Mixing Naples Yellow

A little while ago I added Daniel Smith’s Naples Yellow to my watercolour collection. I haven’t used it properly yet so I thought I would start by seeing how it mixes with other colours….

I picked just a few random colours and made a chart:

Naples Yellow - NB

Naples Yellow is a soft creamy mellow yellow and created some lovely soft pastel shades when I mixed it with a few different colours. I particularly liked how it mixed with Daniel Smith’s Quinacridone Magenta – it created what I would describe as “vintage rose” colours  – very lovely and inspiring….

I only tried just a few colours but what I’ve learnt from this exercise is that when I want to use soft gentle pastel colours in my watercolour work Naples Yellow is a good colour to have in the mix….

30 thoughts on “Mixing Naples Yellow

  1. What a pretty colour chart, Evelyn. I like it when experiments end up with something lovely to look at! I am sure the new colour will prove very useful. It’s always a good thing to put the effort into making things like this as it saves a lot of time and work in the long run. Keep up the good work!


    1. Thank you Shoshi – I always try out new colours on some watercolour paper first so I have an idea how they will react when I use them in my art. It’s a useful learning exercise for me….

  2. Lovely, Evelyn i used to use Naples Yellow a lot but don’t have it in the box at the moment. Pity, as it is just what I need for my wash. I want to start a colour chart too but haven’t yet. Spent all weekend sick🙁

  3. What a great technical exercise. I’ve been meaning to indulge in buying some more watercolours and this has given me plenty of food for thought. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Andy – I love playing with colour and I always try out new colours on a sheet of paper before I use them in any art. It’s a good learning exercise on how colours mix and react with each other, I find it useful….

  4. can you explain your chart? there are three for each. Is it one under and one over and…?? I love what you’ve done – just want to understand 🙂

    1. The Naples Yellow is on it’s own in the top left corner. The colour mixes go across horizontally and directly underneath them I have named the colours I used. So there is only 2 Alizarin Crimson mixes and 3 of all the others except for the very bottom line where there is 5 and the names of the colours used are on the right of them (they wouldn’t fit underneath!). I hope that makes sense for you Jodi.

      1. sorry to be dense – lol – but when you say there are two alizarin crimson and 3 of others – what is the difference between for example the two alizarin crimsons? Did you layer one on top of the other, then reverse, or add varying degrees of paint?

      2. It’s ok Jodi – I’m happy to explain! With the 2 Alizarin Crimson samples for example, the one on the left I added just a small amount of the crimson to the Naples yellow in a pallette, then for the one on the right I simply added a bit more crimson – so you end up with different shades of mixed colour. The other samples were done not identically but in a similar way so I ended up with different shades, depending on how much of each colour I used. But with all of them I mixed the colours in a palette first. Really the colour combinations are limitless but mostly I just kept to about three shades. If you would like to know how I go about mixing my colours in the palette, just say and I wiill explain that too… !☺

      3. I understand now! Thanks!! I sure appreciate you taking the time to explain. There are so many ways to do it! I just wondered which process you used. Beautiful colors! I have Naples Yellow and have not used it much as of yet. 🙂

  5. I’m always amazed how many new colours you can get just by mixing a few – and it’s difficult to mix the exact shade again as the ratios (and in this case even the amount of water) have to be the same. The possibilities are truly endless! Lovely colour play – makes me want to play with my colours too!

    1. Thank you Zsuzsa – I love colour play! And you’re right – the possibilities are endless! I like creating colour charts, I find them a really useful way to learn – they give me a just basic idea of how colours react with each other. And I find it’s best not to get too bogged down with ratios of water and pigment, as long as I’ve got a basic idea of what colours I’m going to end up with when I mix, I’m happy!

    1. Thank you Holly – I’m the same, I have it but haven’t used it much! But these colour samples have given me some inspirational ideas of how I could use it more. It’s a beautiful gentle yellow….

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