An unlikely trio

My unlikely trio started out as an accident — a blob of Cobalt Teal pigment that leaked all over my palette. I filled the well a full week ago and have been carrying the palette upright ever since. But I guess I thought it was fine and left the palette sideways in my sketch bag. I opened it this morning to find that the sneaky stuff had spread all over the place. So my unlikely trio is a triad of primary colours that I used for this sketch — Quinacridone Gold, Alizarin Crimson and of course… Cobalt Teal. It’s not the type of blue I would normally use in a limited palette exercise. I’d be much more likely to use something darker like Ultramarine or Phthalo Blue but this Teal granulates beautifully and makes a nice bright green when mixed with the gold. There’s still lots all over the palette so watch for it in the coming days in everything I paint.


33 Comments on “An unlikely trio”

  1. Man, I love your style xo and what great granulation in the sidewalk from the teal. It does mix gorgeously with the green for the leaves and grass. Love!


  2. Chris Rusk says:

    Really beautiful. Love the depth of field & rich colours. So simple yet complete.


  3. This is nice to see — I bought Cobalt teal early in my watercolor buying and have no liked using it much; maybe I will give it a go with some of the transparents , mixing. Lovely!


  4. I never would have guessed that such a lovely picture resulted from an accidental leak 🙂


  5. Alison says:

    This is part of the magical side of art, n’est ce pas? Unexpected accidents and, more importantly, the talent of the artist to work with the situation she is presented with. And, to do so with delight and confidence. Case in point, the dabs of teal in the distance (recycle bins?). It’s all very inspiring and beautiful.


    • How fitting that you should pick out the microscopic recycle bins Alison. In fact, that was my eye level/horizon line which is why I painted them in with little dabs of teal. I wanted to remember where that spot was.


  6. andre savard says:

    Lucky break,, Well you are good. Excellent shadows and light action beam.


  7. Linda Daily says:

    What a beautiful result from a leaky palette! You will inspire me the next time I have cerulean blue leak all over as it is prone to do.


  8. Anyck says:



  9. joantav says:

    I love how you made the leak work for you in your rich colors and shadows.


  10. Dee says:

    So funny! My first thought was your genius at putting that turquoise in! Happy accident!


  11. slowlane says:

    Love how you simplfy to let the light drift across the page. Knowing what to leave out, evidently with color, as well….


  12. Joan says:

    A happy accident resulting in a lovely painting using triads. Who knew cobalt teal would yield such a pleasant surprise. Bravo!


  13. Linda Murray says:

    Oh Shari- you make magic. What a beautiful,Fall painting!


  14. Susanne Strater says:

    Hi Shari, I once took a class where we did paintings with primary colors, repeating the same painting but with different versions of the primaries: cobalt blue, cadmium red and cadmium yellow medium for one, ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, and cadmium yellow light for another, and cerulean blue, cadmium red light and some other yellow for the third. It was interesting to see how different the color mixes were. Your teal blue reminds me of wolf Kahn saying he likes to squeeze out a whole lot of some outrageous color (like pink) and use a lot of it in a landscape, then make all the other colors behave.


    • Hi Susanne. It sounds like your class was quite wonderful. I love exercises like that because you come out at the end really understanding your pigments and their relationships. I would have never used teal in apples, or on a building facade, or even to do an autumn scene but this little accident has made me want to explore more of these triads. And thanks for sending me in the direction of Wolf Kahn. Wonderful paintings that make you really think about colour.


  15. Janet Catmull says:

    My favorite part are the teal posts lining the street on the right. Yes, they’re unrealistic as far as color, but they’re a nice surprise and the wash down the street make the posts work.


  16. […] she created using the Cobalt teal. 😀 You can see some of her sketches using this Cobalt teal here, here and […]


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