• Yufen Zha

Color Talk: Daniel Smith Opera Pink and Schmincke Transparent Orange



I have long used Daniel Smith Opera Pink and Schmincke Transparent Orange; both are such surreal colors.


Opera Pink is the most vivid of all pinks I have ever seen. It's a primary magenta with a hint of fluorescent pink granulation. Mix it with yellows for glowing oranges or with blues for brilliant violets and purples.

It's a very useful color for both background and focal point when I want to give my painting that "oomph". You can layer it beautifully and the pigment is easily lifted when wet.



A good orange is hard to come by so when I found Transparent Orange, I was ecstatic. This paint is a brilliant orange-red, very clean and transparent. It adds a vibrant warmth when mixing with other colors.

It's a dazzling color for large background splashes as well as foreground subjects. What sold me on this color is a bird-of-paradise painting I came across on the Internet (couldn't find the artist's name at the moment), but it's equally breath-taking when I used it for backgrounds with bright fall foliage. After much research and experimentation, I decided it's a color that's worth taking up a permanent spot in my palette.


Even though I loved and used both colors for a long while, I never thought of using them together until I saw a Jean Haines video where she introduced the two colors together in a painting. It was like a lightbulb that suddenly went off in my head. Using both my favorite colors on the same focal point or background is like having my birthday on Christmas: double the happiness and excitement!


"You Are What You Eat", watercolor on paper, 6" x 15"


Above is one of the paintings I did after my lightbulb moment. There are only four colors in this painting. I used both Opera Pink and Transparent Orange as the main pigments, and Moonglow for the beak and Cad Yellow for the eye. You can clearly see how Opera Pink and Transparent Orange interact and mingle to work as a whole. The way the pigments react to water to create those water spots is especially intriguing and pleasing to me.


This is a Valentine's Day card that I painted for one of my beginner watercolor paint-along sessions (check out our events page to register for the next free virtual paint along session where I guide you step-by-step to create similar paintings). Again both Opera Pink and Transparent Orange are the star of the show here. The difference between this painting and the above flamingo painting is that in this painting both paints are used on the background as well to bring harmony to the painting as a whole.


(for those of you who are interested in trying out this painting, hop over to my YouTube channel and check out the time-lapsed video tutorial.)




"Love Is Us", watercolor on paper, 4" x 8"


(Please note that Opera Pink is a fugitive color. This means the pigment will fade over time, especially when it's exposed to direct sun. I would recommend spraying paintings with fugitive colors using Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Acrylic Coating which will protect the painting against fading.)


I hope you learned something new from this post and would consider giving these two colors a try. Please remember to subscribe to the site so you won't miss any future tutorials.


Until next time... happy creating!



I’ve included in this post a few affiliate links for the paints and products I love.


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