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. ....................................
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.