Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Cadmium Orange - Pigment Orange 20 (PO20)

Cadmium Orange (Cadmium Sulfoselenide) is an interesting pigment, although not a staple of many artists palettes, especially those restricted to 12 colours or less. Nevertheless Handprint rate it a `Top Forty' pigment.

 A few years ago I was on one of Judi Whittons courses in Cornwall and Judi was demonstrating. In the demo one of the colours she used was Cadmium Orange and she made the comment her preference was Maimeri because  the Winsor & Newton version behaved differently in mixtures.   As it happened I was able to explain that the Maimeri version was `true' Cadmium Orange Pigment PO20 which leans towards red, whereas the W & N Cadmium Orange was actually a `hue' comprising a mixture of Cadmium Red and Cadmium Yellow, consequently with a yellow bias. Winsor &  Newton also have Winsor Orange (PO62). Since then I have explored what is on offer from other makers.

 Here we have four oranges,. Maimeri is the only true PO20 version and notice how it is quite dark, very opaque and shows a red tinge.  The Daler Rowney Cadmium Orange  is strongly influenced by the addition of PY35 and shows a strong yellow bias. Use these for mixing and you get a totally different result. There are several other mostly newer oranges, two of which are shown. Apart from being transparent they are a different shade. The main drawback of Cadmium Orange as offered by Maimeri is that, being a Cadmium, it is toxic and quite opaque. I rather like it but some think it dull.  The main alternatives seem to be Perinone Orange (PO43) and Pyrrole orange (PO73). We also have PO36, PO71, and PO62. None are identical in hue or colour to PO20 but are transparent or semi-transparent.

What is the situation with leading makes?  Daniel Smith do not offer a `true' Cadmium Orange at all having discontinued this one in 2006. Why I wonder? Not having received replies to two previous e-mails to DS I doubt I'll bother to ask them. Smith list a Cadmium Orange Hue, a mixture of three pigments comprising two yellows and an orange, Permanent Orange (PO62), Pyrrole Orange (PO73), Transparent Pyrrole Orange (PO71), Perinone Orange (PO43) and finally Mayan Orange (PR N/A), mostly transparent or semi-transparent. Spoiled for choice! Which to choose is the dilemma? 

Looking at other leading makers Rembrandt follow Rowneys path with an identical PO20/PY35 mixture as do Sennelier (Cadmium Yellow Orange). Graham have Cadmium Orange PO20 as have Da Vinci who also list `Orange' and `Orange Deep', PO73 and PO36 respectively and finally Benzimida Orange (PO62).

This gets heavier when we look at Scminke the leading German firm. Scminke have  four paints listed as PO20, Cadmium Orange Light, Cadmium Orange Deep, Cadmium Red Orange and , would you believe Cadmium Red Light! Their Cadmium Yellow Deep is the same pigment mix as the Rowney and Rembrandt Cadmium Oranges! They also offer Translucent Orange (PO71) and Chrome Orange (PO62). The PO20 mixtures range from a light orange to a deeper reddish version.

I'll confine the rest of my summary to those companies that offer true PO20 - Cadmium Orange paints. Art Spectrum have one but they call it Cadmium Yellow Deep. Lukas and Old Holland Cadmium Orange while Bloxx list Cadmium Yellow Orange and Cadmium Red Orange.

 Finally Holbein. They miss out completely except for including PO20 in several mixtures notably the two Jaune Brilliant paints. Charles Reid likes the Holbein Cadmium Yellow Orange but this is PR108 - Cadmium Red.

What to make of all this? Despite Orange being a secondary colour, easily mixed from red and yellow (which red and yellow?), as you can see paint manufacturers list a whole range of alternatives with the newer pigments appearing in an increasing number of paints. 

The mixing compliments of Cadmium Orange (PO20) as listed by Bruce McEvoy of Handprint www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/mixtable.html are Phalo Blue (PB15), Prussian (PB27) and Cerulean (PB35/36). I have mixed very good neutral greys using Phalo Blue (PB15-3) Green Shade but with some trial and error first.


Ray said...

Thank you Peter for the very detailed review of Cadmium Orange. I now know why my mixtures with this have given me such poor results. Now restrict its use to sky brightness and pure orange accents. I use W&N brand for the size of the tube only.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for commenting Ray. It is complicated with such different approaches being taken by the various makers.