Using Yellow

September 21, 2007 at 1:46 pm

Trees on a Hill “Trees on a Hill”, 2007, 12×9″.

As I mentioned last time, right now I’m only using one yellow, cadmium yellow. I almost never use it straight from the tube. It’s very intense. Mixed with white it makes a very strong yellow that doesn’t “shout” too loudly. All of the yellows in the above painting are mixed with at least a little white. The paler shades, of course, have much more white in the mix.

Cadmium yellow mixed with cadmium red makes a strong but not overbearing orange. I will talk more about orange in another post.

Mixed with blue, cadmium yellow makes a good range of bright greens. Given that cadmium yellow is an orange-yellow rather than a green-yellow, greens mixed from it tend to be less saturated. Even so, I often dull them down further with a small bit of red. The above painting is an exception to this rule, in that I used some pretty bright shades of green. All were mixed from cadmium yellow and one or the other of my blues (mostly ultramarine). I always mix my greens, I don’t use any tube greens.

The other yellow, cadmium lemon, is so intense that I had dropped it from my palette a year or two ago. But I am considering reintroducing it, especially now that I’m in California and need to depict the brassy light here. I might find cadmium lemon’s brash exuberance useful.

Mixed with blue, cadmium lemon yellow makes greens that are so bright they appear fluorescent… or poisonous! But mixed with white, and maybe a tiny bit of something else, it can make some very delicate pale colors.

We’ll see how I feel about cadmium lemon yellow when I try using it again. I’m looking forward to the experiment. And of course I’ll report on the results!

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Entry filed under: Color, Painting, Palette.

My Palette: Yellow Art that Lifts the Spirit


Barbara J Carter

I'm an artist. I make paintings with dots.

I work in acrylic paint, in a couple of distinct styles: landscapes and abstracts.

Native to California, I've lived elsewhere and only recently returned to my home state. I now live in Los Angeles.

I mostly show my art in outdoor festivals in California. I also occasionally show my work in art galleries or open studio events. You can see an up-to-date list of upcoming shows on my website (click here).

I invite you to sign up to receive my free email newsletter, in which I list my upcoming shows and talk about my latest work. I send it irregularly, a few times a year.

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Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

A bunch of my abstract dot paintings

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