red white blue

Paints: Hooray for the Red, White and Blue.

I thought for the fourth of July I would do something different, talk about some of the pigments of paint in the colors of red, white and blue.

First, I want to break the paints into three groups, opaque, semi-transparent and transparent. Then tell you if they are cool or warm within their color family.


Transparent pigments:

Alizarine Crimson:  A cooler red with some blue in it. High tinting  strength.

Alizarine Permanent: Cool with some blue in it also, a little less tinting strength than alizarine carimson

Perylene Red: A warm red,  use it  in place of cadmium red dark to get a brighter color, high tinting strength.

Quinacridone Red:  A cool red with blue undertones, high tinting strength.

Quinacridone Rose: A cool red with a high tinting strength.

Permanent Rose: A cool blue, mix with blue for beautiful violets

Scarlet Lake: A cool red with very high tinting strength.

Semi-transparent pigments:

Napthol Red: A warm red with a little yellow

Napthol Scarlet: A warm red, intense in color

Opaque pigments

Cadmium Red Light: A warm red with yellow in it. When mixed with white, it becomes very weak in color

Cadmium Red Medium: A warm red, but darker that Cadmium Red Light

Cadmium Red Dark: A warm, muted red

Vermillion: A warm red, bright and intense


Transparent pigments

Flake white: warm in color, weak in mixing. Not used widely. Most newer mixtures do not have lead in them, so check  the manufacturer’s ingredients

Semi-transparent pigments

Mixed white: Depends on the manufacturer, how much of the mixture is transparent and how much is opaque.

Opaque pigments

Titanium white: Cool in color, vary opaque and high tinting strength


Transparent pigments

Ultramarine Blue: One of the most transparent of blues. It has a little red in it making it a warm blue. Use it to mix beautiful violets with alizarine crimson.

French Ultramarine: Has a little more violet in it than ultramarine.

Pthalo Blue: a warm blue, that is closer to a pure, clean color than prussian blue and has a high tinting strength.

Prussian Blue: Very transparent, a cool blue that is more muted in color than pthalo blue and has a high tinting strength.

Semi-transparent pigments

Cobalt Blue: This is the closest to a “true blue”, which makes it neither warm or cool. It is a color that can’t be mixed, so is good to use when you want a true blue.

Manganese Blue: A cool blue with undertones of green, works well painting skies.

Cerulean Blue Hue: A cool blue with undertones of green. The hue has a higher tining stength than Cerulean Blue

Opaque pigments

Cerulean Blue: A cool blue. Very muted, so best kept mixed simply. It will dilute when mixed with other colors, on the cool side

These are just a few of the red, white and blue pigments available. There are variations between different brands. This is just a general overview of some of the colors.

Have a great Fourth of July this year!

Talk to you all later.


Learn How to Paint Clouds

Painting in Rocky Mountain National Park Click here to Learn more

You can now buy my new book that is given FREE to all my on -site workshop students


JUST $14.95 and now available in paperback $19.95

ebook cover

Receive an email with the latest Easel Note

The latest newsletter with workshops, news and paintings
guaranteed no more than two a month