Color Spotlight: Aquarius Yellow (PY168)

Roman Szmal Aquarius Yellow (PY168)

PY168 is a bright, semi-opaque, cool lemon yellow. Chemically, PY168 is a monoazo yellow, similar to Azo Yellow (PY151).

I’ve only ever seen the PY168 pigment in the Roman Szmal paint, Aquarius Yellow. I wanted to try it for a long time and was delighted when a friend send me a mini-pan, along with some other Roman Szmal samples. It was my first time trying Roman Szmal!

Pigment Stats for Pigment Yellow PY168

What is it? Monoazo calcium lake

Lightfastness: Excellent (I) per ArtisCreation

Toxicity: Nontoxic (A) per ArtisCreation

Opacity: Semi-opaque


Hue: Very bright, cool-leaning yellow that jumps off the page!

Gradient: Smooth and easy. Very well-behaved.

Color Mixing: Cool mixes, slightly streaky; being opaque I think it doesn’t mix as smoothly as a transparent color.

Comparison to Other Yellow Pigments

Aquarius Yellow is a worthy competitor to other bright, cool yellows, like Hansa Yellow Light (PY3), Imidazolone Lemon (PY175), Azo Yellow (PY151). Because of its opacity, it is perhaps most similar to PY3.

Cool yellow comparison: Holbein Imidazolone Yellow (PY175), DS Azo Yellow (PY1510, Roman Szmal Aquarius Yellow (PY168)

My Review of Aquarius Yellow

Aquarius Yellow just leaps off the page with its brightness! This is especially true unmixed. Like Hansa Yellow Light, it seems to have an almost electric quality, perhaps because it is so cool and opaque; it really pops off the page. It mixes similarly to other bright, cool yellows.

I don’t know that I find Aquarius Yellow any better than other Lemon Yellows, but if I were to put together a Roman Szmal palette, I’d be happy to use this in my Lemon Yellow slot. (Of course, given that RS is a harder-to-find brand in North America, it’s honey-based (I tend to prefer brands that use gum arabic as a binder so they don’t melt when it’s humid), and it only comes in pans and not tubes, I’d have to go pretty far out of my way to make a RS color a palette regular.)

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