This entry was originally posted on Monday, January 23, 2012.

The next question you probably asked after my post about mud was

“How do I know which of my paints are transparent and which are opaque?”

One simple test is to draw a line with a black permanent marker (like a Sharpie pen).

Now paint a line of each color over the black line. If you can no longer see the color, it is transparent.

If you can see the color on top of the line, it is opaque.

It may be hard to see from the photo but Cadmium Scarlet, French Ultramarine Blue, and Yellow Ochre are sitting on top of the line. This means that they are more opaque than the others.

I put both Raw Sienna and Yellow Ochre on the chart to show my students the difference. They are similar in color but different in transparency.

Each brand of paint also has a difference in transparency. For instance, I find that Winsor & Newton’s Burnt Sienna is more transparent than Daniel Smith’s.

Leslie Lambert

Author Leslie Lambert

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