Could there be a lovely colour to work with than cobalt teal blue? I confess that this lovely hue finds its way into almost every painting I create, and looking at it, maybe you can see why!

Photo Credit: Danielsmith.comWhile it's pretty straight from the tube, it also works beautifully when mixed. Adding magenta will give you a lovely greyed violet, yellow or green gold for a vibrant spring green, and using both pink & yellow in combination will create a fascinating muddy grey that separates as it dries to reveal hints of each individual colour.

And I'm not alone in loving cobalt teal. In a recent issue of the online newsletter, American Watercolour, Keiko Tanabe names cobalt teal her favourite colour and signs all her paintings with this semi-transparent hue. Shades of turquoise and teal pop up frequently in colour master Stephen Quiller's works, often as a complement to vibrant orange and red. Even when cobalt teal isn't the chosen pigment, its hues are often mixed by artists like John Lovett, using other colours from the palette (more on that below).

Cobalt teal is a lighter value colour, but its semi-transparent qualities mean that it doesn't have to saved only for the early stages of a painting. I like dropping in rich mixtures of cobalt teal into a dark wash, seeing the teal push against the darker values to create a pop of lighter colour. Thick strokes of cobalt teal in the final stages of a painting can add a light value accent over darks that couldn't be achieved with a more transparent colour.

While the cobalt teal I'm using right now is from Daniel Smith, they are not the only stockist of this beautiful and versatile hue. QoR makes a very similar shade with the same name, and Winsor & Newton offers Cobalt Turquoise and Cobalt Turquoise Light. Sennelier's Cobalt Green is really only a shade warmer; I've used it as both a green and a blue. You can create lovely turquoise washes with more transparent qualities by starting with Phthalo Turquoise, or Phthalo Green & Blue combined. Schmincke's Helio Turquoise is another very transparent beauty, and Daniel Smith also offers Sleeping Beauty Turquoise which feels slightly cloudier and more sedimentary than Cobalt Teal Blue. I've linked up supplies below.

Whenever you are working with colour, you are starting an adventure to discover a myriad of magical combinations. Add a new colour, then play with it, working it into your palette to help you see how it "plays" with other colours, and give yourself time to really get to know it before you make up your mind whether it's the right fit for you or not. Sometimes a colour you hate now becomes a favourite later.

Resource Links:

Subscribe to American Watercolor Weekly (email newsletter)
Cobalt Teal & Friends supply list at Blick Art Materials

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