The Beauty of Yellow

Yellow is seen as a warm colour, and is associated with sunlight and happiness. It has been found in some of the oldest paintings that date back to ancient Rome and ancient Egypt. One of the oldest pigments that still exists is ‘Yellow Ochre’ which has been found in cave paintings over 17,000 years old. 

The Cadmium range of pigments was first introduced in 1840-1890. 


Cadmium Lemon Yellow is a bright, tangy colour, which is prepared using a light lemon (almost green shade) that is mixed with crystal inorganic pigment, cadmium zinc sulphide. This inorganic pigment can lighten and increase the opacity of mixing warm colours without overthrowing them. The pigments also has excellent heat stability, and a high degree of light fastness which makes it ideal to use in a professional watercolour range. When used on the artists’ palette, the colour is often used as cool primary colour. It is also opaque and retains its strong, vibrant colour when diluted. 


Colour Index Drying Time Transparency Lightfastness


Cadmium Yellow pigments where first founded in the early 19th century but the early forms often darkened when exposure to light and air. Later, another cadmium based pigment was founded using cadmium sulphide and zine sulphide, which formed a stronger and stable pigment. These pigments are bright and have a good transparency when used in thin washes. The pigments have an excellent heat stability, a high degree of light fastness and also chemical resistance. When used on the artists’ palette it can be used as a mid-shade yellow, which can be mixed with blue to form a selection of greens or with red to form a selection of oranges. 


Mixing Cadmium Yellows

Lemon Yellow is a valuable colour to have on an artist’s palette, as it can be used for a variety of subjects, such as, natural landscapes or flowers. It contains a hint of blue in the pigment so, if you mix it with Phthalo blue (which contains a hint of yellow in the pigment) you make green. 

Cadmium Yellow Medium is a very strong colour on its own, and when diluted it will make a bright, cooler yellow. it contains a hint of red in the pigment, when mixed with Cadmium Red (which contains a hint of yellow in the pigment) you make orange.