Color Spotlight: Cobalt Turquoise (PG50)

Schmincke Horadam Cobalt Turquoise: Gradient, opacity and glazing tests, color mixes

Cobalt Turquoise is a super bright, true turquoise made from the pigment PG50, derived from the heavy metal cobalt.

Experiment Results

Gradient: A nice even gradient. This color doesn’t get very dark, but it does get incredibly bright, making it a wonderful pop color.

Opacity: I can see some dusting on the black line. I think “semi-opaque” is right.

Glazing: Noticeably stronger but not really darker in glaze.

Cobalt Turquoise lifting test
Cobalt Turquoise lifting test: wet lift (dry paper towel dabbing wet paint) vs dry lift (wet paper towel scrubbing dry paint)

Lifting: Easy lift both wet and dry.

Palette Appearance

A neat thing about this color is how cool the leftover mixes look in the palette!

Qor Cobalt Teal (PG50) mixes left in my palette.

Comparison to Other Brands

Daniel Smith – Cobalt Teal Blue (PG50)

I first encountered PG50 as the Daniel Smith color Cobalt Teal Blue, but I found that one so granulating that it was hard to work with.

Daniel Smith Cobalt Teal Blue: gradient, opacity and glazing, color mixes

The Daniel Smith PG50 is a bit greener and much more granulating, to the point where you can clearly see the granules. I found it difficult to get a dark color in mass or to mix evenly with other colors. In some cases you may want the super-granulated look, in which case this the one to opt for. Personally for the use cases where I like this color – tropical seas, ice shadows, pop art – I prefer a more even color, as well as a bluer one. The Schmincke is still granulating, but far neater and smaller-grained, as well as stronger in pigment strength.

Da Vinci – Cobalt Turquoise (PG36)

Da Vinci – Cobalt Turquoise vs. SH Cobalt Turquoise

The Da Vinci Cobalt Turquoise is actually made from PG36, the same pigment as Cerulean Blue, rather than PG50. However, the color is extremely similar to my PG50 Cobalt Turquoise. I still prefer the Schmincke because it is brighter. Da Vinc is just a tad more muted.

Cobalt Turquoise Deep (PB36)

Da Vinci Cobalt Turquoise Deep (PB36)
Da Vinci Cobalt Turquoise Deep (PB36) on Canson XL

Da Vinci also offers as darker, duller turquoise made from the same PB36 pigment. Like its lighter counterpart, it’s opaque and granulating. I’m not as big a fan of this one (I think transparent dark turquoises like PB16 are nicer for dark colors and PG50 is nicer for brights), so this is the last you’ll see of it, but it does exist.

Color Mixes

Generally the mixes with blue and green are extremely beautiful, adding a shimmering dimensionality and vividness. It makes dark blues/greens look almost animated, like moving water. The mixes with reds create a range of muted purples. Light yellows turn neon green; while oranges and earth tones are not very inspired.

Lemon Yellow

Lemon Yellow + Cobalt Turquoise
Winsor Lemon (PY175) + Schmincke Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) on Wonder Forest paper

Super neon mints and limes. Perfect for a Lisa Frank palette! (Not what you’re after if you want “natural” greens, lol.)

Nickel Azo Yellow

Mission Gold Green Gold (PY150) + SH Cobalt Turquoise

Range of neon yellow-greens to cool mint greens, almost as bold as Lemon Yellow! The green here is similar to Cobalt Green. Cobalt Turquoise granulation floats in diluted mixes.

Rich Green Gold

Rich Green Gold + Cobalt Turquoise
Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold (PY129) + Schmincke Horadam Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) on Wonder Forest paper

These mixes are also bold and vivid, but less neon. Juicy pear rather than electric lime.

Monte Amiata Natural Sienna

SH Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) + DS Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7) on Stilman & Birn Beta

I really like the sage-ish greens on the left, and the olives in the third column are nice too. Saturated, but never dark. The Cobalt Turquoise granulation floats, and turns olive-green when there’s enough MANS.

Pyrrol Scarlet

Cobalt Turquoise + Pyrrol Scarlet
Schmincke Horadam Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) + Daniel Smith Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255) on Wonder Forest paper

Since Pyrrol Scarlet is red-orange, it’s basically a complement of turquoise; and because it’s another semi-opaque, it makes a gray that never really gets dark.

Quinacridone Coral

DS Quin Coral (PR209) + SH Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) on Wonder Forest paper

Less gray than Pyrrol Scarlet, much less of a complement, making grayish purples.

Quinacridone Rose

Red Rose Deep + Cobalt Turquoise
Da Vinci Red Rose Deep (PV19) + Schmincke Horadam Cobalt Turquoise (PG50)

Striking lilacs with the Cobalt Turquoise bluish shades floating above a pink background.

Potter’s Pink

MaimeriBlu Potter’s Pink (PR233) + Schmincke Horadam Cobalt Turquoise

Super-granulating gray-brown blends with the Potter’s Pink floating above the Turquoise. Since we’ve seen Turquoise float in other blends, it’s interesting to see it fade to the background here.

Indanthrone Blue

Cobalt Turquoise + Indanthrone Blue
SH Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) + DS Indanthrone Blue (PB60) on Arches

Flip this 90 degrees so the Indanthrone is on the top, and it’s a gorgeous, highly contrasted night sky-to-glowing-horizon mix. The contrast between the flecks of light, opaque turquoise floating above the dark blue background also creates a glowing appearance in the more highly pigmented mixes, while the diluted mixes look like bright sky or pool-water colors.

Ultramarine Blue

Cobalt Turquoise + French Ultramarine
Schmincke Horadam Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) + Holbein Ultramarine Deep (PB29) in an Etchr Perfect Sketchbook

My favorite mix here is the one balanced toward Cobalt Turquoise where the granulation of the French Ultramarine dances on top of the turquoise without mixing in. There’s a summery, tropical ocean quality to both of these colors, together and separately. This could also potentially be a sky mix, with Ultramarine at the zenith and Cobalt Turquoise at the horizon, though I find the mix a bit too textured to look sky-like to me.

Cobalt Blue

Cobalt Turquoise + Cobalt Blue
SH Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) + DV Cobalt Blue (PB28) on Arches

To me, this is a more usable sky mix than that with deep Ultramarine. (A light ultramarine might work as well.) The mix makes a bright, bold, cheerful cyan, which looks in dilute the way I always expect/want Cerulean to look (actual Cerulean is duller).

My Review

While I struggled with the Daniel Smith Cobalt Teal Blue – generally liking how it looked in my palette more than how it looked in my paintings – I have finally, truly fallen in love with this color thanks the Schmincke version. As a True Summer, I do love my turquoises (this is another one of those colors I’d wear all the time if I could find all my clothes in it).

Like Opera Pink, it’s a bit of a special effect paint: so freakin’ bright that it’s almost garish (I mean that in the best way), only unlike Opera Pink, it is lightfast!

As much as I like it, I struggled to find use cases for it until I discovered from Maria Coryell-Martin’s Cloudscapes class how wonderful it is for a horizon color.

Cloudscape with Cobalt Blue fading to Cobalt Turquoise

In my palette? Yes!

Favorite version: Schmincke Horadam. Better tinting strength than Daniel Smith and brighter than Da Vinci.

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