnt Orange or Transparent Red Oxide.

Daniel Smith – Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet

DS Quin Burnt Orange on the left, DS Quin Burnt Scarlet on the right.

These colors aren’t super similar (Quin Burnt Scarlet is obviously much redder and nongranulating), but I thought I would include them since the names are so similar.

Please note there is no such color as Quinacridone Burnt Sienna, which is what I always want to call both of these colors.

Color Mixes

Nickel Azo Yellow

DS Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PO48) + Mission Gold Green Gold (PY150) on Stilman & Birn Alpha

This is the mix of pigments used by Daniel Smith to make a Quin Gold hue. Glowing, fiery granulating orange-golds.

Pure Yellow

DS Quin Burnt Orange (PO48) + Winsor Yellow (PY154) on Stilman & Birn Alpha

The mix with a PY154 primary yellow is a bit less bold and glowing and doesn’t mix as completely as Nickel Azo Yellow.

Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone

DV Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19) + DS Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PO48)

Love these bold, reddish-rust colors. The middle mix looks like a very fiery sandstone in sunset color.


DS Bordeaux (PV32) + DS Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PO48) on Canson XL

A range of deep, rusty reds, much more muted than the ACQ mixes.

Perylene Violet

DS Perylene Violet (PV29) + DS Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PO48) on Canson XL

PV pulls QBO into a more brown space, and also gives it the dark tones it lacks. However, even with this dark mixer, I still found it quite difficult to get a dark masstone that wasn’t gloppy.

Cobalt Blue

DV Cobalt Blue (PB28) + DS Quin Burnt Orange (PO48) on Stilman & Birn Alpha

Range of granulating browns and grays.

Phthalo Green

DV Phthalo Green (PG7) + DS Quin Burnt Orange (PO48) on Stilman & Birn Alpha

Range of muted, granulating dull greens and browns.

What Others Say

Top 40 pigment… The pigment provides a transparent alternative to orange iron oxide earths (e.g., burnt siennas) that mixes well with a wide range of other paints. Full strength it has a dark orange color that lightens to a dull scarlet, marvelous for sunset skies, desert cliffs and tanned skin; it shifts toward a pastel deep yellow in tints. It is relatively unresponsive in wet applications, and its transparency makes it marvelous for mixing subdued sap greens and dark blues. Well worth investigating. 

Bruce MacEvoy,

[Quinacridone burnt orange] is very close in color to the oranger-leaning PR101 burnt siennas and transparent orange or red iron oxide. It’s good for using in sunset or desert scenes, but you might recall me stating on the channel that I don’t really appreciate these oranger PR101 variants of burnt sienna. The reason for that is that I expect my burnt sienna to make wonderful grays when they’re mixed with their blue complement, and like these PR101s, PO48 does not particular neutralize well with just about any color that I’ve tried in order to make it gray. It does have absolutely gorgeous mixtures, though.

Denise Soden, Color Spotlight: Quinacridone Burnt Orange

Quinacridone Burnt Orange is a color I got a few years ago, and then very rarely touched when painting in the mountains of Washington. It is a beautiful color, but at home it muddied my mixtures for snowy mountains. In the desert, however, it was spectacular as an amazingly organic looking orange that also has a lovely luminosity and depth. It also mixes wonderfully with white gouache, and with reds or pinks creates awesome mauve and maroon tones. Of all the colors listed here, this is probably the one I used in the most paintings. 

Claire Giordano, Fall in the Southwest: Favorite Colors

My Review

PO48 Burnt Orange has the quality I love in an earth tone of being vibrant, fiery, and glowing! I can see why this is a fabulous color for the desert; it’s basically the color of the Delicate Arch, and its lovely granulation looks like sandstone.

That said, I did struggle with this one a bit. It seems to want to be fairly diluted to get the best results and nicest granulation. It’s difficult to get a masstone that isn’t gloppy, and difficult to find the sweet spot in between too diluted and too pasty.

It’s great as a soft glaze.

Fall lake silhouette. The sky is made from a gradient of Deep Scarlet and Green Gold (Nickel Azo Yellow). The black silhouette color is the same pair plus Prussian Blue. The entire thing is glazed with a light layer of Quin Burnt Orange to give it a warm glow.

I actually quite disagree with Denise Soden that it doesn’t make gray. I was very easily able to make a range of grays with my other autumn palette blues, especially Indanthrone.

Autumn foliage under a gray sky, painted with my Autumn Palette. The sky is Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Indanthrone Blue, and Cerulean Blue.

A concern with the pigment is whether it may, like the old Quin Gold (PO49), be discontinued. If you are worried about falling in love with a doomed pigment, I think PR101 is a safer bet.

On my palette: Not on my main, but on the Autumn Palette. To me, it’s close enough to Transparent Red Oxide that I feel like I need to pick one, and if I’m being honest, TRO has my heart. Partially because its more rusty shade is more similar to the types of colors I find naturally in my landscape (I am not in the desert), but mostly because I find TRO easier to work with. DV Burnt Sienna Deep is another great PR101 alternative that’s an even more similar hue but not granulating, which I use in the Summer Palette.

Favorite version: DS is the only one I have tried.

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