Blue & Gold

Like many urban sketchers I choose my watercolor palette carefully.  When working quickly and often in sub-par conditions, it's much better to have a few inspiring colors that mix well than a vast selection of shades that tend towards becoming mud. These are two of the colors that inspire me most right now.

Cobalt Teal Blue (Pigment PG50)

This blue isn't an all purpose mixing blue, yet it's one of the most heavily used in my palette.  Mine is from Daniel Smith.  (Another good option for the same pigment is Winsor & Newton's Cobalt Turquoise Light.  If you buy from any other manufacturer, make sure the pigment is PG50 or you're getting something entirely different.)

You might guess that this is color is basically the same as pthalo blue lightened with white, but it isn't.  It really isn't.  Cobalt Teal Blue is a high intensity color that is not dulled down; the pigment is just naturally this bright tone.  There's no chalkiness.  Cobalt Teal Blue is also lightfast, granulating, and holds its intensity well after drying. It adds a bright yet soft touch when used in mixes ...

PG50 mixed with... results in
Cobalt Teal Blue (PG50) Quinacridone gold (P049)
Cobalt Teal Blue (PG50) Quinacridone Violet
Cobalt Teal Blue (PG50) Napthol Red

Quinacridone Gold (Pigment PO49)

This gold lends a gorgeous warmth to everything it touches.  Add it to blue, and it'll give a lively green that looks like it's made out of living plant life.  Add it to red with some water and you'll get a rosy skin tone that cannot be surpassed.  This one is also from Daniel Smith, and that manufacturer claims to be the only provider of single-pigment quin gold (i.e., other manufacturers are trying to mimic quin gold by using multiple other pigments).

Quin gold is warm and transparent.  If you lay it on thick it's similar in color to raw sienna, but without any muddiness that you would get from that earth pigment. Lay it on thin and it's like liquid sunlight.

Just a few of the amazing greens you can get with this gold, the first a repeat of above...

mixed with... results in
Quin gold Cobalt Teal Blue (PG50)  
Quin gold

Winsor Blue (PB15)  
 Quin gold French Ultramarine (PB29) (same pigments as DS Undersea Green)


For very thorough discussions of these pigments, see the PG50 (Cobalt Teal Blue) and PO49 (Quinacridone Gold) sections at the excellent site Handprint.

There are so many lovely colors out there, but these two give me particular enjoyment.  Highly recommended!