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Transparent Watercolor

Transparent Red Watercolor

Transparent red watercolor paints are either staining or non-staining. In addition, there are semi-transparent red watercolors.

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Transparent Non-Staining Red Watercolor Paints

PERMANENT ROSE

Permanent Rose contains Quinacridone Violet (PV19) and Quinacridone Red (PR192) pigments, producing a red color with a hint of red.

ROSE MADDER GENUINE

Rose Madder Genuine contains NR9-Rose Madder pigment, a crimson violet color resembling rose pink.

Transparent Staining Red Watercolor Paints

ALIZARIN CRIMSON

Alizarin Crimson contains PR83-Alizarin Crimson pigment, a clear ruby-red with a maroon masstone and a bluish undertone.

WINSOR RED

Winsor Red contains PR254-Pyrrole Red pigment, a highly staining, saturated mid-shade red color.

In addition to transparent non-staining red, there are semi-transparent red watercolors.

Semi-Transparent Non-Staining Red Watercolor Paints

QUINACRIDONE BURNT SCARLET

Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet contains PR206-Quinacridone Pyrrolidine Red pigment, a deep maroon or bordeaux red color.

VERMILION

Vermilion contains PR108-Cadmium Red pigment, a bright, warm red color.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

In addition, Daniel Smith has a transparent synthetic version of red iron oxide called Transparent Red Oxide. It has mostly replaced natural red iron oxides and is brighter and more permanent.

Red Color Scheme

Want to know what colors work well with red? See my Alizarin Crimson blog post.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Transparent Watercolor Paints List” for more videos about transparent colors. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Transparent Watercolor

Transparent Blue Watercolor

Transparent blue watercolor paints are either staining or non-staining. In addition, there are semi-transparent blue watercolors.

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Transparent Non-Staining Blue Watercolor Paints

COBALT BLUE

Cobalt Blue contains PB28-Cobalt Blue pigment. Jim Kosvanec Transparent Color Wheel lists Cobalt Blue as transparent non-staining. But, paint manufacturers label it as semi-transparent. It is commonly used as a pure color for glazing and for painting sky in landscapes. The pigment particles are large and grainy so it leaves a granulated effect on watercolor paper.

Transparent Staining Blue Watercolor Paints

WINSOR BLUE

Winsor Blue comes in two shades: Red Shade and Green Shade. Both paints contain PB15-Phthalo Blue pigments and are very strong staining transparent colors.

INDANTHRENE BLUE

Indanthrene Blue contains PB60-Indanthrene Blue pigment. It is a deep transparent blue with a tinting strength that is less overpowering than Winsor Blue. Its best mixing complements are Hansa Yellow Deep and Raw Umber.

In addition to transparent non-staining blue, there are semi-transparent blue watercolors.

Semi-Transparent Non-Staining Blue Watercolor Paints

ANTWERP BLUE

Antwerp Blue contains PB27-Antwerp Blue pigment. It is a slightly warm blue that is lighter than Prussian Blue. Lightfastness and permanence are good, but it has a tendency to fade when exposed to light. So, it is not considered ideal for permanent painting.

PRUSSIAN BLUE

Prussian Blue contains PB27-Prussian Blue pigment. It is a semi-transparent watercolor with a deep cyan-blue hue and greenish undertone. It is similar to Phthalo Blue.

CYANINE BLUE

Cyanine Blue contains two pigments: PB15:1-Phthalo Blue & PB28-Cobalt Blue. The PB15:1 pigment produces more reddish tones making Cyanine Blue a warmer blue color.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

Blue Color Scheme

Want to know what colors work well with blue? See my Winsor Blue blog post.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Transparent Watercolor Paints List” for more videos about transparent colors. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Transparent Watercolor

Transparent Green Watercolor

Transparent green watercolor paint types are either non-staining or staining. In addition, there are semi-transparent green watercolors.

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Transparent Non-Staining Green Watercolor Paints

HOOKER’S GREEN

Hooker’s Green contains two pigments: PG36-Phthalo Green & PO49-Quinacridone Gold. Both pigments are transparent. Hooker’s Green is considered a very good alternative to Viridian because the Phthalo Green pigment in it is intense and mixes well. And, the Quinacridone Gold, a transparent yellow-orange pigment, in Hooker’s Green makes it is a warmer green watercolor paint.

VIRIDIAN

Viridian contains PG18-Viridian pigment. It is transparent with an emerald green undertone perfect for glazing. Viridian is a cool, primary green commonly used in landscape painters’ palettes.

Transparent Staining Green Watercolor Paints

WINSOR GREEN

Winsor Green comes in two shades: Yellow Shade and Blue Shade. Both paints are very strong staining transparent colors. The Phthalo Green pigment in Winsor Green is a transparent, cool, bright, high-intensity color with a very high tinting strength that can overpower other colors.

PERMANENT GREEN NO. 1

Permanent Green No. 1 contains three pigments: PG7-Phthalo Green, PY53-Nickel Titanium Yellow & PY3-Hansa Yellow 10G. The Phthalo Green pigment in Permanent Green No. 1 is a transparent, cool, bright, high-intensity color. The addition of Nickel Titanium Yellow and Hansa Yellow pigments add brightness and transparency to Permanent Green No. 1 watercolor paint.

In addition to transparent non-staining green, there are semi-transparent green watercolors.

Semi-Transparent Non-Staining Green Watercolor Paints

GREEN GOLD

Green Gold contains PY129-Green Gold pigment, a greenish yellow pigment with low tinting strength. It’s a hue reminiscent of the glow of sunlight through leaves.

SAP GREEN

Sap Green contains three pigments: PR122-Quinacridone Magenta, PG7-Phthalo Green & PY150-Nickel Azo Yellow. Quinacridone Magenta pigment is a semi-transparent and powerful bluish red which gives Sap Green a darker green hue. And, the Nickel Azo Yellow pigment adds warmth, making Sap Green a good color match for botanical and landscape painting.

Purchase watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

Green Color Scheme

Want to know what colors work well with green? See my Viridian blog post.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Transparent Watercolor Paints List” for more videos about transparent colors. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Transparent Watercolor

Transparent Yellow Watercolor

Transparent yellow watercolor paint types are either non-staining or staining. In addition, there is a semi-transparent yellow watercolor.

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Transparent Non-Staining Yellow Watercolor Paint

AUREOLIN

Auerolin contains PY40-Cobalt Yellow pigment. It is a very pure, transparent yellow watercolor.

Transparent Staining Yellow Watercolor Paint

WINSOR YELLOW

Winsor Yellow contains PY154-Benzimidazolone Yellow pigment. It is a very strong staining transparent yellow watercolor.

In addition to transparent non-staining yellow, there is a semi-transparent yellow watercolor.

Semi-Transparent Non-Staining Yellow Watercolor Paint

NEW GAMBOGE

New Gamboge contains two pigments: PR209-Quinacridone Red & PY150-Nickel Azo Yellow. It has low tinting strength.

Purchase these yellow watercolor paints using my affiliate links below:

Yellow Color Scheme

Want to know what colors work well with yellow? See my Aureolin blog post.

To learn more about transparent watercolors, click the link to my blog post “Which watercolor paints are transparent.”

See my YouTube playlist “Transparent Watercolor Paints List” for more videos about transparent colors. And, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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Transparent Watercolor Watercolor Paint

Which Watercolor Paints Are Transparent

I first learned which watercolor paints are transparent by reading Jim Kosvanec’s book, “Transparent Watercolor Wheel: A Logical and Easy-to-use System for Taking the Guesswork out of Mixing Colours” (affiliate link) first published by Watson-Guptill on May 1, 1994. They republished it in paperback on April 15, 2000. However, both editions are no longer in print. But, you can buy it from used book dealers on Amazon. You can also borrow a copy from your local public library.

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You can also determine what watercolors are transparent by downloading color charts from brand-name watercolor paint companies. My favorite brands are Winsor Newton and Holbein. Follow the links below to download their color charts:

Jim Kosvanec’s Color Choices

Jim Kosvanec did extensive studies of watercolor paints and developed a color chart that categorizes color names into “rings” on a color wheel, as follows:

  • Ring 1 – Transparent Non-Staining
  • Ring 2 – Simi-Transparent Non-Staining
  • Ring 3 – Transparent Staining
  • Ring 4 – Semi-Opaque & Opaque
  • Ring 5 – Whitened & Blackened

Transparent Watercolor Colors

There are two groups of transparent watercolor colors. They are “non-staining” and “staining” found in Ring 1 and Ring 3 of Jim Kosvanec’s color wheel.

Ring 1 – Transparent Non-Staining Colors

Ring 3 – Transparent Staining Colors

Beware When Mixing Transparent Staining Colors

Transparent staining colors in Ring 3 only mix well with other staining colors in the same Ring 3. If you try to mix Ring 3 colors with Ring 1 transparent non-staining colors, the staining color will overpower the non-staining colors. They will also overpower other colors in Ring 2 and 4.

Mixing Ring 1 & Ring 2 Colors

To quote Jim on what colors mix well, he said:

Transparents mix or glaze with other transparents without restrictions. Transparents mix well with all others pigments except staining colors, which can “dye” them. Semi-transparents may be used like transparents but with more restraint.

~ Jim Kosvanec

Ring 2 – Semi-Transparent Colors

Here are the semi-transparent watercolors Jim Kosvanec classified as Ring 2 on his color wheel. These colors mix well with Ring 1 transparent colors identified above.

I use Ring 1 transparent non-staining colors for glazing my first layers of color. Then I add colors from Ring 2 for depth and darker tones where needed. And, for my darkest darks, I use colors from Ring 3 sparingly. To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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