Painting on Location
by Donald A. Jusko

Opera as a Primary Pigment
Strong Magenta Tint as Mass-tone

Shinhan Water Color from Korea, PR122 and BV10

Here's a link to another Opera painting done a year later.

A small home made table easel works for this job.
The hinges are canvas cloth glued in place. The wood is 1/8 inch thick plywood.
That's just a stored roll of paper towels inside.

This is the painting setup.
The drawing was made with a 2H pencil. Lightly, so it can be erased.



Because of the ease the color Opera mixes oranges and reds with transparent yellow nickel complex,
these bright red flowers are perfect.
I'm rather excited about making the brightest red in watercolor possible...
and with only Three Primary Colors!

I used a wash of Opera right up to the pencil lines, being careful not to go over the graphite as it would become black pigment.

There is also an under wash of cyan on the leaves. Cyan is perfect for the job because the sky reflection is cyan.

Here the pencil lines are removed.

Two colors filled the patterns, a light wash of opera magenta and one of cyan.

When they were dry I used a kneaded eraser to clean the paper of graphite. Opera is on the flip lid, transparent yellows are under it.


Here is a test page mixing Opera with Indian yellow and cyan. As seen here, any color can be made very well including an excellent ultramarine blue, and with Thalo green it mixes dark neutral. If it wasn't fugitive it would be perfect, (it's still more permanent than alizarin crimson original).
It mixed a brighter red then Grumbacher red, a brighter orange than cadmium orange.

This is more color power then I have ever painted with.

I have to test it in the sun for staying power.

The base pigment is PR122 with a little BV10 in it.

So it can't be all bad :)


It's a powerful color alright. It's value darkened better with PR122 magenta added first, before adding the complement. A minor intermediate step, like adding PR122 to cad red light to make it cad red medium.

I haven't got back my sun test for permanence yet, it's sitting in the windshield of my van.

This is the 2nd painting with opera color. The reds and oranges are brighter then if I had used cadmium's. Brighter in watercolor anyway, I haven't tested it in oil or acrylic yet. 2011, I tested a oil/water emulsion tubed Opera pigment and it worked fine.

Opera pigment painting

Here is the sunlight test of Shinhan opera w/c.
One month later, after setting in the hot Lahaina sun, it lost 10 to 20% of it's color.
The darker PR122 lost no color.

Opera light test

This is a second sunlight test with Holbein opera w/c.
10-7-8 to 6-7-9 The top half was uncovered.
Only the very lightest tints had any color change and that was to a slightly warmer magenta. This is a very usable pigment.

Opera 2nd sunlight test

Next OPERA pigment painting

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