A good neutral yellow for realism?

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum and I live in Australia so I can't as yet order the Geneva paints. I have the option of buying the W&N paints suggested by DMP, but as I am already blowing my budget on all the other stuff I need to set up my studio I thought I would try and mix my own jars of paint using the SDM and old tubes of oil paint I have lying around.

The hundreds of forum posts I have just read (all very interesting) have helped me work out which Ultra Marine, Burnt Umber and Aliz Crimson to choose from my collection. I have based this on their particular colour bias. I am starting to see that the DMP limited pallette maintains a general balance of neutrality as required for painting realism and so is designed to avoid colours that are too bright or to dull to work together in providing flexibility.

So my question is what temperature bias is W&N Cadmium Yellow Pale? ...i.e. what bias should I look for in choosing a yellow from my collection? I have here an R&G Chrome Yellow (quite warm) an Art Spectrum Cadmium Yellow (warmish) an Art Spectrum Cadmium Yellow Light ( a bit cool) and an R&G Lemon Yellow (quite cool, greenish tinge).

Any thoughts? Cheers,


  • Chris

    W&N CYP is cool and very similar to Art Spectrum.

  • Oh right.
    So just to clarify -you mean similar to Art Spectrum Cad Yellow Light the cooler of the two? which would make sense becuase I noticed in the video that Mark's Yellow looked quite cool for a Cadmium Yellow.
  • Chis

    Yes. WNCYP straddles nicely the orange hue of CYM and the greenish cast of CY lemon.
    I am a bit blue/green compromised but that's how I see it.

    However CYP is a powerful tint and delivers a strong punch as a mixer.

  • While it's nice to have a neutral cadmium yellow, it's not critical in the vast majority of scenarios because you're typically going to be using "dirty" (not extreme) colors. Mark used to use W&N Cadmium Yellow Pale, but sometimes he got Cadmium Yellow Light instead, simply because that's what was available at the art store. Just avoid cadmium yellows that are clearly orange or clearly green — if it's just leaning a little one way or another, it's okay.

    Regarding the way Geneva paint looks in our videos, you can't really use that to judge. Our cameras can't pick up all the colors accurately… we've actually had a lot of issues when trying to show strong greens for example, because many shades of green that we can mix up simply don't translate to video. We had a whole tutorial on color mixing we were going to put in a Q&A video once and had to scrap it because what worked in person just didn't work on screen. And as far as exact shades of colors, that's way too specific to trust our cameras, the image processing, and your monitor for.

    The Geneva Cadmium Yellow, when you look at in person, is right in that spot where it doesn't seem to tend towards green or tend towards orange at all (or put another way, it's not a cool yellow or a warm yellow, but right in the middle). Cadmium yellows come in all kinds of shades, from colors that really ought to be called orange in my opinion, to particularly green cadmium lemon colors.
  • Whatever you do, only use the White that is recommended in the Supply list With the SDM medium or you will have the problem of it hardening in the Jar overnight.
  • Thank you so much my friends, that is all really good information. When I get all my ingredients together and mix the paints I'll let you know how it went.
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