Color Spotlight: Quinacridone Coral (PR209)

Daniel Smith Quinacridone Coral: gradient, opacity and glazing tests, color mixes

I just love this unique color. It’s a warm pinky red, yellow-toned, but not in orangey way. It truly is coral. It reminds of a cherry Italian soda. It’s a great color for flowers, the inside of a strawberry, and coral of course!

Experiment Results

Gradient: Bold gradient from a deep, juicy orange-red to pale salmon pink via true coral.

Opacity: Totally transparent.

Glazing: Glazes to a bold orange-red.

Page 2 of experiments: another glaze, 3 step color mixes, salt, and blooms

Salt: Reacts nicely to salt creating sparkling texture

Blooms: Pretty and complex fractal bloom shapes.

Comparison to Other Colors

Quin Rose & Scarlet Lake/Vermilion

From left: DS Quin Rose, DS Quin Coral, WN Scarlet Lake

Being a bold, transparent, pink Quinacridone, this is a natural counterpart to Quin Rose, but much more orange-toned.

However, it is pinker and not as orangeish or as reddish as Scarlet Lake (PR188) aka Vermilion. (FYI, Pyrrol Scarlet is roughly the same hue as Scarlet Lake.)

Schmincke – Quinacridone Red Light (PR207)

Schmincke Horadam – Quinacridone Red Light (PR207)

Schmincke doesn’t offer a PR209, but they offer a similar color, PR207. It has lower tinting strength than PR209 and, in this version at least, seems a bit more orangey.

Comparison to Other Brands

Da Vinci – Quinacridone Red

DV Quin Red vs. Daniel Smith Quin Coral

Da Vinci Quin Red is the same pigment. I wrote “watery/hard to rewet, not as nice as DS QC.” Though, when dry, I think the DV one looks better because it’s smoother and not as streaky.


Lightfastness test for DV Quin Red (PR209). Left: window swatch, exposed to western light in Boston, MA, from May 30-December 9, 2023. Right: Protected strip.

It doesn’t photograph as different as it looks in real life. There is noticeable muting in the exposed swatch. It is simply dulled compared to the protected strip, not as fantastically bright.

Holbein – Quinacridone Scarlet

Holbein – Quinacridone Scarlet

This one also is prone to streakiness; I had a bit of trouble getting up a good masstone. It’s cooler (bluer/pinker) than DS Quin Coral, not as orange.

Multi-Brand Comparison

PR209 comparison. From left: Da Vinci Quin Red; Daniel Smith Quin Coral; Holbein Quin Scarlet; Mission Gold Quin Cherry Red.

Looking at these all together, I can see that:

  • Da Vinci is the smoothest
  • Daniel Smith is among the weakest, the most orange-tinted, and the most textured
  • Holbein is somewhat streaky and requires some work to get a good masstone, but it’s possible.
  • Mission Gold is very similar to Holbein, a bit stronger and more orangey, and also a bit streaky.

Color Mixes

These are done with DS Quin Coral.

Lemon Yellow

Lemon Yellow + Quin Coral
Winsor Lemon (PY175) + DS Quin Coral (PR209) on Arches

Extremely bold, nearly neon oranges! QC makes the brightest oranges I know of, except those from the literally fluorescent Opera Pink.

Rich Green Gold

Rich Green Gold + Quin Coral
DV Green Gold (PY129) + Quin Coral (PR209) on Arches

The balanced mix is a sort of fawn brown.

Quinacridone Gold (PY150, PO48)

DV Quin Red (PR209) + DS Quin Gold (PY150, PO48) on Canson XL

Deep, intense, somehow simultaneously neon and earthy! This is the combo that DS uses for Quinacridone Sienna, and it’s perfect for sun-drenched canyons.

Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7)

Monte Amiata Natural Sienna + Quin Coral
DS Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7) + DS Quin Coral (PR209) on Arches

A bit less glowing and more earthy than the Quin Sienna mix above, but still intense.

Transparent Red Oxide (PR101)

Transparent Red Oxide + Quin Coral
DS Transparent Red Oxide (PR101) + DS Quin Coral (PR209) on Arches

I’m trying to look beyond the fact that I hate the dull-to-bold gradient, but I think these mixes are pretty perfect brick reds.

Potter’s Pink

MaimeriBlu Potter’s Pink (PR233) + DS Quin Coral (PR209)

The contrast between dull and bold in this combination also seems really awkward to me, and I don’t see anything particularly nice about the brown-dusted-pink mixes.

Purple Magenta

Quin Coral + Purple Magenta
DS Quinacridone Coral (PR209) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

QC needs to be treated as a “coral pink”, not a red-orange. With Magenta, it becomes rose pink, not red. This combination to me is a very very close Quinacridone Rose hue.

Indanthrone Blue

DS Indanthrone Blue (PB60) + DS Quin Coral (PR209) on Arches CP

Muted purples, though this bolder than I would expect from a red-orange and an inherently muted purple-blue. I like these mixes for “purple mountain majesty” colors. The gradient itself looks really nice to me for a night sky/late sunset, if you flip it 90 degress to put the QC along the horizon and the Indanthrone up in the zenith.

Ultramarine Blue

HO Ultramarine Deep (PB29) + DS Quin Coral (PR209) on Arches CP

These purples are, as one would expect, more muted than Ultramarine’s mixes with, say, Purple Magenta or Quin Rose. But – not as much as you’d expect! Most red-oranges, like Pyrrol Scarlet and Vermilion, will mix to grays or browns with blues. For a red-orange, Quin Coral mixes really purpley purples.

Cobalt Blue

DS Quin Coral (PR209) + DV Cobalt Blue (PB28) on Arches CP

Surprisingly bold purples! Unusually, these purples feel bolder and brighter to me than those with Ultramarine (a more purple toned blue).

Cobalt Turquoise

DS Quin Coral (PR209) + SH Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) on Wonder Forest paper

Very muted lilac purple colors.


DS Quin Coral (PR209) + WN Viridian (PG18) on Arches CP

These get into fairly neutral grays. In dilute, the green pigment floats.

My Review

I love this color! I loved it from the first moment I swatched it out in the Daniel Smith Dot Cards, although at the time I didn’t have a specific use for it – until I started using it in sunrises/sunsets. Then, WOW! It is just the perfect mixer color for a fiery orange skies and cotton candy clouds! It mixes up this wonderful luminous, fiery yet delicate, fading-light color.

Winter Sunrise. November 7, 2022. Vibrant cotton candy cloud colors from Quin Coral, Quin Rose, and Lemon Yellow. Dark black silhouette from gouache.

It’s also great for alpenglow.

Notes on Alpenglow. November 24, 2022. I mixed Quin Coral with Quin Rose, but then wished I’d just used straight Quin Coral!

It mixes the most vibrant oranges. It even makes purple! Who ever heard of an orange-red that mixes purple? Again, this makes it great in a sky – you can put it down right next to blue and it will fade to a pleasant muted purple in the middle instead of gray like most scarlets.

Skyscape for #magrish_challenge_sky. November 29, 2022. Quinacridone Coral is the red toward the top; next to Indigo, it fades naturally to a muted purple.

It especially came into its own in desert painting. It mixes the perfect bold sandstone color with Quin Burnt Orange (PO48).

In this desert canyon practice piece from November 8, 2022. The strikingly orange line in the middle is a mix of Quin Burnt Orange and Quin Coral.

Quin Coral does not take over all the use cases of a traditional scarlet (Naphthol Scarlet (PR188), Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255), Deep Scarlet (PR175), Perylene Scarlet (PR149), etc.) I could not use it to mix a middle red or a traditional warm red because it’s so pink – it mixes up a wide range of pinks and even purples, which may be what you want if you’re mixing flower colors, etc., but does not go red. Also, you can’t expect it to mute blues, because it will go purple instead!

On my palette? Yes! On nearly all of my palettes tbh. One of my top colors.

Favorite version: Da Vinci – it’s just so gloriously smooth. DS has a nice hue but can be streaky.

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