Transparent Yellow Oxide – PY42

transparent yellow oxide

The third and final color in Daniel Smith’s series of transparent and granulating mars browns discussed here is the yellow color. The other two are Transparent Red Oxide and Transparent Brown Oxide.

Transparent Yellow Oxide from Daniel Smith is a transparent, durable, and granulating paint. The color tone is unclear yellow-orange. The pigment is synthetic hydrogenated iron oxide (PY42). It was already created in the 18th century but did not become common as a pigment in artists’ paints until the 20th century. The majority of all yellowish modern earth colors from major manufacturers contain PY42, ranging from opaque ochres to transparent siennas. The color tone varies from just a slightly unclear lemon yellow to orange-brown.

There are several manufacturers that provide transparent yellow-brown paints with PY42 as a pigment. A common name for these colors is Mars yellow. What distinguishes the paint from Daniel Smith is its granulation, a characteristic that makes the paint special. The way the color granulates is the same as for the others in the series of transparent iron oxides (both the one called Transparent Red Oxide and Transparent Brown Oxide). The granulation is not created, as is customary, with a grainy pattern on the paper, but by forming threads instead.

As I see it, all modern ocher colors are a bit boring, they are opaque and give a flat impression. I don’t like to use such colors. However, there are a lot of natural ochres to buy that are very nice. Unfortunately, you have to look for them, almost all major manufacturers only provide opaque, flat and, in my opinion, boring yellow ocher colors.

In this context, Transparent Yellow Oxide appears as a nice addition to the color palette. A synthetic iron oxide paint that is transparent and has character. I probably wouldn’t use it with natural colors. It fits better in an environment where other modern colors are used.

I recently bought the paint, and have only used it in a few paintings, but already find it a great addition to my palette. Try it if, like me, you are tired of all the uninspiring and bland modern ochres. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the good qualities of the paint, even though these are artificially produced. Compared to natural ocher colors, Transparent Yellow Oxide feels colorful and a bit aggressive. Something that is not necessarily negative.

A transparent color with a golden hue
Not very staining

Is this a bloom?
Immobile in water

Granulates and leaves a hard edge

Left wet, right dry. Not much difference. Somewhat lost color hue but same value.


Color index name: PY42
Lightfastness: Excellent
Transparency: Transparent
Staining: Only slightly
Granulates: Yes (sort of)

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