Nickel Azo yellow (Transparent Yellow) PY150

Nickel Azo Yellow

Maybe I should admit right away: Nickel Azo yellow is my favorite among yellow colors nowadays. Previously, it had competition from Nickel Dioxin yellow (PY153) and Quinacridone Gold (PO49), but none of these colors are manufactured anymore, then Nickel Azo is a good alternative.

I have noticed that many people who buy the paint in a pan are surprised that it looks brown in a pan. Some even think that they have been given the wrong color, that it is an ocher or sienna, but that is what it looks like, brown in the pan but yellow on the paper. The reason why it looks brown is that it is quite dull in full tone but also that the color is transparent so that it gives the effect of brownness in the cup.

Nickel Azo yellow dries up with only a little lost value and hue, so there is not much difference between the color freshly painted and dried. In thick layers of color it is dull and seems warm in tone, while in thinner layers it has a beautiful medium yellow clear tone.

The pigment is very lightfast. It is staining and not granulating. Its main asset is the transparency that is unusual among yellow colors. This makes the color a good replacement for colors that no longer exist such as: Quinacridone Gold, Gamboge and Indian yellow.

Use the color for mixtures with both red and blue, you can get nice orange or orange-brown mixtures with Nickel Azo and different reds. With different blues, yellows and maybe with the addition of some red color, you get amazing greens. The color is really nice in different green color mixes.

Like all pigments containing nickel, the paint is slightly toxic. In normal use, the paint is harmless, but if you are allergic to nickel, avoid the paint for face painting.

The pigment is common as an ingredient in various yellow, green and orange mixed colors, but as an independent pigment it is unfortunately less common. I have only found eight manufacturers that provide the paint.

SCHMINCKE: Transparent Yellow (PY150)
DANIEL SMITH: Nickel Azo Yellow (PY150)
WINSOR & NEWTON: Transparent Yellow (PY150)
MAIMERIBLU: Transparent Yellow (PY150)
M. GRAHAM: Nickel Azo Yellow (PY150)
ROYAL TALENS: Aureolin (PY150)
ROMAN SZMAL: Nickel Azo Yellow (PY150)

Nickel Azo Yellow The color is very transparent, especially for being a yellow color. The tone looks warmer in thick layers of color
The color is very transparent, especially for being a yellow color. The tone looks warmer in thick layers of color
Nickel Azo Yellow The color is quite staining
The color is quite staining
Nickel Azo Yellow No blooming
No blooming
Nickel Azo Yellow Transparent, and it does not granulate
Transparent, and it does not granulate
Nickel Azo Yellow Works pretty well wet in wet
Works pretty well wet in wet


Color index name: PY150
Lightfastness: Excellent
Transparency: Yes
Staining: Yes
Granules: No

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Mr. S.
3 years ago

It’s certainly a very beautiful yellow

2 years ago

Erik, you are the ONLY person I’ve found to state that Nickel Azo Yellow can be considered a substitute for PO49 Q Gold (and I’ve searched). It’s what I suspected, so I will now buy some. You also outlined a lot of other reasons, so thank you! I also notice that you don’t have QGo listed in your yellows. Thanks for that as well. I’m so tired of color reviewers going on and on about it when it’s no longer available. Those who stockpiled it years ago are well aware of its attributes so let’s move on!

2 years ago

My perfect trio: PY150, PV19 Rose, PB15:3; I love how they share similarities: transparency, tinting, staining, non-granulating, and especially the magic that make them look dark enough in masstone but glowing bright when diluted.

Mr. S.
Reply to  Erik
2 years ago

I’m a little confused, isn’t that the combination for green?

Mr. S.
Reply to  Erik
2 years ago

My bad, I got it. I thought the thread had to do with QG substitutions.

1 year ago

Roman Szmal, a Polish maker of watercolour paints, also includes Nickel Azo Yellow (PY150) in his Aquarius line of artist paints and these are increasingly easy to find worldwide.

1 month ago

Thank you for this article. I have the version by Rosa Gallery, which is a Ukranian producer, and I love it. I have many other yellows, but this one is just so versatile, I tend to reach for it most often. The only thing I can’t use it for is when a cool lemon yellow is needed.

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