Color Spotlight: Brilliant Hansa Yellow (PY74)

Da Vinci – Hansa Yellow Medium

A bold, middle, primary yellow, extremely similar to PY97.

Pigment Stats for PY74

Lightfastness: Depends. Per ArtIsCreation: “[I]t appears that the light fastness of this pigment is not good in tints and transparent versions. It appears to be rated higher in acrylics which may add some degree of protection? Most paint makers only use it in acrylic or inks… Comes in both opaque and transparent versions. It appears that the light fastness is better in opaque formulations.”

Toxicity: Nontoxic (A) per ArtIsCreation

Observations of Da Vinci Hansa Yellow Medium

Color Family: Middle Yellow

Hue: Bold yellow just to the orange side of a primary middle yellow.

Gradient: Easy to grade, very smooth and even. Does not get dark, but has a good range of values for a yellow, from bright to light.

Opacity: Semi-opaque with visible color on the line.

Lightfastness Test for Da Vinci Hansa Yellow Medium (PY74)

Lightfastness test for DV Hansa Yellow Medium (PY74). Left: window swatch, exposed to western light in Boston, MA, from July 30-December 9, 2023. Right: Protected strip.

Shockingly, despite this being a pretty widely panned color for lightfastness, my tests showed nothing but good performance over 4 months in my window. I really didn’t see any difference between these swatches.

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)

Da Vinci’s Hansa Yellow Medium is the rightmost in this range, and the most orangey of my “primary yellow” collection. However, it’s still very much a yellow and not an orange.

Comparison to Other Brands

Letter Sparrow – Sunflower

Letter Sparrow – Sunflower (PY74)

A super-bold, semi-opaque version from the Letter Sparrow Grow Untamed palette! With this one, I noticed how relatively bold and slightly orange-toned it is compared to my other typical yellows, yet it still never crosses the line into orange territory.

Top to bottom: Winsor Lemon (PY175); Winsor Yellow (PY154); Letter Sparrow Sunflower (PY74); Holbein Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (PY110)

LS Sunflower is even bolder than Da Vinci HYM.

Da Vinci Hansa Yellow Medium (PY74), left, is not as bold as Letter Sparrow Sunflower (PY74), right.

A bit concerned that I like the LS so much more since I only have it in my palette due to a short-term collab with Art Toolkit; they typically sell in standard-sized pans, that don’t fit in an Art Toolkit.

Commercial Mixes Made from PY74

Holbein – Permanent Yellow Deep

Holbein – Permanent Yellow Deep (PY74, PY83)

This mix of two yellows is deeper than a standard medium hansa yellow but much more yellow (and less orange) than a hansa deep or isonindolinone yellow. This is a very similar hue to Letter Sparrow’s Sunflower and is my choice for a tube-based refill of that very lovely color.

The drawback is that this is a mix of two colors (PY74 and PY83) that are not renowned for being lightfast. Ironic considering the name. However, I have not done lightfastness tests.

Another option to mix this hue is to mix PY154 (or similar) and PY65 (or similar).

Color Mixes

Hansa Yellow Deep (PY65)

WN Winsor Yellow Deep (PY65) + LS Sunflower (PY74) on Canson XL

These colors aren’t quite different enough to have both in the palette.

Benzimida Orange (PO62)

DV Benzimida Orange (PO62) + Letter Sparrow Sunflower (PY74) on Canson XL

A range of bold yellow-orange mixes.

Naphthamide Maroon (PR171)

DS Naphthamide Maroon (PR171) + Letter Sparrow Sunflower (PY74) on Canson XL

Pretty ugly.

Phthalo Turquoise (PB16)

DV Hansa Yellow Medium (PY74) + WN Phthalo Turquoise (PB16) on Canson XL

A nice range of bold, intense, leaf greens. They’re muted enough to look natural, but still very deep, like summer foliage.

My Review of PY74 Brilliant Hansa Yellow

I really enjoy this bright, bold, deep yellow; it’s a happy color, the watercolor equivalent of my favorite discontinued Crayola crayon, Dandelion. It’s plain yellow enough to be used as a primary yellow in a palette, but also has a warmth to it that makes it great for mixing vivid oranges or naturalistic (i.e. not maximally vivid) greens.

A more neutral yellow, such as Imidazolone Yellow (PY154), is more versatile on an all-purpose palette, but PY74 is great for some situations. Summer is the ideal season for it. I took it on a walk with me in late July and found that it was the perfect color for nearly every flower I saw in bloom at the time: sunflowers, tansies, and goldenrod.

PY74 summer flowers. July 31, 2023.

A hesitation about this color is that PY74 is not as lightfast as some yellow options, and can fade in tints. This shouldn’t be a problem in gouache, where it’s only used in masstone.

Favorite version: I really like Letter Sparrow’s super bold and opaque version, but it’s pan-only. For gouache, I do like Holbein’s Canola Yellow from their Irodori Summer set.

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