As any of my students will tell you, I’m a big fan of the pigment Nickel Titanate. Nickel who? Yes, it’s the most luscious pigment you’ve never heard of, but its temperature makes it an essential color on my palette.
Nickel Titanate is a cool yellow. Many painters’ palettes include a cool and warm version of each primary. For example, ultramarine blue (cool) and phthalo blue (warm) or alizarin permanent (cool red) and cadmium red (warm red). Nickel Titanate is the cool version of yellow, as compared to cadmium yellow or hansa yellow, which are relatively warmer. Titanate serves as a substitute for lemon yellow which is the traditional cool yellow. What I like about Titanate is that its cool attributes are more distinct than those of lemon yellow. As compared to lemon, Titanate is not as intense, and has a slightly greenish cast. It is very opaque and holds up well in mixture.
When placed side by side, you can see how hansa yellow, on the left, is much warmer than lemon yellow. On the right, Nickel Titanate is considerably cooler, even cooler than lemon yellow. In terms of temperature, Titanate sits slightly closer to the green side of the color wheel, while cadmium or hansa yellow are closer to orange and red side of the wheel.
Not all manufacturer’s have Nickel Titanate in their lineup. However, these do: Gamblin, Daniel Smith, Old Holland, Sennelier, Blockx, Williamsburg, and Grumbacher.
For a more detailed explanation of cool and warm pigments, see The Expanded Primaries Palette at my website.