Update on my Turquoise testing

February 27, 2019 | 13 Comments

A few weeks ago I shared the news that I was making some changes to my palette because of the new turquoise cups at my local cafe. Well, I’m now using Winsor Newton (WN) Cobalt Turquoise Light and WN Cobalt Turquoise. How did I get to this decision?

To recap:

In painting these new cups I discovered that my favourite paint WN Cobalt Turquoise Light( CTL) wasn’t a good mixer. I was having trouble mixing shadows with it and I realised that I normally use CTL pure. So I swapped it for Daniel Smith (DS) Cobalt Teal Blue which is not as opaque, more granulating and a better mixer. I still wasn’t 100% happy with the darker mixes.

A friend (Chris Haldane) suggested I add a darker turquoise paint to my palette and so I tested DS Cobalt Turquoise, Pthalo Turquoise and Ultramarine Turquoise.

The nexy day I tried Ultramarine Turquoise.

I then created a custom mix of DS Cobalt Turquoise with a touch of DS Pthalo Turquoise to create a bright, dark turquoise that wasn’t too staining. (Note: I’m not a fan of Pthalo pigments as they are just too intense and even though they are great mixing pigments, I want all the paints in my palette to be able to be used pure. So pthalos don’t fit with this requirement!)

This new mix seemed good when I did in my tests, but when I used it in my sketchbook it was a little too bright and different (in intensity) from the Cobalt Teal Blue.

As I wasn’t needing the lighter turquoise paint to mix a darker version anymore, I switched back to WN Cobalt Turquoise Light and when I used it again it instantly brought a big smile to my face. Seriously! I LOVE this pigment so much that I’m sticking with it! I missed it’s opacity and smoothness when I was using DS Cobalt Teal Blue.

I then decided to try WN Cobalt Turquoise. And this is where I’m at the moment. But of course it might change again!

This seems like a lot of obsessing over similar paints… but this is what I have to do to really test out a paint to see if it will work permanently in my palette. It’s a fun journey!



  • Sabine Koch says:

    Hello, I like to mix the ds ctl. I like the light, soft grey i get, when I mx with Potters Pink. 😉

  • Nino van Vuuren says:

    Good to hear that I am not the only one who feel that way about the pthalo pigments, I thought it was just me being too fussy. On the other hand, it is good that different people like different pigments, the art world would have been pretty boring otherwise.

  • Yvonne Carpenter says:

    Liz, great testing and thank you for sharing the results! I really like Sennelier Turquoise Green – have you ever tried it? Not sure they have Sennelier at art stores in Sydney, but I am sure it can be mail ordered. I will compare it with the WN col to see if I can spot the differences.
    I am diving in to day to finish lesson 8 bonus exercise (Foundations class re-run). I fell a little behind last week with some family events and dentist, but I hope to start lesson 9 later today and hopefully be done by Friday to get back on schedule!!! Great class, btw. I should have taken it 2 years ago, lol!!!

  • Lynne Mohr says:

    Wait! It looks like Holbein’s Cobalt Green would be a perfect match for your tea cup. I love it.

  • Svetlana says:

    Hello Liz I found that to add a tough of WN Indigo to WN CTL if creates a nice darker colour. Recommend you try. The important thing of course to mix it in on the pallet; if dropping Indigo straight into CTL wash on the page Indigo get a bit aggressive

  • katrianna says:

    how does the wn cobalt turq compare to the ds one as well as how does the wn cobal turq compare to the cobalt turq light?

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Katrianna, this is an old blog post and I have done any further comparisons since then for other situations. I only use CTL these days. Find other articles about Turquoise here https://www.lizsteel.com/tag/turquoise/

      • katrianna says:

        thanks! will check it out 🙂 was super curious about the difference between the cobalt turq and the cobalt turq light specifically to see if i needed both colours or if one would be fine 🙂 suppose i’ll have to get all ?

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