View Full Version : Color Substitutes

05-11-2007, 10:45 PM
Looking for Suggestions

Right now I am trying to find some substitute colors for Aureolin and Permanent Rose using what I already have available. Would Vanadium Yellow or Winsor Yellow be ok for the Aureolin? Would Winsor Vermillion or Winsor Quinacridone Red be ok for the Permanent Rose/Deep Rose Red?



Richard Saylor
05-12-2007, 12:28 AM
...Right now I am trying to find some substitute colors for Aureolin and Permanent Rose using what I already have available. Would Vanadium Yellow or Winsor Yellow be ok for the Aureolin? Would Winsor Vermillion or Winsor Quinacridone Red be ok for the Permanent Rose/Deep Rose Red?...Winsor Yellow is a good substitute for Aureolin. Ouinacridone Magenta (PR122) is the best substitute for Permanent Rose. If you don't have Quinacridone Magenta, Quinacridone Red will make a better substitute than Vermillion.

You can make a fairly good approximation to Permanent Rose with Quinacridone Red mixed with a little (French) Ultramarine Blue.

05-12-2007, 10:03 AM
If you happen to have the newer W/N Transparent yellow, this should be a great substitute for Aureolin! (It's very much more transparent and a bit greener than Winsor yellow, just like actual aureolin -- which is fugitive, so best not to use it even if you had it.)

The Perm. Rose is much bluer than Quin. red, as Richard notes, so adding a slight touch of blue can help match the color. If you have Perm. Aliz. Crimson, or Permanent Magenta, they might be better substitutes.

Would you like to list the pigments you do have? We can be more helpful if we know what you have to work with. What medium is this, also? (With watercolor, it's sometimes more important to match certain characteristics apart from just hue or color -- color meaning specifically the hue, value, and intensity/chroma.)

05-12-2007, 12:23 PM

The medium is water color. The colors I have available are
as follows:


Quinacridone Red (WN)
Alizarin Crimson (WN)
Ruby Red (Schmincke)
Brown Madder (Holbein)
Vermilion (WN)


Cad Yellow Medium (Rembrandt)
Winsor Yellow
Vanadium Yellow (Holbein and Schmincke)

05-12-2007, 02:12 PM
Did you by any chance inherit these paints, from someone who gave up watercolor? :confused: :D Well, the Winsor yellow is the least opaque of the three you have, so that's probably a better match for the very transparent (but NOT lightfast!) aureolyn, though the Vanadium (Schmincke) is apparently greener. (My source is handprint.com, btw. My actual experience is only W/N brand.)

So if you need a greenish yellow, rather than a more transparent yellow, you might do better with the Vanadium. Otherwise, the Winsor yellow should be best of those you have.

The Alizarin Crimson is a bit darker than Perm. Rose, but a better match than Quin red for mixing & handling -- however, again, the actual AC is very fugitive, especially in watercolor. If you're a complete beginner using the paints for simple exercises, or things you'll throw away, I'd recommend the AC.

W/N PERMANENT Aliz Crimson is rather good; I use it myself. If you want to keep whatever you're working on, though, the Quin red is a better bet than the fugitive (non-lightfast) genuine AC.

Do you have any blues? Greens?

If you happen to visit the watercolor forum on this site and ask for palette advice you'll quickly have dozens of people telling you that "a warm and cool of the three primary colors" (by which they mean red, yellow, and blue) is best. In this forum (and at handprint.com) we disagree. For a minimal (6-paints) palette, we'd advise the 'secondary' palette. This actually turns out to look much like "a warm and cool of the three primary colors." :lol:

The major difference is that instead of a warm and cool yellow, choose one neutral yellow (Winsor yellow is a very good choice). Then add a green instead of the other yellow.

Blue, red, green, and yellow are sometimes called the four artists' primaries. Most traditionally trained artists think the primary colors are red, yellow, and blue; and all colors can be made from these; but these can't be made from any other color. They also think all colors can be seen in the rainbow or spectrum. None of this is true.

Another set of candidates for 'primary colors' is cyan, magenta, and yellow (the printer's inks, with black: CMYK). Cyan is a cool blue-green color. Magenta is a very cool (blue) red -- and magenta is not even found in the spectrum! This alternate set of primaries can be used to make red and blue, btw. :D

Permanent rose (W/N brand) is often used as a magenta by painters, and is good to have. It's worth buying that one. Quin red is a decent warm or middle red, unless you want the option for opaque color (then use your cadmium red). Your vermilion is a very warm red-orange color; I have or had a tube, but prefer to mix that sort color and don't use the actual vermilion, which I think isn't made anymore. (I could be wrong... in the back of my mind I have a notion it's poisonous, involving mercury.)

French ultramarine blue (often abbreviated FUB or FUM) is the usual choice for a 'warm blue,' and is a good mixer with many other paints, very versatile. Winsor blue RS (red shade) is almost the same hue, but more transparent and very strong (high tinting strength, use only a tiny bit in mixes).

For 'cool blue' or cyan, you could use Winsor green YS (or yellow shade), but I'd go with Winsor green BS (blue shade) myself. Add plenty of water and just a touch of blue and it makes a decent cyan, and it is also the best mixer for greens (though you would very seldom use it by itself!).

Other things to note about the watercolor forum on this site: It's very big, so work you post in the gallery will drop off the first page rather quickly. The most approved style seems to be rather tight and 'representational' -- apart, that is, from an unaccountable fondness for very dark (even black) backgrounds. If you aspire to looser or more experimental work, or if you're a colorist rather than a tonalist painter, be assertive about your goals when you ask for feedback, perhaps even post for feedback in another forum (maybe a subject forum, perhaps even Abstract/Contemporary). We will also be happy to answer any more palette or mixing or matching questions for you right here, in Color Theory/Mixing forum.

Good luck! :thumbsup:

05-14-2007, 08:06 PM
No these were not inherited from a watercolor dropout. Actually what I have a is number of sample sets ( Rembrandt, Schmincke, Daler-Rowney, and loose tubes of Winsor Newton & Grumbacher. I have looked some at the palatte posts but have not explored that enough. The idea of having a warm and cool of each primaries sounds like good versital approach. I have seen some information about the Quiller Color scheme and watched demos by artists that swear by that method. Sometimes I feel like I should just chuck what I have and buy four large tubes of a good red, yellow, blue and maybe a sienna or green.

Regarding the greens and blues:


Phthalo Green (Schm}
Permanent Sap Green (WN)
Chromium Oxide Green (GrumB)
Veridian (Remb)


Ultramarine (Remb)
Cobalt (WN)
Phthalo Blue (Schm)
Cerulean (WN)
Deft Bleu (Schm)
Verditer (Holbein)
Prussian (WN)

05-15-2007, 02:57 PM
You have a fine set of colors to work with, then. Don't think about chucking them & starting over! Perhaps you are trying to learn to paint by copying demonstrations in watercolor books; that could definitely lead to frustration for a beginner if you don't have the "right" colors.

May I suggest you drop the demonstration style watercolor books for now? Instead, start making color grids or colorwheels, or just samples of your colors. Start enjoying what you can mix (just admire the pretty colors), and don't try to match a specific color yet. Explore what you can make, rather than trying to make what anyone else suggests.

I started with demos in w/c books myself, but fortunately dropped them fairly soon. In my case, I plunged into the WDE here on WC! each week, which proved a very freeing exercise. Later, after I'd adjusted the paints on my complete palette, I used to go back to some Zoltan Szabo books and try to make paintings like his demos, though not necessarily using his colors -- I called this sort of exercise a "palette tester." It was fun and useful, but not a good starting point.

This is important: In this forum, I learned that basically any color can be mixed, as long as it's within the gamut of the starting paints. The exact same colors can be mixed from many different starting points, in fact.

You have a lot of excellent starting points already, and just need to learn to mix colors from the paints you have. This is a separate skill from using a brush, judging how much water to use, painting drybrush or wet on dry or wet-in-wet, etc. I'd recommend you play with color first, and become competent so you feel confident about color. Your tools are not a problem here. ;)

For a better explanation of gamut and palettes, please see the current thread on warm/cool paints near the top of this forum (title is something like that, anyway). :)

05-15-2007, 06:44 PM
Thanks Carol,

That's so liberating. I have been bogged down in some of these demos just getting no where.