• Abigail Muncy

Color Review: Williamsburg Naples Italian Yellow

I’m trying out a new oil paint color on my palette this week! Gather 'round and I’ll tell you all about Williamsburg Naples Yellow Italian and why I’m loving it. (This post contains affiliate links.)


Last year, I painted a couple of landscapes that I loved. One of the colors I used on my palette was a student-grade Naples yellow hue, thinking that, if I liked it, I would look for something of better quality. Well, I dropped that ball, as I so often do, but picked it back up a few weeks ago as I was thinking of ways to tweak my summer palette.


I started researching different brands, but soon realized I was priced out of the few genuine Naples yellows, which are traditionally made from lead antimoniate (PY-41). Many of the hue colors available that are less expensive look more like Caucasian flesh tone crayons than the real thing. Although I’d used them before, I wanted something with more warmth and depth.


After looking around, I decided to order Williamsburg’s Naples Yellow Italian. It’s made from Cadmium Yellow (PY-35), Chrome Antimony Titanate (PBr-24), and Titanium White (PW-6). I normally prefer single pigment colors, but this color works beautifully with everything I could throw at it. It has a good tinting strength, so it stands up to the many strong pigments that I use. It also warms and lightens mixes while keeping the colors nice and clean. Below are some of the mixes I created last week.


Warm greens that are bright, but not garish, using Ultramarine, Cobalt and Cadmium Yellow. On the far right is a beautiful gray-green with Naples Yellow Italian as part of a primary triad mix.

Cooler spring greens. The one on the far left is my favorite. Here warm and cool are balanced to give a beautiful, cool, spring green that's still quiet. The color on the far right is similar to Cinnabar Green. The bottom of the swatch is with more Naples Yellow Italian to create a Cinnabar Green Light.

Red oranges. The dark terracotta color created on the far left makes is so beautiful! It could be pre-mixed and used as a nice substitute for burnt sienna.

Soft, peachy pinks. The Naples Yellow Italian holds it's own against these reds, possibly because it contains a cadmium yellow pigment.

Neutrals mixed with primaries with Naples Yellow Italian as the yellow in the triad. Mixing with red, blue, and yellow keeps grays and browns from looking flat and dull.

I also took it for a spin at Frying Pan Park last Friday, and I really loved how it behaved in all my mixes. I always love a paint that allows me to lighten a color without making it cold and chalky. I used it throughout these studies. There’s a little in the skies to make them just a touch turquoise. It’s in the browns of the dirt roads and added to the light greens in the foregrounds to make them come forward.


My compact plein air set up from last week. Naples Yellow Italian is second from the left and makes a nice alternative to white when lightening a color.

My palette above is a plain hinged tin a little larger that 5x7. It's nice and slim, and I love it so much, I'm planning to buy another for gouache. It's available from this Etsy seller. The Ivory Pochade set from Rosemary and Co. fit perfectly in the tin when it isn't set up with paint. My color choices for this session worked really well together, and I'm sticking with it for awhile. If you're interested: (from l to r) Titanium White (Gamblin), Naples Yellow Italian (W), Cad. Yellow Light (W),Indian Yellow (MH), Napthol Red (MH), Permanent Rose (WN), Transparent Oxide Red (MH), Cerulean (W), Pthalo Blue (MH), Ultramarine (MH), Viridian (MH), Italian Terra Verte (W).

The greens at the bottom of the sketch are a little blown out because of the late morning sun, but you can see their light without going acidy thanks to NYI.

Yummy sky that's just a little bit turquoise with the addition of yellow.

I’ve since taken a couple of days’ break from painting to take one of my children to a college orientation, but it’s on my palette in the freezer ready to go for later this week.


Do you use Naples Yellow? If so share your experience and recommendations in the comments!