A few of you have asked me, “How do you mix turquoise?” Even though I include many blues in my paintings, I don’t think I have consciously mixed turquoise. Curiosity got the best of me.
When we think of turquoise, many of us probably think of the stone. As you can see here, there is a fairly large range of hues.This got me thinking. What is the difference between aqua, turquoise and teal? Google did not disappoint. Here is one photo my researched revealed. I find it interesting because I have probably referred to all three of these hues as “turquoise” as some time or another . How about you?
Here is One Approach to How to Mix Turquoise?
I did a little experimenting and determined the three main tube colors needed for mixing turquoise are: blue, white and yellow. The next questions are: which blues and which yellows? Intuitively, I made an assumption that my blue would be a green-blue and my yellow would be a green-yellow. However, after further thought, I decided I needed to include a red-blue and an orange-yellow to see what would happen. I wanted to see if I would be surprised.
For my green-blues, I chose cerulean, cyan and phthalo. I also included ultramarine and cobalt. Please notice that I label each of my blues with their brands. The hue of a tube color can differ from brand to brand as well as from medium to medium. For example, cerulean varies significantly, particularly in value, from brand to brand. You may have two different cerulean blues to explore.
My yellows are lemon, yellow light and Hansa yellow. There is no correct selection of tube colors. As I state often, be aware of the color bias of your primary paints and label their names and brands on your chart! 😀
Below – and I apologize for the blurry photo – I show how I set up my palette. I squirted out a pile of white and then lined up the three yellows on the right. Then I squirted out one blue. After I had mixed my various colors with the one blue, I then wiped off the palette and moved onto the next blue.
Watercolorists: Since you rarely use white, this is one situation where you might want to try it.
If you look at this cropped section of my completed chart, you can see that I painted a swatch of the tube blue, then I mixed it with white and applied that color to the chart.
To mix my hues of turquoise, I gradually added just a touch of yellow paint – one yellow at a time – to the blue and white mixture. As you know, the ratios you use will achieve slightly different results. Beware: it is easy to add too much yellow, which will give you green. There is no right or wrong to this sequence. For example, you may prefer to start out with a pile of white and gradually add your blue to it or some variation.
Below is my completed chart. Love these blues! You will notice that once I achieved my turquoise/aqua/teal hues and applied them to the chart, I then added more white. I could have continued to add white for paler shades.
As predicted, I was surprised by the results. Now I am motivated to try a few of these in a painting. Will you do the same?
Please send me any variations you may have for creating this color chart. Being aware of how to mix turquoise has been useful and fun to add to my color mixing arsenal. Thank you to those you who asked me. 🙂 BTW, last year I was asked to explain how to mix sage green and my approach can be found in this blog.
Mary Ann Lowrance says
Hi Carol, I had the same question a short time ago. I mixed Cerulean and Veridian plus a bit of Yellow Ochre. It made a lovely Turquoise. I’m very pleased with it. I plan to try your 5 blues and see what I can come up with. I think it is always good to know how to coax the colors we want out of primaries. Being new to watercolor I have amassed a “large” collections of paints. Expensive mistake … to some extent. There are Daniel Smith colors I could never mix such as Trans. Pyrrol Orange and it is one of my favorite colors. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this info.
Cora Brown says
Thanks for this post. I can’t wait to try this. Turquoise is a color I have never been able to mix. Your book gave me much more confidence with understanding color.
Carol McIntyre says
Thanks Cora and I look forward to seeing your results. So pleased my book has given you more color confidence.
Carol McIntyre says
Hi Mary Ann, Interesting mixture. I will give it a try. Yes, there are certain colors — particularly for their characteristics — that one cannot mix. Having a solid foundation, as you know, of color mixing helps on deciding which ones to buy.
Charlene M Bushnell says
Hello Carol – so in the samples that you created, which one do you choose as turquoise?
Thanks – Charlene
Carol McIntyre says
That is completely up to you. We all see color differently and as I implied in the article there are many variations.