How to Get Bodacious Pinks in Your Paintings

Wildfire Pink Hydrangeas
Wildfire Pink Hydrangeas, 14X14, oil


If you’re going to dip your brush into pinks, you must dip them all the way! At least, that’s what my muse has been whispering lately, each time I pick up the brushes for a new painting in Flower Mound Studio. One of my favorite pinks in the whole world is a transparent color called Quinacridone Violet. I’ve color tested a few brands and found most to be pretty similar in quality, so long as you’re ordering professional quality paints.

Quinacridone Violet is not the only pink I love, however. Don’t tell Quin, but I’ve got a huge crush on Permanent Rose, too. I hope these hues aren’t the jealous type, because I just can’t seem to choose between them. Here are a few pointers for getting the most vivid pinks in your floral paintings:

First, always start with clean, transparent colors such as Permanent Rose and/or Quinacridone Violet. Laying in transparent color first, before touching any opaque color such as white, a cadmium, or another color mixed with white, ensures you will have an eye-catching pink glow. Paint large, abstract shapes in this first transparent stage. After you’ve got this foundation of color placed, then add a smidgen of white to mix a couple of temperatures of pinks. A few of my favorite recipes are: Permanent Rose, Indian Yellow and white, for a yummy, peachy pink; Quinacridone Violet and white – a cooler, rich pink; and Permanent Rose, Transparent Red Medium and white, for a warmer pink.

Once you’ve got your opaque colors mixed in separate piles, you have the tools to create beautiful temperature shifts within your pink flowers. These opaque colors are your tools for forming petal shapes and detail. There’s an important reason to build the foundation first in loose, impressionistic shapes using transparent color, and wait until the end to create detail in opaques: We don’t hang the kitchen curtains before we build the house.

There’s one more secret to getting a vivid pink: Place a cool green next to it, such as leaves and stem colors mixed with viridian. These are just a few strategies for your pink flower painting toolkit. Imagine all the pink flowers out there, just waiting to leap off your brush onto your next canvas. One should never underestimate the petal power of pink!

Did you enjoy this color tip? You can find many more in my upcoming online class, Painting Monet’s Garden!



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Nancy Medina

Nancy is a master signature artist and instructor with over 1800 online students from around the world. She has worked with Disney, served on the art faculty of the Dallas Arboretum, and teaches workshops in France, Italy and across the US. More about Nancy

Reader Interactions


    • Anita, Quin Rose is cooler. Permanent rose has a warmer quality. An easy way to discover the difference between pigments is to add a similar amount of white to each color and lay them side by side.

  1. Thank you for the “mixing pinks”!
    I hear you say it but it is great to have it in writing.

    • Sharon you are most welcome! I’ve definitely been on a pink kick lately… I’m glad it was helpful to you.

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