Transparent Color

What is transparent color?

Think of it as thin layers of colored glass that you can see through to the reflective paper surface underneath creating a jewel-like effect.
These make for some of the cleanest color mixes. Without turning muddy.

On the other hand Opaque colors on are heavier denser and cover more but if you mix too many together the color can get more muddy.

Here is how you can tell.
The quickest way is to look at the symbols on the side of the tube of paint.  It will usually say or have a symbol 

  T    (transparent) 

  ST   (semi transparent) 

SO   (semi opaque) 

  O  (opaque)

If by chance you want to increase the colors transparency and luminosity then add a little Gum Arabic to the color mix.

Testing your colors
If you do not have a chart or it is not clearly indicated you can do your own testing. Paint a black line on piece of paper using India ink, let dry, then using different watercolors with a reasonable amount of water dilute the color so it flows easily, then paint over the strip. Once dry if you can easily see the black line the color is transparent, if you see a hint of color this would be semi transparent, others where the strip is not or hardly visible would be opaque. If needed you can add a little Gum Arabic to a color wash to give it greater transparency.

Transparent Colors - Are wonderful for paintings with multiple glazes transparent, they are bright and clean.
Winsor Lemon, Winsor Yellow, Aureolin, Transparent Yellow, New Gamboge, Winsor Yellow Deep, Indian Yellow, Scarlet Lake, Winsor Red, Rose DorĂ©, Quinacridone Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Carmine, Permanent Rose, Rose Madder Genuine, Opera Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Magenta, Cobalt Violet, Permanent Mauve, Ultramarine Violet, Winsor Violet (Dioxazine), Indanthrene Blue, Cobalt Blue Deep, French Ultramarine, Ultramarine (Green Shade), Cobalt Blue, Winsor Blue (Red Shade), Antwerp Blue, Prussian Blue, Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Phthalo Turquoise, Winsor Green (Blue Shade), Viridian, Winsor Green (Yellow Shade), Perylene Green, Hooker’s Green, Permanent Sap Green, Green Gold, Raw Sienna, Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Brown Madder, Perylene, Maroon, Perylene Violet, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber

Opaque Colours  - Can change the tone of the painting
Lemon Yellow (Nickle Titanate), Bismuth Yellow, Cadmium Lemon, Lemon Yellow Deep, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Turner’s Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Orange, Winsor Orange, Winsor Orange (Red Shade), Cadmium Scarlet, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Red Deep, Winsor Red Deep, Cerulean Blue (Red Shade), Cerulean Blue, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Green, Oxide of Chromium, Naples Yellow, Naples Yellow Deep, Yellow Ochre Light, Yellow Ochre, Magnesium Brown, Light Red, Venetian Red, Indian Red, Sepia, Indigo,


  1. How wonderful to have this list. Thanks for sharing.


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