View Full Version : Winsor & Newton Artist Oil - Chrome Yellow Hue and Bright Red question

Richard P
01-19-2019, 04:38 AM
Hi all,

I see from W&N's colour chart that Chrome Yellow Hue is a Series 1 colour (PY74/PO62). Has anyone tried it to see how it compares to the more expensive Winsor Yellow (PY74) which is a Series 2 colour? I imagine the pigment load is less, but wondered how much different it is.

I have a similar question about Bright Red (S1 colour) which is PR254. How does it compare in terms of mixing/opacity to Winsor Red (S2 colour, PR255/PR254) or Scarlet Lake (S1 colour) which is PR255?


01-19-2019, 09:00 AM
In short, the quality of paint rarely has anything to do with Series... which is solely about how much it cost to make the paint, and thus how much it will cost to buy the paint. Mixes sometimes cost more than a single pigment because more labor required to mix the pigments in proper ratios. On the other hand they can cost less if the pigment ratio is such that an inexpensive pigment is heavier loaded in the paint than the more expensive one (by a significant amount).

There are a number of other factors as well, being that of sourcing and what special pricing they may have received from their supplier. Those would affect the Series labeling as well. Basically, there are a number of factors that could affect the cost of the paint, so Series should functionally have practically no affect on the handling of the paint at all.

Now as to the question of how they compare to each other.... That is a good question. Unfortunately I do not have tubes of each to test myself right now. I am still sitting on a lot of unused paint that I am trying to use up, sold off my W&N awhile back to a student who was picking up oil painting.

Richard P
01-19-2019, 11:37 AM
Thanks Delo. :)

I don't take much credence with relating quality to series numbers. But as it is cheaper for the series 1 colours, I wondered how they compared.

01-19-2019, 04:54 PM
I am interested to see if there is any difference as well actually, Sid might have some swatches around somewhere. I seem to recall him having more of the W&N paints than I used to.

01-19-2019, 04:59 PM
Of those, I only have W&N PR255 (Scarlet Lake). It is a high-chroma red that leans orange, but not as orange as classical Vermilion. It is "semi-opaque" meaning that it it more like opaque than transparent, but does not have the hiding power of something such as the very opaque Venetian Red. PR255 may seem to be more opaque than it really is, due to high chroma.

My experience using it is very limited. As a mixing color, I've only tried it with cloely-related colors to produce red veraying from Crimson to Scarlet. Mixed with white, its color closely resembles the pink color of baby blouses (at least around here), rather than the pink color of some roses.

When I tried mixing it with faraway colors (blues, greens) I did not find the results to be very useful. That is, I had better flexibility with Quinacridone. Your opinion may differ.

Richard P
01-19-2019, 05:58 PM
Thank you for that. I take it no one also has the Series 2 Winsor Red to see the difference in opacity (and therefore pigmentation)?

01-20-2019, 05:23 AM
I have PR254 Bright Red in WN and have had PR254/255 Perm Red in Rembrandt and PR255 Perm Red in Lukas.
The 255 pigment is more orange leaning and the 254 is more violet leaning, I can't tell any mixing or opacity difference, mainly just the color difference.
Here are a few mixes from a while ago, not the best photo though:
blue then yellow was added going up, and white was added going down, pure red is in the middle.
They are arranged pretty much from the left, more violet leaning, and to the right, more orange leaning.
I think nowadays Rembrandt has a medium, light, and dark, and the Perm Red Med may be just PR255.
I used to have a tube of the Chrome Yellow Hue, it was of course orange leaning where as Winsor Yellow is more middle yellow.

Richard P
01-20-2019, 06:22 AM
Thank you Sid! Even though there are different brands it is interesting you couldn't tell any opacity difference between the Bright Red W&N and the Perm Red in Rembrandt (which are series 3 colours now)

01-21-2019, 11:15 AM
I reached out to W&N regarding this actually, they got back to me that Series really only refer to the costs to make a color. It rarely has impact regarding the actual pigment content, since that will be different for each color as the optimal pigment : oil loading ratio varies from pigment to pigment (which will of course have some affect on the Series number). They also indicated that several of the colors with mixes may be more or less expensive to make depending on how they need to mill them to get the paints to the proper consistency.

In short, Series are defined by costs involved in making the paint: pigment, binder, and labor costs. Series have little to do with handling, opacity, coverage, or other properties which are generally down to the nature of the pigment and binder themselves (unadulterated of course).

Also, they do not currently have samples of these colors to try... I asked just to see. :)

Richard P
01-21-2019, 12:29 PM
Thanks Delo, but that statement from them still doesn't seem right to me.

They have PR254 as a series 1 (Bright Red)
They have PR255 as a series 1 (Scarlet Lake)

Then they have PR254/PR255 as a Series 2 (Winsor Red)

So either there is more pigment in Winsor Red, or it costs that much more to mix the two pigments together (doubtful to me considering other Series 1 mix colours), or we are paying more for the mix being more predictable in the hue change when tinting.

01-21-2019, 02:51 PM
They said pretty much that actually, there is some cost involved with creating the consistent color of Winsor Red; in mixing the two pigments and extra work involved in achieving the right proportions. Basically we are paying for consistency in color there, as we could mix it ourselves but probably less consistently.

Richard P
01-21-2019, 02:58 PM
Ok, I see.. :)

01-21-2019, 03:30 PM
Thanks Delo, but that statement from them still doesn't seem right to me.

They have PR254 as a series 1 (Bright Red)
They have PR255 as a series 1 (Scarlet Lake)

Then they have PR254/PR255 as a Series 2 (Winsor Red)
Scarlet Lake is series 2 which invalidates your conclusion.

Usually mixture has the highest series of its ingredients. If mix has lower series then it's most likely extended (for example Manganese Blue Hue series 1 whereas Phathalos are series 2).

In some brands particular mixtures have higher series than ingredients (e.g. MH Kings Blue is series 2 whereas its ingredients are series 1).

Richard P
01-21-2019, 04:33 PM
Ah yes you are right.. my bad! :)