I’m Happy today!! It is Milestone Post #200

What Colour do you associate with the word “Happy?”   Me, you can “Colour Me Happy” with sunny, warm cheery  Orange.

watercolour pouring on yupo , debiriley.com
Pouring On The Orange, workshop creation, debiriley.com


Apparently, advertisers know my secret weakness.

Have you noticed so many of the ads seem to be draped in those sunny warm oranges? There’s a reason….  the colour Orange ‘helps’  people want to buy!

It creates a warm confident and enthusiastic mood that just radiates.  Burns with energy.  Energy to …. well, try those new products,  make that new purchase.  Thats right, “just helping you madam”.. or “sir.”  Helping alright,  to lighten our wallets.


Orange Clivia Blossoms, debiriley.com
Orange Clivia Blossoms, photo debiriley.com

Orange: A Colour of Warmth

Orange is renowned for its warm, enthusiastic, sunny demeanour. We habitually gravitate to the lovely tropical mango orange sunsets,  to bright orange Autumn leaves,  to the vibrantly cheerful orange-yellow sunflowers  standing tall against the summer cobalt skies.

Orange is the colour of Happy.

It is a sociable colour, filled with positivity, optimistic outlook, creative flair, self confidence,  spontaneity, independence.    It is stimulating.  In between the very  dominating Red, and the more mellow Yellow,  Orange is a sunny confident happy colour that loves company.

We are feeling positive, confident, spontaneous.

We are stimulated to take action when we are viewing the colour orange.

(This of course, depends on individuals, and is a generality based on many marketing research studies. Not all will respond to orange in the typical fashion. )

Did you know that in the study Impact of Color on Marketing researchers discovered that up to 90% of snap judgement may be based on Colour!?  Researchers also found people took about 90 seconds to make a judgement on a person or product, on average.


mango orange sunset debiriley.com
Mango Orange Sunset


The Story of Indian Yellow Paint

Indian Yellow PY153 in full strength is a lovely warm Orange-yellow, whereas when diluted with plenty of water it appears nearly butter yellow pale.  When I use it, I generally prefer to use the Winsor and Newton brand or the Australian brand Art Spectrum.


The origins of the Indian Yellow watercolour has been shrouded in colourful rumours and mystery for many years, with no one actually knowing the real truth behind it.  The story goes that Indian Yellow was originally made from cow’s urine.

Wait, are you still there?

This does get interesting you know!   Supposedly, the colour was first produced around the 15th century in Moghyr,  India.   A purree was created from earth and a cow’s urine product, this was produced apparently by feeding the cows on mango leaves and withholding water from them.  Hmmm,   I do not think the cows would be very happy in hot India being dehydrated.

As there are no hard facts nor written evidence to support this story its been relegated to the land of dubious art myths and fairytales.   Rumours do persist, and I find myself considering whether there is some substance of truth to the story.




Orange paint colours and mixes

mixing Orange in watercolours, debiriley.com
Orange Mixes

Orange Chart Above ….   A Beginners’ Easy Way to mix Orange is to simply use Permanent Rose Pv19  and Winsor Lemon Py175; veering slightly to the warmer blush of red side to create the Orange you are after.  This is an excellent, tried and true method, no nonsense way of getting a great Orange with a minimum of paints.


Beautiful Orange paints that I love using to make various tints and versions of orange include: quinacridone burnt sienna,  quinacridone burnt orange,  lunar earth, indian yellow, naples yellow, cadmium yellow deep,  perinone orange,   permanent orange,    pyrrol scarlet,  pyrrol orange,  cadmium red light, winsor orange,  and  then is  ….


Benzimidazolone  Orange PO62       What a Trouble maker!!

Can you say that,  well, I can’t….       “ben – zimi – dazo – lone”      THERE!    what a mouth full.  Why,  can’t the manufacturer just come up with an abbreviated name?  Geesh, this sounds like a prescription drug, for heaven’s sake, not a pretty colour I’d want to buy. Or,  have to try to actually  Ask For!

The manufacturer could come up with names like:   BS.  Dazo?   Dazzle Alone,  or even Dazzle Orange,  even?    Yes,  I think I quite like that name.  So, Dazzle Orange, is a lovely brilliant orange,  fabulous mixing with other colours, glorious alone too.


Lunar Earth is another sensational orange-yellow paint with a twist.  It granulates wildly with nearly anything you mix in with it.  In this sample, I’d added a dash of quinacridone burnt scarlet and permanent rose in with the lunar earth.   The intricate textural effects this paint gives is fan- tastic.   I love it.

lunar earth watercolours, orange mix, debiriley.com
Lunar Earth Orange blend


The Naples Yellow that I prefer, is the Daniel Smith watercolours brand. It leans strongly to the Orange side. When  washed out in very thin, diluted washes it will lose some of its brighter red/orange colouration and appear more yellow than orange.

Naples Yellow mixed with Prussian Blue Pb27 creates a range of greens that are quite easy on the eyes.  With a higher ratio of Naples Yellow, the green is frosty, creamy and soft. Its gorgeous.

Using a higher ratio of the Prussian blue the resulting greens will be sharper, darker, green/blue with a high contrast factor in them.

Perinone Orange PO43   mixes superbly with Burnt Umber PBr7  for pleasant and subtle earthy brown-oranges,  great for landscape subjects.   When mixed with French Ultramarine Perinone Orange softens and greys off beautifully into a nice neutral.




The older Orange-based paints,  Vermilon, Chrome Orange,  Naples Yellow,   were notorious for having toxic chemicals in them and so many were taken off the market with substitute colours made. Today, you still can find Cadmium paints including Cadmium Orange which have a toxicity to them. They are being phased out slowly.

Have a look at what you purchase and where it was made. Check paints you have at home, especially all older paints.  These may have lead, mercury, manganese, etc. in them.  These chemicals are unsafe to breathe, ingest, or if they are absorbed into your skin.

Be alert to your paints.  Check their safety, look online for references and information.  This painters.edu.au website may be useful to some, especially those that like to use house paints to paint with.  I know many people who regularly do so and thought this website was a good resource.




Refererence Sources

David Myers blog great info on paints

ncbi.nim.nin.com Cadmium Confusion: Do Consumers Need Protection?

Hilary Page’s  Guide to Watercolor Paints,  Watson-Guptill Publications ISBN 0832022617

Michael Wilcox  Guide to the Best Watercolor Paints, The School of Colour Publications ISBN 0891344098



Colour me happy with all the brilliant, cheerful, sunny Orange paints!