Previously, I’ve asked What’s the difference between MANS and Yellow Ochre? Today, I’m adding a couple more earth yellows for a big showdown between Da Vinci Yellow Ochre, Da Vinci Raw Sienna Deep, Daniel Smith Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (MANS), and Da Vinci Raw Sienna. Which of these belongs in the earth yellow slot in my palette?
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?
It’s the battle of the granulating earth oranges!
It’s no secret that my favorite earth yellow is Daniel Smith’s Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7). But I also like a yellow ochre; for example, Holbein’s Yellow Ochre (PY42). They’re so similar that I wouldn’t want to have both in my palette at the same time, so which should I choose? Which is better in which situation?
In my article on earth tones, I reviewed some common earth tones that you might have in your palette. But I also stressed that you don’t need all of them; you might just pick your favorites and mix the hues of the others.
So, how exactly do you mix up those various brown hues? If you have only one earth tone, what should it be? Which single earth tone gives you the greatest ability to mix a range of different browns?
Shortly after gathering my first six paints, I began to wonder about earth tones. What’s the deal with them? Do I need them? What are they good for? What are my options? How come other people seem to intuitively know the difference between “raw umber” and “burnt sienna”? What are the common, typical earth tones that teachers and tutorial designers may expect me to have in my palette, and if I don’t have them, what substitutions can I make? Which earth tones are equivalent? I’m here to answer my past self’s questions – and, maybe, yours!
Previously: After swatching out all the colors from my 238-color Dot Card, I gave my thoughts on all the exciting color categories: yellow, red, purple, and so on. Now, I give my thoughts on the earth tones and grays. I know these can be important colors, especially in realistic landscape and portrait paintings (neither of which I have admittedly really done), but gosh, it’s hard to get excited about them.
Since I started painting I have actively resisted getting into earth tones and browns; the closest I get is having Quinacridone Gold which many people would consider more of a warm yellow. I just always want bright colors instead! Which is honestly not a bad impulse in watercolor, because you can always make muted tones from brights (by mixing complementary colors), but you cannot go the other way around. Anyway, life’s too short to buy paints that don’t spark joy.
But maybe I am missing something? Maybe earth tones CAN spark joy? Will this dot card change my mind??!