Thursday, 14 November 2013

Watercolour Comparisons 4 - Burnt Sienna

Burnt Sienna is one of the most useful colours in the palette. Whether you are using a limited palette with one of each of the primaries or a split palette with a warm and a cool of each of the primaries, Burnt Sienna is fabulous addition. You can see all these swatches, along with other earth colours, on my website here.

It is possible to mix a burnt sienna hue using a yellow and a red to make an orange, then adding ultramarine to create a neutralised warm brown. But it is much quicker to use a single pigment paint.

There are a number of options. Burnt Sienna should be made from PBr7 - a natural earth pigment that is also used to make Burnt Umber, Raw Umber and Raw Sienna. Heating the Raw Sienna pigment creates the burnt Sienna. Some companies use PR101, (which is also used to make Indian and Venetian reds) to make a Burnt Sienna Hue.

My preference is for the earthy look of PBr7. Mixed with Ultramarine it creates a warm Indigo, burnt umber hues, lovely greys, stormy sky colours, shadow colours and so on. With a yellow it creates raw sienna hues. With a phthalo blue it creates cool greys and browns. With a crimson it creates earthy indian reds and burnt reds...and so on. Alone, just mixed with water, it creates a perfect skin tone.

So which is the best? That depends what you like to paint, whether you like granulation or not, whether you want a more orange colour or a more neutral burnt orange colour.
 Burnt Sienna Options - Top line: Burnt Sienna M.Graham PBr7, Burnt Sienna Old Holland PBr7, Burnt Sienna Rembrandt PBr7, Burnt Sienna Hue Art Spectrum PR101, Transparent Mars Brown Mameri Blu PR101, Burnt Sienna Winsor & Newton PR101, Quinacridone Burnt Orange Daniel Smith PO48
Bottom line: Hemetite Burnt Scarlet Daniel Smith Genuine Hematite, Transparent Red Oxide Daniel Smith PR101, Enviro-Friendly Red Iron Oxide Daniel Smith PBr6, Burnt Sienna Daniel Smith PBr7, Burnt Sienna DaVinci PBr7, Italian Burnt Sienna Daniel Smith PBr7.

It is clear the options range from an orange through to more red-based browns with more or less granulation. Transparent Red Oxide provides a wonderfully granulating version with a definite orange hue, Hematite Burnt Scarlet is also highly granulating with wonderful colour range. Quinacridone Burnt Orange goes all the way to the orange side so will not neutralise so well, but is quite a popular option for those who don't like granulation, as is the W&N Burnt Sienna (hue).

One of the best tests though is how the colour works with Ultramarine and other blues. Here is a range of colours possible with Burnt Sienna mixed with Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue and Cerulean - classic blues in the palette. It is the deep greys and browns and blues that I am looking for with Burnt Sienna. Notice how lovely and granulating the Art Spectrum Burnt Sienna Genuine is. I loved this colour but it didn't re-wet as well in the palette as the Daniel Smith and Da Vinci so was superseded. Also notice that Burnt Umber (hue) is readily mixed by adding Ultramarine to Burnt Sienna so is not necessary in a limited palette.
Burnt Sienna mixed with blues - Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue, Cerulean.

 Here is Burnt Sienna with Cerulean. Note that Burnt Sienna creates wonderful greys with Cerulean but with that with Quinacridone Burnt Orange it makes greens rather than greys.
Burnt Sienna and Quinacridone Burnt Orange + Cerulean. 

You can see Burnt Sienna and Phthalo blue on the second line below. Since Phthalo blue is cooler than Ultramarine it will create cooler blues and greys, including creating a raw umber hue.
Phthalo Blue mixed with a range of brown pigments - Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Indian Red, Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber.

My favourite is Daniel Smith for a rich earthy version, or Da Vinci for an equally rich earthy but slightly more orange version. Both of these are PBr7. I also love Transparent Red Oxide for special effects so have that as an extra when painting, as well as the DS Burnt Sienna that is always in my palette.

Happy painting!

Watercolour Comparisons 1 - Ultramarine Blue here
Watercolour Comparisons 2 - mid yellows here
Watercolour Comparisons 3 - Primary Red here
Watercolour Comparisons 4 - Burnt Sienna here
Watercolour Comparisons 5 - Greens (Single Pigment, convenience mixes and special effect) here
Watercolour Comparisons 6 - Reds (Cool, mid and warm) here
Watercolour Comparisons 7 - Yellows (cool mid and warm) here
Watercolour Comparisons 8 - Blues here