Mixing Oranges

Publié le par Désiré Herman

As you can see in the article on orange pigments, there are not so many. What's more, the difference between a vermilion and an Indian yellow is not big and the true orange is rare because rather yellowish or reddish.

Watercolor made with only 3 colors. One of them is Orange (PO62)
Watercolor made with only 3 colors. One of them is Orange (PO62)

In addition, if you want to obtain a transparent orange with granulation, there is no out of the tube. So we have to mix ...

In order to research the mixtures that can produce the orange hue, I created a color chart consisting of 5 yellows ranging from cold yellow to hot yellow 5 red or magenta.

I knew from my experience that mixing a little bit of Magenta to a neutral or warm yellow produces an orange, but I wanted to show the difference between the mixes with shades that are slightly different.

So I made a color chart a little special because instead of painting a box with the mixture of 2 colors, I opted to make a grid. Explanation; in each box of mixtures, I drew a grid. The first (top left) is a mixture of a lot of yellow and a little red. The second one, on the bottom left, is equal to the first mix but adding a little moore red. The third (top right) contains in little more red in the mix than the second and finaly I added red (bottom right).

The colors used are:

The yellows

Lemon Yellow: PY175 (Daniel Smith) - cold yellow
Yellow Azo: PY151 (Daniel Smith) - slightly cold neutral yellow
Cadmium yellow: PY35 (Isaro) - slightly warm neutral yellow
Permanent Yellow Permanent: PY110 (Daniel Smith) - Warm Yellow
Yellow Isoindoline: PY139 (Daniel Smith) - Warm reddish yellow

The Reds

Permanent Red; PR170 (Daniel Smith) - slightly warm neutral red
Scarlet Perylene; PR149 (Daniel Smith) - red hot
Quinacridone red; PV19 (Daniel Smith) - neutral red slightly cold
Quinacridone magenta: PR202 (Daniel Smith) - bluish cold red
Pyrrole Crimson: PR264 (Daniel Smith) - cold red

Mixing Reds & Yellow to obtain Orange
Mixing Reds & Yellow to obtain Orange


As lemon yellow is a color that has a very low value, it is found that the mixtures remain clear, with little vibrancy, but very interesting for mixtures of skin tones.

Yellow Azo, does not create a vibrant orange. The best results are the mixtures with the quinacridone red and the Pyrrole Crimson (the red color with the darkest value). Cadmium yellow, more neutral, produces good oranges, but due to its opacity, the mixtures are less vibrant than with transparent yellows.

The permanent dark yellow and the isoindoline yellow both produce vibrant and transparent oranges, ranging from neutral oranges to coral tones and scarlet & vermilion's.

I did not make this color chart with more color, to show you the trends in these mixes. I advise you to test yourself, with the colors red, yellow and magenta, you have, to repeat this test.

To complete this color chart and to prepare the color chart of orange / blue mixtures, I painted, below the red mixtures with the yellows, a color chart starting from an orange mixture (Isoindoline Yellow & Quinacridone Red) by gradually adding blue of manganese (PB15). It is clear that with an orange we easily obtain shades of earth color. The manganese blue, which is granulating, further increases the proximity with hers, shades by finishing to get a brown van Dijck to see a slightly bluish neutral gray.

Blends of Oranges with Violets and blue.

As I already mentioned in the article about colors created with orange pigments, I think it is essential to have at least one orange in its palette. An orange with some blues will create neutral tones and help create depth. On the other hand, they also produce earth tones, maroons, browns and sometimes dark natural greens.

To show you this, I created a table using 7 oranges, mono-pigment and 3 violet (mono-pigmented) and 6 transparent blue, semi-transparent and mono-pigmented.

I will tell you about my observations for each mixture. Just this explanation again. I dropped strokes starting at the top left with a mixture of orange with a little bit of the blue or purple concerned, then I made the following traits by adding more and more purple or blue.

Color Mixing Chart of Oranges with Violets & Blues
Color Mixing Chart of Oranges with Violets & Blues

Mixes with Gold Ocher

  • Violet Blue; We clearly see the result of the opacity of PY42. The mixture quickly turns to a dull brown.
  • Red Violet; More vibrant than the previous mixture, the chestnuts are more spaced to reach a variant of brown madder.
  • Violet Ultramarine; Variant of an ocher deep to a van Dijck brown without obtaining a neutrality; Indanthrene blue; varying from a more neutral ocher to an olive green before quickly gaining the upper hand
  • Ultramarine Blue; the ultramarine, more reddish, will tint the ocher and reach a neutral almost black. Phtalo blue, this mixture produces olive greens to finish with bluish dark greens.
  • Cobalt Blue; This mixture produces duller colors, because of the opacity of cobalt blue. The colors are duller but a variation of Sienna earth a little dark passing by colors of Shadow to get gray bluish.
  • Prussian Blue; Starting with a creation of earth tone of hers we arrive at green olives then dark green Hooker style to finish with a bluish dark green.
  • Manganese blue; This light blue produces beautiful mixtures, but a little opaque. Starting with a hue of Siena we arrive at shades and green lands to finish with a very beautiful natural green.
  • Phtalo Turquoise; The mixture travels the hues of earth, but is rather monotonous in the shades of green.

Mixes with Périnone Orange

  • Violet Blue; This orange is too powerful to allow variations. We quickly get an orange Terra Cotta style, but it is only by adding a little orange to this color that we obtain a tarnished violet than a darker brown.
  • Red Violet; This mix quickly shows a dark brick tone and then hardly evolves ...
  • Violet Ultramarine; Blends varies little but darken to a very dark brown.
  • Indanthrene blue; It varies from a dark orange to dark maroon and doesn’t reach neutral or black, but very dark dull violet.
  • Ultramarine Blue; As for the mixture with the Indanthrene, no neutrals but still closer. The evolution of mixes follows the same path as with indanthrene.
  • Phtalo blue; Tones of terra cotta with nuanced maroon before reaching slightly reddish neutrals to finish by obtaining the very dark blue.
  • Cobalt Blue; This mix always keeps a reddish sub-tone starting from an orange passing by a mauve, then brown to become purple.
  • Prussian Blue; Colder than Cobalt blue, Prussian blue is no longer neutralized by this orange without becoming neutral.
  • Manganese blue; Here, few variations in a mixture that produces only chestnuts
  • Phtalo Turquoise; The most interesting mix with this orange. Earth colors see Sienna burnt one arrives at deep maroon, style van Dijck to reach a neutral than a deep greenish blue.

Mixes with Quinacridone Gold

  • Violet Blue; The mix becomes dull and lifeless quickly if you add more purple.
  • Red Violet; a Monotonous mixture that varies little ...
  • Ultramarine Violet; A little more variation and value change compared to the previous mix. Indanthrene blue; This mixture produces greens dark, ranging from olive-green to dark bluish green.
  • Ultramarine Blue; We arrive almost at black. We start from a dark ocher passing through a shady ground becoming increasingly green and dark to end with a dark greenish blue.
  • Phtalo blue; A nice variation of a shade of earth followed by olive greens then green Hooker dark to reach a dark and tarnished turquoise.
  • Cobalt Blue; A variation here of earth colors, rather shade, varying to olive green more and more dark to obtain green enough neutral.
  • Prussian Blue; Greener variation with shades more defined than with the preceding mixture.
  • Manganese blue; A nice set of shades is produced with this mixture. We quickly get very nuanced greens to finish with turquoises.
  • Phtalo Turquoise; This mixture is very transparent and the slightest addition produces different shades. Very interesting for the landscapes.

Mixes with Pyrol PO71 Orange

  • Violet Blue; Very opaque but more vibrant than previous blends with violet blue
  • Red Violet; few changes in these mixes varying from a dark Terra Cotta hue that becomes a bit denser and turns slightly purple.
  • Ultramarine Violet; Here as for the previous mixture, the tones vary from a warm brown to a tarnished violet.
  • Bleu Indanthrène: Here we first obtain hot chestnuts to reach neutrality quickly and deep black but transparent.
  • Ultramarine Blue; Transparent terra cotta provides deep neutral, but always with a reddish sub-tone), ending with a warm dark blue. (Similar to Indanthrene Blue)
  • Phtalo blue; We quickly get a black to evolve to blue increasingly cold and all dark.
  • Cobalt Blue After a variation in the chestnuts one obtains neutrals with a purplish dominant to become dark dull purple.
  • Prussian blue This mixture produces neutral and dark browns after the burnt sienna, then almost black neutrals to a very dark blue.
  • Manganese blue; Starting from a slightly neutral, burnt Sienna earth, then a transparent dark brown one gets a nice gray before reaching a tarnished turquoise blue.
  • Phtalo Turquoise; Starting from a red burnt sienna, dark shadows and then bluish neutrals are obtained.

Mixes with the Permanent Orange PO62

  • Violet Blue; As this orange is almost opaque the result is even more, than the other mixtures with violet blue, dull close to the gouache.
  • Red Violet; Here also we obtain less transparent colors with a variation of a tarnished orange to a brownish violet.
  • Ultramarine Violet; A little more dominant blue in this mix compared to the previous one.
  • Indanthrene blue; Neutrals are obtained a little greenish after obtaining a tarnished ocher then a shade of earth to finish with neutrals and semi-transparent black.
  • Ultramarine Blue; Here we get black but in ocher tones, we can observe a semi-opacity.
  • Phtalo blue; a beautiful suite of tarnished tones that starts with a dark ocher passing through a land of shade and a green earth to reach a neutral green, tarnished turquoise and a dark blue cold.
  • Cobalt Blue; Here too, an issue with transparency. The semi-opacity of the mixture is best seen in earth tones, then the neutral suffers from this opacity before becoming dark blue.
  • Prussian Blue; A series of semi-transparent shades, but neutrals always keep a greenish tendency. Manganese blue, but opaque than some of the other mixtures, the variation of earth tones, then green is quite interesting
  • Phtalo Turquoise: Created earth tones are duller (near Shadow Earth), follow dull greens.

Mixes with Pyrrole Orange PO73

  • Violet Blue; The most vibrant blends with this blue-violet. Always stay opacity ...
  • Red Violet; From a Terra Cotta shade, this mixture progresses to a reddish purple.
  • Ultramarine Violet; Darker than the previous mixture, more stability of the mixtures is observed in tonal variation than in steps.
  • Indanthrene blue; Without arriving at a neutral or black, the mixtures approach it but a slight red dominant persists.
  • Ultramarine Blue; Less transparent we go through oranges more and more tarnished to obtain tarnished purple blues.
  • Phtalo blue As for the ultramarine blue, we get a progression of tarnished oranges (more than with the PB29) but we get a neutral with a slight reddish tendency.
  • Cobalt Blue; The dulled oranges are quite opaque and will gradually evolve to a dark muted purple.
  • Prussian Blue; As Prussian blue is a cold blue, I had hoped to get a beautiful black, but I must note that it does not happen. The transition jumps from dark Earth color to a very deep blue muted color.
  • Manganese blue; As this color is also a cold blue, but much brighter than the Prussian blue, we clearly see the same behavior the neutrals have a purplish tendency.
  • Phtalo Turquoise; The dominant reddish persists in all mixtures ...

Mixes with Transparent Orange PO107

  • Violet Blue; More transparent than all other blends but as soon as purple-blue takes over opacity increases.
  • Red Violet; Variation from a nuance Terre de Sienna burnt more and more tarnished one evolves towards dull purple tones.
  • Ultramarine Violet; Beautiful variation starting from Earth colors towards brown then almost neutral violet.
  • Indanthrene blue; Blacks and deep neutrals are obtained after a variation of tarnished orange, browns comparable to brown van Dijck to get these neutrals and blacks before getting a very deep blue Indigo shade ...
  • Ultramarine  Blue; Warmer and clearer than the mixture with Indanthrene blue. We get no black because a small reddish trend is still noticeable.
  • Phtalo blue; Mixture similar to Idanthrene blue but a small green dominance in neutrals
  • Cobalt Blue; Mixtures of Earth tones become more and more muted, and we obtain slightly purplish dark neutrals with a small reddish cast.
  • Prussian Blue; Very nice progression of lands and tarnished greens, but the dominant green persists in neutral. Manganese blue, earth tones more and more muted we move to the Earths with a greenish cast and darks to reach a tarnished turquoise.
  • Phtalo Turquoise; Earth tones then little green but a domination of the Phtalo Turquoise which brings us to deep Indigo style blue.


I confirm that having one, or even 2 oranges, in his palette can be very interesting. Oranges can mute, neutralize or even accentuate blues and purples. Orange also allows you to vary so-called earth tones and create many shades in these muted oranges that are often these Earth Colors.

Which One to Choose?   ...

As with almost all watercolor paints, prefer single-pigmented and transparent colors. This is a guarantee to create vibrant and transparent mixes. For the choice, I do leave you the choice.

I only present part of the possibilities. There are other shades of blue and orange that you definitely have favorites!

It all depends on the purple or blue colors you use. By comparing with my tests and samples you can more easily find which brand or pigment is right for you.

If I have preferences myself?

Certainly, but this is related to my palette. Although having retained the PO62 for my color palette, I must note that the PO107 and a little less the PO73 is better for me to mix my blues to create my earth tones and my neutrals. But also the PO49 (which is no longer available) for the greens that can be achieved with.

So you see, it's personal. The only advice I can give you, use my research as a red thread and adapt them to your preferences and test ... test.


Publié dans English, Mixing

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