Saturday, June 19

Tales from the Palette: Mixing the Color Turquoise*

Reference Photo for My Next Painting
Hi Fans & Followers-

I want to tell you what I did yesterday, and what I think is the most fun an artist can have while painting.

It's perfectly mixing that paint color you’re trying to capture. Oh sure, it’s hit and miss, at least for me, but that’s the fun and challenge of it.

Today’s image is my personal reference photo for the acrylic on which I’m currently working. It has all the things I like to paint—sunlight, shadows, an adobe wall, and the color turquoise.

And that’s what this blog is about, mixing the color turquoise, one of my favorite colors. If you look closely in the lower left corner of my reference photo, you will notice the color of the gated arches—they’re turquoise.

*Turquoise is not the real name of the color. It’s called that because it mimics the color of the beautiful turquoise gemstones mined in New Mexico USA among other places.

The color is actually a hue mixed from blue and yellow on the color wheel and lies somewhere around the 10 o’clock position. This is where the fun begins—mixing the correct amounts of yellow, blue, then green, then blue-green, and then refining that to the value and intensity you want.

Of course you could “cheat” and use one of the pre-mixed tubes, such as Bright Aqua Green, but I assure you, you will  achieve greater harmony using your limited palette.

Disclaimer: I’m painting with acrylic; oil and watercolor would mix differently although the basics would be similar, but in acrylic and oil you add white to lighten.

I use a variety of acrylic brands, but I’m not going to mention specific ones here. My adventure started with mixing Primary yellow-a cadmium yellow medium and Ultramarine blue. I got a drab olive green, so that’s not right.

Do not be discouraged, I told myself. I added more blue to get away from the green-y look. That was a little better, but the value was too dark. I thought about adding Titanium white at this point, but thought better of it as white can change everything drastically and quickly.

So I’m experimenting, right, and decided to add a Cobalt blue to lighten it up some. That worked pretty well, so I added a little more. It was still dark so I squeezed a few dabs of Light Blue Permanent, also know by the name Sky blue, into the mixture. Sky blue has a good deal of white, so that lightened it up.

It was getting closer and closer to the turquoise I envisioned. Some turquoises are more green, and some are more blue. I wanted mine to lean toward blue, so I added some Ultramarine again. Good, but that darkened it again. I decided now it was time to add the Titanium white. I did, very slowly with small dots of white.
Remember to thoroughly mix your acrylic paints as they don’t blend as easily as oil or watercolor. Wait a few seconds and then mix some more.

Finally I acheived just the right mixture I was looking for. I had fun painting those gates turquoise, and I'll post my painting on the blog when it’s finished.

Mix up some colors  today and have fun.

Until next blog…

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