Question about Opacity/Transparency

Q: I paint with acrylics and have found reds in my paintings most difficult to photograph. Blues and greens are less problematic. My lasted painting has a lot of red in it. The coverage was not great and photographing was a challenge. Tubes and jars of paint do not list transparency vs opaque and for the purposes of my painting style I only want opaque.

I was reading through what you wrote about paints and titanium white was noted to make paints opaque. Hence, when mixing any colour would you suggest that any colour mixed, other than black, which I use as outlines, include titanium white as part of the basic mixture? and I add other colours to get what I am wanting?

monsier-p-artiste-explores-watercolour-dots_5807542075_oA: Adding titanium white will certainly make colours opaque, but it’ll also lighten colours, and turn reds to pink. You could then paint over it again, to intensify the colour, but it’d be easier in the long run to figure out which of the colours in the brand(s) you’re using are most opaque and stick to these.

Create a chart by painting or drawing a strong black line down a page, then paint a strip of each colour over this. You’ll soon see which colours hide the most black. I’d use these to paint and for mixes where possible. Cadmium red is possibly the most opaque red; if it’s not quite the right red, overpaint it with another red.

Some artist’s quality brands of paint have an stripe of paint on the tube/jar over printed black bars. Others have a little symbol such as a black/white square. Colour charts on the manufacturers’ websites should have the info, e.g. on Golden’s colour chart if you click on the individual colours it gives the transparency rating plus an image.

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