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.


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.