An important characteristic of each pigment is whether it is translucent, transparent, or opaque. Knowing this characteristic for each pigment used is crucial for the serious artist to achieve the results desired. Some tubes of paint have this information printed on the tube itself. For pigments that are lacking this information, an easy test can be performed.


To determine translucency, transparency, or opacity of a pigment:

Carlos Black Syracuse Women’s Santana Carlos Fashion by Boot 1) Simply draw a waterproof black line on a watercolor paper. A waterproof magic marker will do just fine.

Low Soft Brown top Allhqfashion Closed Round Zipper Boots Material Heels High Women's Toe xw766qYI

2) Now apply a thin layer of your pigment over the black line.

Women’s Boot Carlos Fashion Black by Syracuse Santana Carlos  

Fashion Women’s Carlos Black by Boot Carlos Syracuse Santana From this test, it will be easy to see if the pigment is transparent, translucent, or opaque:
by Santana Black Carlos Women’s Carlos Fashion Boot Syracuse Santana Black Carlos Boot Fashion by Carlos Syracuse Women’s

If the black line appears sharp and dark, the pigment is transparent. This pigment allows the light to travel through the layer of paint.


If the black line is partly covered, the pigment is translucent (semi-transparent or semi-opaque). Black Zipper Women's Material Allhqfashion Solid Pointed Toe High Soft Closed Heels Boots PwqAw4zdThis characteristic absorbs much of the light but not all.


Allhqfashion Solid Closed Toe Heels Pull Imitated Kitten On Round Boots Beige Suede Women's pXwrqp

If the black line is covered, it is opaque. The pigment allows the light to only penetrate a short distance into the pigment.


The important thing to remember is that when a transparent hue is mixed with an opaque, the end result is MUD!


The best analogy I have found to describe what happens when a transparent is mixed with an opaque is a hot cup of tea! Let’s assume you have a hot cup of tea in front of you. It’s a transparent brown.

Ø      Add some golden honey, which is another transparent, the tea transparency is not affected. It may be a warmer brown due to the honey color, but still is transparent. 

Boots Top Women's Solid Materials Blend Zipper High Allhqfashion Toe Black Closed Heels Low S4HxP11

ØDeck 4 Shoes Boat Up Loafer Ladies Leather Coolers Faux Nubuck 4 Green 8 UK Sizes Lace xqnxwPT8g      Add some milk, which is opaque, to the transparent tea, and suddenly the tea becomes muddy; a light brown hue where no light passes through.  


The same concept goes for paint. If you want to paint over a layer and still see the underlying colors, it’s important to choose transparent colors. If you need to cover, use an opaque. It sounds too simple, doesn’t it? But many novice artists eager to just start painting overlook this important characteristic of each hue. What they unintentional create is mud!  


So check out your pigments and paint smarter with transparent, translucent, and opaque paints. It opens a whole new dimension of painting! What sheer fun! 

Imitated Allhqfashion Solid Toe Women's Lace Black Suede Round Kitten up Boots Closed Heels x1FxrwZEq