I’ve had Cobalt Teal Blue on my palette for years — it’s one of my favorites. I’ve found that not many people know about this glorious color and all the magic mixes you can make with it, so I decided to write this Ode to Cobalt Teal Blue.
- This is pigment number PG50
- Daniel Smith (DS) calls it Cobalt Teal Blue (15 ml)
- Winsor and Newton (WN) calls it Cobalt Turquoise Light (5 ml or 14 ml)
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It’s given “Top 40” pigment status at handprint.com:
Cobalt titanate green PG50 is a very lightfast, semiopaque, moderately staining, mid valued, moderately intense green blue to moderately dark, moderately dull blue green or green pigment, available from 10 pigment manufacturers worldwide. Like other cobalt pigments, all manufacturer tests (as well as my own) show these pigments have “excellent” (I) lightfastness, though they are still unrated by the ASTM. In watercolors the PG50 pigments undergo a very small drying shift, holding their lightness and dropping in saturation by 10% or less.— Bruce MacEvoy, handprint.com
I find that the Daniel Smith version has more granulation and is a bit weaker in mixes, while the Winsor and Newton version seems to have smaller pigment particles and rewets better in my palette. Either one is a wonderful addition to your palette.
Here are some of my uses for PG50:
- I use this on it’s own for the color of the sky close to the horizon — I find it’s a much better match for desert skies than the more commonly used cerulean blue.
- Mixed with DS Venetian red it makes the perfect opaque desert green. Its opacity makes it where I can paint over backgrounds and gives agaves, cacti, yuccas and succulents a solid feeling instead of a transparent leafy green.
- Mixed with quin rose it makes lovely granulating purples.
- With quin gold it turns a bright spring green.
- Mixed with raw sienna makes a paler desert green.
Pigment Particles and Handling
Here’s a closer look at some of Cobalt Turquoise light mixes on Canson Montval student grade paper:
I’ve found that the paper that you use can really make a difference in how the heavier particles settle. You get a much more uniform swatch on Arches cold press paper.
Alternative: DaVinci Cobalt Turquoise (PB36)
A close alternative to PG50 is DaVinci’s version of PB36, called Cobalt Turquoise. As you can see, the mixes are pretty similar.
PB36 is also a “top 40” pigment at handprint.com:
The many shades of cobalt tin oxide (PB35) or cobalt chromium oxide (PB36), named cerulean blue, cerulean blue GS, cobalt turquoise or cobalt green deep, are very lightfast, semiopaque, moderately staining, granulating, dark valued, moderately dull to moderately intense blue to green blue pigments. PB36 is available from 9 pigment manufacturers worldwide (primarily as a colorant for ceramics, cement and industrial paints). The ASTM (1999) rates the lightfastness of these pigments in watercolors as “excellent” (I); manufacturer and my own tests agree. In watercolors, PB35 and PB36 show a very small (cerulean hues) to moderate (turquoise hues) drying shift, not lightening at all but losing from 5% to 20% in saturation.
The DaVinci version is so much greener than the WN or DS versions of cerulean blue!
I had the DaVinci version on my palette for many years as it is less expensive, but I had bad experiences with it in the heat: it would get kind of like maple syrup and dry weird in the pan!
Let me know if you use Cobalt Turquoise and what your favorite mixes are — I’d love to hear!