As any of my students will tell you, I’m a big fan of the pigment nickel titanate yellow. 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. (See Expanded Primaries Landscape Painting Palette.) For example, 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 lean toward the red side of the spectrum. 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.
Hansa yellow on the left, compared to nickel titanate on the right, clearly demonstrates the temperature differences between these warm and cool yellows. Cadmium or hansa yellow are closer to the orange or red side of the color wheel, while titanate sits slightly closer to the green 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 Expanded Primaries Landscape Painting Palette.