Color Spotlight: Quinophthalone Yellow (PY138)

Daler Rowney Artists – Permanent Yellow (PY138)

Quinophthalone yellow (PY138) is a pigment I have only ever seen in one paint, Permanent Yellow from Daler Rowney Artists. It’s a bright, bold, permanent yellow, nearly identical in hue to Pure Yellow (PY154) or Hansa Yellow Medium (PY97), with handling properties that remind me of Hansa Yellow Light (PY3).

This is my first paint from Daler Rowney, and English company that’s not too common in the U.S. You can generally find their student line, Aquafine, more readily than the professional Artist line, but I snagged this in my latest Jackson’s order after reading that it was a unique shade.

Experiment Results

Consistency: I found the paint runny out of the tube, but it dried and rewet well.

Hue: Very primary yellow, neither warm/orangey nor cool/greeny. (If it looks cool in the bar below the gradient, it’s just because I accidentally painted it on before the ink dried so it mixed with the black ink. The gradient masstone is more representative of its hue.)

Gradient: Lovely, easy gradient from a bold, bright yellow to a pale. No dark tone but very bright and strong for a yellow.

Opacity: Rated “Transparent” by Daler Rowney, but I found it left a bit of residue on the line and didn’t mix with other colors as readily as my most transparent paints; call it semi-transparent.

Glazing: Glazes nice and bold, similar to masstone.

Color Mixes

A truly primary yellow, this makes bright, clean oranges and greens. Especially bold mixes include the orange with Quinacridone Coral (PR209) and the green with Phthalo Green (PG7).

I found this a strong mixer, especially for a yellow. It was not easily overpowered by my stronger colors (Phthalos and whatnot), and even had a tendency to overpower my more gentle colors. (I actually organized my colors somewhat on this page with the stronger ones on the left, so you can see the difference.)

Like Hansa Yellow Light (PY3), this color almost resisted fully mixing with some colors and seemed to prefer to settle in a gradient with the yellow sinking to the bottom.

Comparison to Other Yellows

Yellow Comparison
From left: Da Vinci Hansa Yellow Light (PY3); Winsor Lemon (PY175); Daler Rowney Permanent Yellow (PY138); Winsor Yellow (PY154); Greenleaf & Bluberry Quinoxalinedione Yellow (PY213); Da Vinci Hansa Yellow Medium (PY74, reportedly identical in hue to PY97)

In the sorting of primary yellows from greenest (Hansa Yellow Light) to orangest (Hansa Yellow Medium), I placed this on the cool side of the middle.

What Others Say

The ASTM (1999) rates it as having “very good” lightfastness (II), and my own tests show a slight lightening of the pigment after two months of daily sunlight exposure. — Rowney permanent yellow is apparently the only commercial source; the paint is active wet in wet and resists blossoming. — A lovely basic yellow color, in a relatively new category of synthetic organic pigment. Possible alternative to the arylide hansa yellow (PY97) or benzimidazolone yellow (PY154) in the same hue category.

Bruce MacEvoy,

My Overall Review

A viable option for a primary yellow, especially if you have a lot of strong colors in your palette. This is a yellow strong enough to take them on! Although, as with Hansa Light, I’m not enamored of its tendency to resist mixing in certain colors.

On my palette? Nah – this is at best a lateral move for me from my primary PY154 or PY175 Lemon Yellow, which I prefer.

Favorite version: Daler Rowney is the only PY138 yellow I know of!

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