Cadmium Lemon (PY 35 or PY 37)

Cadmium Lemon (PY 35 or PY 37)

Information: Opaque
Handling Characteristics: Cadmium Lemon is a saturated cool yellow with minor green undertones. Cadmium Lemon mixes well with other colors and white.

As I described in the first post that introduced the Cadmium Yellows, the naming of cadmium yellows is not unified and standardized, instead each manufacturer employs their own appellation to the variety of cadmium yellows they produce. I like to organize the cadmium yellows into three groups: Cadmium Yellow Deep Value, Cadmium Yellow Medium Value, and Cadmium Lemon (coolest and lightest value of the cadmium yellows).

Today I want to focus on the last grouping, Cadmium Lemon.

Cadmium Lemon is a color I always keep out on my palette and I value for its cool yellow color. I like how it is a powerful pigment, when mixing it with lead white to make a very pale tint a small amount goes far.

Cadmium Lemon is a great color to use in flesh tones (I like paring it with cool transparent reds). Another helpful aspect of this oil color is that as a pure color tint of Cadmium Lemon and Lead White, when laid on top of other layers of paint it visually blends and creates a sense of depth and form. This spectrum of cadmium yellow may not be used as often as the Cadmium Yellow Medium Value however it is a handy color to always have out and ready on your palette.

When mixing cadmium lemon, I find if you want to keep the mixture saturated it is better to choose colors that are cool in temperature. For example, if you want to mix cadmium lemon
with a blue it’s a good idea to look at the blues on your palette and discern which of the blues are coolest in temperature. If you have three blues to choose from, cerulean, cobalt blue, and ultramarine blue, the coolest blue of these three is cerulean. By mixing cerulean blue with cadmium lemon your mixture will stay more saturated and pure in color. However if you would like to desaturate and mute the color mixture, the best choice is to select a warmer color. Using this example of blues, the warmest blue available is the ultramarine blue because it is a blue that has red undertones in it.

Row 1:
Name: Cadmium Lemon (PY 35)
Manufacturer: Winsor and Newton Artists’ Oil Colors
My Thoughts: The Winsor and Newton Cadmium Lemon is an excellent basic cool yellow color with greenish undertones. It is dense in pigments and mixes well while staying open on the palette for a long period of time. A tube of cadmium lemon from Windsor Newton will last a long time even when you always have some squeezed out on your palette. It mixes well with other colors and does a good job.

Row 2:
Name: Cadmium Lemon (PY 35)
Manufacturer: Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors
My Thoughts: The Williamsburg Cadmium Lemon is slightly warmer than the Windsor Newton, Michael Harding, and Gamblin versions. As you mix in white it cools down rapidly and makes for a very pale tint.

Row 3:
Name: Cadmium Lemon (PY 35)
Manufacturer: Michael Harding Artists Oil Colours
My Thoughts: Recently I have been using the Michael Harding Cadmium Lemon and I really enjoy its handling properties. I believe it is slightly stronger in pigments than the Windsor Newton version and stays brilliant and clear and it’s pale cool yellow even in its palest mixtures. Creamy and soft in texture while maintaining its opacity makes this a lovely paint to work with.

Row 4:
Name: Cadmium Lemon (PY 35)
Manufacturer: Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors
My Thoughts: The handling properties of Vasari paints are wonderful, they are lush and creamy. However the Vasari Cadmium Lemon color temperature is a tad warm (similar to the Williamsburg version) coming straight out of the tube, though it cools down quickly as it gets mixed with white.

Row 5:
Name: Cadmium Lemon (PY 35)
Manufacturer: Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors
My Thoughts: It is my perception that the Gamblin Cadmium Lemon is the coolest yellow-green of my color scales. The oil color looks to be dense in pigments and handles and mixes well.  In my color scale gradient, the lightest tint is the least strong of the examples.

Row 6:
Name: Cadmium Yellow Light (PY 35)
Manufacturer: Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors
My Thoughts: For these color swatch scales I include colors by similarity in the color spectrum, Gamblin’s Cadmium Yellow Light is a cool pale yellow almost identical in quality to the Williamsburg Cadmium Lemon and this is why I included this oil color in this grouping. The paint is dense in pigments and mixes well and if you do not have the Gamblin’s Cadmium Lemon you can substitute the Gamblin Cadmium Yellow Light.

Row 7:
Name: Cadmium Yellow Medium (PY 37)
Manufacturer: Blue Ridge Oil Colors
My Thoughts: This oil color is also a cool yellow and is similar to the other Cadmium Lemon color swatches. This paint is not as dense in pigments as the others are, thus it is not as opaque as the other Cadmium Lemon versions are. I guess if a pale cool yellow that is semi-opaque is needed this would be a good solution an option.

In summary, my favorite Cadmium Lemon to use for its clear cool yellow is by Michael Harding followed by Winsor and Newton. I also like using the Vasari version for its creamy texture and ease of paint handling.
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These articles about my color palette and the oil colors I use are the result of my experience and continued exploration. I have purchased all oil colors on my own and I have not received any reimbursement from the mentioned paint manufacturers or art supply stores. The usefulness and perceived attributes expressed here in these articles are my personal opinions.

The oil color manufacturers that I will discuss in this series are: Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors, Winsor and Newton  Artists’ Oil Colors, Michael Harding Artists Oil Colours, Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors, Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors, Blue Ridge Oil Colors, Old Holland Classic Oil Colors and Rublev Colours-Natural Pigments.

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Cadmium Yellow Medium Value (PY 35 or PY 37)


Cadmium Yellow Medium Value (PY 35 or PY 37)

Information: Opaque
Handling Characteristics: Cadmium Yellow Medium Value is a rich saturated yellow and lies in the middle of the yellow color spectrum. Not too cold or too warm in color temperature and overall a lovely and versatile yellow to keep on the palette.

As I described in the first post that introduced the Cadmium Yellows, the naming of cadmium yellows is not unified and standardized, instead each manufacturer employs their own appellation to the variety of cadmium yellows they produce. I like to organize the cadmium yellows into three groups: Cadmium Yellow Deep Value, Cadmium Yellow Medium Value, and Cadmium Lemon (coolest and lightest value of the cadmium yellows).

Today I want to focus on the middle grouping, Cadmium Yellow Medium Value.

Cadmium Yellow Medium is a versatile color to have out. I use it for almost every painting in some manner. When mixing flesh tones, often cadmium yellow medium value is my base yellow mixed with cadmium Vermilion and quinacridone rose to create my initial warm flesh tone. If I’m working on a floral piece, I will use cadmium yellow medium to paint the petals of the flowers and to mix the greens for the leaves and stems. I do not like using green colors straight from the tube to paint green vegetation, instead I prefer to mix the colors as I want as this enables the greatest level of variety and nuance.

Cadmium Yellow Medium Value is an opaque pigment, so it is inherently strong in its tinting strength and can be used to great effect in many different paint applications. It works great when using a strong broken color methodology such as the Impressionist used. Or you can create visual depth and nuance when you lay in a cadmium yellow mixture into a previously laid down layer of transparent paint, playing with the visual effects of transparent and opaque paint passages.


Row 1
Name: Cadmium Yellow Lt (PY 37)
Manufacturer: Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors
My thoughts: Cadmium Yellow Light manufactured by Vasari is a lush and densely pigmented oil color. It has a smooth and creamy texture and mixes well. This oil color is made with PY 37 which tends to be slightly cooler in color temperature than PY 35.

Row 2:
Name: Cadmium Yellow Medium (PY 35)
Manufacturer: Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors
My thoughts: the Williamsburg Cadmium Yellow Medium oil color is another lush and densely pigmented paint, it stays open for a long period of time which is helpful. I like it’s warm color temperature and mixing capacity. I also like how it mixes when painting flesh tones, as I tend to jump around exploring the different paint manufacturers, when I paint portraits sketches I like to squeeze out this cadmium yellow.

Row 3:
Name: Cadmium Yellow (PY 35)
Manufacturer: Michael Harding Artists Oil Colours
My thoughts: My gut feeling about the Michael Harding Cadmium Yellow oil color is that it is a softer to handle, more creamy paint than the Williamsburg version. However they are close to identical in mixing even though straight from the tube the Michael Harding is a touch deeper in value than the Williamsburg, it almost matches Vasari and Gamblin “straight from the tube” color swatch. Another attribute of the Michael Harding oil color is that it also stays open on the palette for a very long time. Staying open is a feature that I particularly value in the paint I use because I paint almost every day and like to minimize the amount of time I need to dedicate to peeling off the hardened film on the oil colors on my palette. This may be a minor inconvenience, however it goes along way in earning my favor.

Row 4:
Name: Cadmium Yellow Medium (PY 37)
Manufacturer: Blue Ridge Oil Colors
My thoughts: Personally, I have been disappointed with The Blue Ridge Cadmium Yellows. I have such positive impressions of this manufacturer’s different blues (such as cerulean blue, cobalt blue, cobalt turquoise, and ultramarine blue) that a few years ago I purchased this manufacturers cadmium yellow range. My impression is that these oil colors are not as dense in pigments as other manufacturers make cadmium yellows. I have to go through 2 to 3 times the amount of volume of paint in order to attain the same mixing quality, and this bothers me. Other than that these paints do handle well, I like how soft and cream the they are but I do not use them often.

Row 5:
Name: Cadmium Yellow Pale (PY 35)
Manufacturer: Winsor and Newton Artists’ Oil Colors
My thoughts: The Windsor and Newton Cadmium Yellow Pale was the initial paint manufacturer I used because this is the manufacturer that my mentor uses. I enjoy using this paint however I have shifted away from this version because as the paint is mixed with lead white to a very pale tint the yellow shifts cool in color temperature, almost achieving a cadmium lemon color temperature. When I am using a cadmium yellow medium value oil color I want it to stay warmer in color temperature and not to shift into the cool greenish-yellow tones of cadmium lemon.

Row 6:
Name: Cadmium Yellow Medium (PY 37)
Manufacturer: Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors
My thoughts: This version Cadmium Yellow Medium by Gamblin is a warm cadmium yellow that stays warm even in its lightest tints. It mixes well and is a dense pigment oil color, however I do not tend to use Gamblin oil colors often because I am not crazy about how they age on my palette, to me they film over and get tough after a while which makes me have to scrape off and squeeze out more paint then I would have to with other versions. This oil color is also made up of PY 37.

In summary, my favorite oil paint for Cadmium Yellow Medium Value is one made with PY 35, and for handling qualities it is a tossup between whether I use the Williamsburg oil color or the Michael Harding one.

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These articles about my color palette and the oil colors I use are the result of my experience and continued exploration. I have purchased all oil colors on my own and I have not received any reimbursement from the mentioned paint manufacturers or art supply stores. The usefulness and perceived attributes expressed here in these articles are my personal opinions.

The oil color manufacturers that I will discuss in this series are: Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors, Winsor and Newton  Artists’ Oil Colors, Michael Harding Artists Oil Colours, Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors, Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors, Blue Ridge Oil Colors, Old Holland Classic Oil Colors and Rublev Colours-Natural Pigments.

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My Full-Color Palette: Cadmium Yellows


Over the next few weeks, I will cover the different cadmium yellows I like to use.

Each manufacturer has a different naming convention with regard to cadmium yellow. What one manufacturer would call cadmium yellow, another manufacturer will call the same visual color, cadmium yellow deep and another manufacturer may use the term cadmium yellow medium. Because of this variety in the naming conventions of cadmium yellow, I mentally divide my cadmium yellows into three categories: 1) cadmium lemon, 2) cadmium yellow (light or middle value), and 3) cadmium yellow deep (or darker than the middle range of cadmium yellows), with a subcategory in cadmium yellow deep for almost orange cadmium yellows.

Each of these three divisions of cadmium yellow has a place on my palette. I will describe them each in turn, starting with cadmium yellow deep.


My initial color swatches of the cadmium yellows.

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Cadmium Yellow Deep Value (PY-Varies)


Cadmium Yellow Deep Value (PY-Varies)

Information: Opaque
Handling Characteristics: Cadmium Yellow Deep is a rich saturated yellow, warm in color temperature and overall a lovely and versatile yellow to keep on the palette.

In the spring time Cadmium Yellow Deep is an important color to keep on the palette because so many spring flowers are a deep saturated yellow.

In general, I always keep this color out and available, and because I love this color for its rich pigment-dense quality it is important to always be thinking about how to best mix it with other colors. So, there are times when control and moderation must be utilized, or else you will over power the color mixture you are striving for.

I have heard that Salvador Dali did not like using the cadmium yellows because they can be so powerful. Cadmium yellow deep can be overpowering and it is important to always use caution when mixing with this color. When I need to employ control with cadmium yellow deep, I will often dip my paint brush into the pure paint puddle, but before taking this paint and applying it directly to my paint mixture, I will daub the paint brush in a clear space on my palette, right next to the paint mixture puddle, and slowly introduce the cadmium yellow into the mixture. This is the best way to control overly strong pigments and guaranteeing that they do not overwhelm what you are trying to accomplish.


Row 1:
Name: Cadmium Yellow Deep (PY 35)
Manufacturer: Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors
My thoughts: Recently (like in early 2017) the Williamsburg cadmium yellow deep has become my preferred manufacturer to use. I enjoy its dense pigment, smooth workability, and how even when mixed into a very pale tint the color mixture remains in the warm-yellow color spectrum. This oil color stays open for a long time and over all it is just a fun color to keep out. Especially during the springtime and all the varieties of daffodils and forsythia are in bloom.

Row 2:
Name: Cadmium Yellow (PY 35)
Manufacturer: Winsor and Newton
My thoughts: The Winsor and Newton cadmium yellow is another favorite of mine. I like it’s mixture, it is pigment-dense and uses safflower oil as its vehicle. This makes the paint stay open for a very long time on the palette.

Row 3:
Name: Cadmium Yellow (PY 37)
Manufacturer: Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors
My thoughts: In the autumn of 2016, I had the good fortune to experiment with the Vasari cadmium yellow. I fell in love with its texture and quality, I especially enjoyed its smooth buttery consistency. In its purest form out of the tube, it is my opinion that the color is a cooler and a smidge less saturated than the Williamsburg cadmium yellow deep tints. As this oil color is mixed with lead white the color mixture becomes more vibrant and almost a saturated as the Williamsburg cadmium yellow deep. The Vasari cadmium yellow is slightly cooler in color temperature, however this lends itself well in some paint applications, such as painting lemons, and probably does not make any significant change for other paint applications.

Row 4:
Name: cadmium yellow deep (PO 20, PY 35)
Manufacturer: Winsor and Newton
My thoughts: If ever I squeeze out the Windsor Newton cadmium yellow deep, I will place it right beside my cadmium orange. In fact there have been times when I have use this color instead of my cadmium orange, especially if I am working on a painting where the light is particularly saturated and golden, such as when painting during the “golden hour”. This is a very nice convenience mixture to have, however there aren’t many times when it is specifically needed, so I keep a tube of this paint available as a in special cases only, such as when I’m painting pumpkins, terra-cotta pots, or special hybrid daffodils that have particularly dark-orange center coronas.

Row 5:
Name: Cadmium Yellow Orange (PO 20)
Manufacturer: Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors
My thoughts: This is another Vasari color I got to experiment with in the autumn of 2016, and I really enjoyed it. At times when keeping this oil color out on my palette, I would not bother with putting out cadmium orange, because this was so versatile. This color makes some particularly beautiful light value tints, colors that are just fun to mix and see where I can incorporate them into a painting. Like all Vasari oil colors, the mixture is pigment dense and creamy to handle, a pure pleasure to use.

In summary, my favorite cadmium yellow deep oil color is made by Williamsburg, and for special times I also like to have the Vasari cadmium yellow orange available.

Here is an image of my original swatches I did of the cadmium yellows before I began to make the graduated swatches. As you can see, the colors and names were all over the board. You also get a preview of Naples Yellow.
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These articles about my color palette and the oil colors I use are the result of my experience and continued exploration. I have purchased all oil colors on my own and I have not received any reimbursement from the mentioned paint manufacturers or art supply stores. The usefulness and perceived attributes expressed here in these articles are my personal opinions.

The oil color manufacturers that I will discuss in this series are: Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors, Winsor and Newton  Artists’ Oil Colors, Michael Harding Artists Oil Colours, Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors, Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors, Blue Ridge Oil Colors, Old Holland Classic Oil Colors and Rublev Colours-Natural Pigments.

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Cadmium Vermilion/Cadmium Scarlet (PR 108)


Cadmium Vermilion/Cadmium Scarlet (PR – 108)

Information: opaque, lightfast
Handling Characteristics: Saturated red with a shift towards orange when used purely and when mixed with other pigments.

Cadmium Vermilion is one of my favorite warm opaque reds to use. I feel as if I use this color in all my paintings in some form or another.

Like Cadmium red medium it mixes well with other colors, either in two color or three color mixtures, and can make beautiful skin tones. Personally, I find cadmium vermilion to be essential for glowing flesh tones.

Cadmium Vermilion is also important for mixing a variety of grays, when mixed with blues or greens the grays of silver and pewter are captured.

My experience with Cadmium Vermilion, sometimes called Cadmium Scarlet (PR 108), comes from using three different manufacturers’ versions. Each version is a range of warm, orange-ish, medium opaque red. You’ll see from my swatch card that in the fourth row I have included Gamblin’s Cadmium Red Light (PR 108) also. This is because Gamblin’s Cad. Red Light really falls in to the same spectrum as the Cadmium Vermilion examples.

Row 1:
Name: Cadmium Vermilion (PR 108)
Manufacturer: Blue Ridge Oil Colors
My thoughts: Of this range of warm reds, Blue Ridge,s Cadmium Vermilion is one of my favorite oil colors to use. The first reason is because it is almost a spot on color of the red petals of an oriental poppy. Then also because it is so lush, and I particularly like how the color shifts to a pretty delightful salmon pink tone when mixed with whites. Also with this specific oil color, if you mix it down to a very, very light tint you are able to re-create the Old Holland color, Brilliant Yellow-Reddish, a color I used to always keep out on my palette until I realized it is so easy to mix with lead white and cadmium vermilion.

Row 2:
Name: Cadmium Vermilion (PR 108)
Manufacturer: Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors
My thoughts: the Williamsburg version of Cadmium Vermilion is another favorite of mine, it starts out more red than the Blue Ridge version, thus as it tints down it maintains a pink-ish quality, however there is still enough of a touch of orange in this color that makes it nice to work with.

Row 3:
Name: Cadmium Scarlet (PR 108)
Manufacturer: Winsor and Newton Artists Oil Colors
My thoughts: During my first years of learning how to paint with oils, the Winsor and Newton Cadmium Scarlet was my orangey-red I kept out on my palette. It was the one my mentor, Danni Dawson, used and I did not switch until I began to be curious about other paint manufacturers and what they offered. After trying the Blue Ridge and Williamsburg versions, I quit using the Winsor and Newton one.

Row 4:
Name: Cadmium Red Light (PR 108)
Manufacturer: Gamblin
My thoughts: I have not explored as much with the Gamblin color on this swatch card, however because I had some of this paint I wanted to place it in its place in relationship to my other colors.

Overall, it is a tossup for me in whether I choose to use the Blue Ridge or Williamsburg oil color. For several years I have been only using the Blue Ridge version, however when they had the fire in their factory a year ago and I ran low on my cadmium vermilion, I began using the Williamsburg version a bit more. I find if I start a painting with one version, I prefer to finish the painting with that version. I don’t switch back and forth between manufacturers when painting, especially if I am using the cadmium vermilion for flesh tones, it just becomes too tricky.

Here is an image of my original swatches I did of the cadmium reds and oranges before I began to make the graduated swatches.

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These articles about my color palette and the oil colors I use are the result of my experience and continued exploration. I have purchased all oil colors on my own and I have not received any reimbursement from the mentioned paint manufacturers or art supply stores. The usefulness and perceived attributes expressed here in these articles are my personal opinions.

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