BIG WHEEL O’ COLOR | yellow is a lonely fellow

I recently added 9 new Daniel Smith watercolors to my palette – two of which are yellow. In the next few blog posts, I will share my thoughts on them and I how I envision using them in future work.

If you haven’t heard by naow – yellow is a pretty lonely color on my palette. Given that it is my least favorite color, I hate to give it a ton of space on my palette – BUT it is essential to my work since I seem to paint with every color in all of my illustrations. What can I say? I am a rainbow kinda girl!

DANIEL SMITH (PY43) | burgundy yellow ochre
A warm, glowing earth color, surprisingly smooth in washes. In a light wash, the yellow is very clean, as sunny and subtle as morning light in a French vineyard. This natural ochre was mined from a deep vein that runs near the Loire River in western Burgundy. since the mines were closed in 1970, we feel lucky to have found a supply of this unique pigment.

  • ASTM Lightfastness Rating: Excellent
  • Transparency: Transparent
  • Granulating: Yes
  • Staining: Non-staining

DANIELLE’S THOUGHTS | burgundy yellow ochre is a rich, golden yellow that reminds me of wheat fields and sunsets. It pairs and mixes beautifully with so many colors! I plan on using it to warm up my rainbow palette and give depth to colors in a new way. It does granulate when I add a pinch of salt but doesn’t create additional colors – just pretty, but faint blooms. Its very creamy and consistent and lays down evenly. It does not take much water to reactivate in pan form and doesn’t take much to create a strong wash on my mixing palette.

DANIEL SMITH (PY53)| nickel titanate yellow

This semi-transparent Yellow Green appears opaque in mass, yet lifts cleanly. It is low staining, making it excellent in portrait mixtures for dark flesh tones. Use concentrated to diluted mixtures in florals and field flowers. This lemon yellow hue works well with purples and all the greens.

  • ASTM Lightfastness Rating: Excellent – Not yet rated by ASTM – Rating based on Daniel Smith’s independent testing.
  • Transparency: Semi-transparent
  • Granulating: Yes
  • Staining: Non-staining

DANIELLE’S THOUGHTS | nickel titanate yellow is a delicate yellow with a hint of green – making it the perfect lemon yellow for me! Other lemon yellows have a blueish tint which I am not a fan of so I am really excited about this yellow (which says a lot!) and am excited to add it to the mix and let yellow shine a bit more in my work. It activates on my palette easily and mixes well with water. It is not completely transparent which can make it a little harder to work with but I have high hopes (and expectations!) I get the feeling it is going to play well with others adding a soft glow to my work.

Want to add them to your palette, too? Just click on the color below and you’ll be whisked away to Amazon. At the time of this posting, these links are a good price and the product comes from Daniel Smith. IMPORTANT! Amazon has a mind of its own and prices change based on demand, availability and parameters that are totally out of my control. If the price is more than $20 per tube, please type in “Daniel Smith COLOR NAME” into the Amazon search box and see what other purchasing options you have! Still not sure if it is the best price? Check other online art supply stores!

I have to admit – daniel smith writes such interesting descriptions of their colors that some of them make it onto my palette because I really like their story. Some because I love their sister and brother colors in their family (like the COBALT family, or the ULTRAMARINE family), and some make it because I know that I might not use them as the star of the illustration but as the perfect supporting color.

Descriptions and information about Daniel Smith Watercolors from –  a site chock full of really helpful and interesting information. All paints referenced are 5 ml or 15 ml tubes. My process is simply filling a pan from the tube, allowing it to dry completely, then reactivating it with water when I paint.

9 Comments on “BIG WHEEL O’ COLOR | yellow is a lonely fellow”

  1. Avatar

    Hi Danielle, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these 2 colors. Back when I was in school obtaining my interior design degree I had the wonderful opportunity to intern for Michelle Lamb, a brilliant woman who’s career is color and trend forecasting. She also had a way of describing and assessing colors for their nuances and perfect uses and pairings. Needless to say, I learned a great deal from her, as I am from you.

    I’ve been slowly adding DS colors to my big wheel. Many simply because we’ve used them in your workshops, but also because I have favorites too! Adding new colors feels like I’m adding new opportunities. I would be very curious to know what you feel are the top, say 10 or 20 DS colors to have in our palettes. Either they’re all-around great basics or maybe there’s a color that is not used often, but always adds a special something to a piece. What are the colors you reach for most often or couldn’t live without? I’m sure all fans of your work, and your workshop students would love to know!

    Thank you!

    1. danielle

      new colors lead to new opportunities for sure! I will work on the top 20 list. It’s going to be hard to choose! I love, love color – everything about it. 🙂

      1. Avatar

        Thanks Danielle! I’m looking forward to your top 20 list! I just love the way you use and combine colors in your work. You are a master colorist! I get excited whenever there’s a new DD posting on IG. I’d love to see a full view of that cactus you did for Cutegirl! It looked darling…I live in AZ, so I may need to make one too!

  2. Avatar

    Good morning Danielle and happy hump day! What an excellent post sharing your new findings with picture and prose! I’m so looking forward to following your Big Wheel O’ Color web postings. I, like you, am not a fan of the color yellow, yet find I use it often and am always unhappy with the yellows that I have. I really like these 2 options and look forward to adding them to my palette. The picture of the colors, at the top of your post, is so helpful. I, like Kathy Connolly stated, would enjoy a blog post discussing your top 20 watercolors. It would really help to put your color choices into perspective and apply them while taking your classes. Thanks again for this and future posts in this series.

    1. danielle

      Look for another post this week! I will do my best to come up with a top 20! Sigh. what WILL we do with that color?? 🙂

  3. Avatar

    Since I found you, i have been a committed fan!! I’d follow you anywhere…for the most part. I am enjoying your Big Wheel ‘O Color immensely, and would add my name to the request list for your top 20 Daniel Smith colors. Thank you so much for your postings, your classes and your books. Thank you, thank you

    1. danielle

      Kathleen – I am so happy you are enjoying my class. I have made a note about the top 20. That would be so hard but I will try!

  4. Avatar

    I too am not a fan of yellows. I am painting a yellow waterlily and even all the hints of purple, blue, and green (plus other wonderful colors) in the shows are just not enough to cause me to break out party toots!
    I love both of those colors but the nickel yellow works well for flowers/leaves and will lift some.
    I love the idea of showcasing colors on a blog and will be using this idea. Thanks! Love your blog!

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