Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green

Kermit had it right.  Greens are not easy.

So while I am immersed in my own little jungle in "Daydreamer", 
I thought I'd share some of my experiments and processes with the color green.

I make color charts for all my colors.
I have warm /cool charts.
I have charts to keep an inventory of the tube colors I have
and I have charts for color mixes.
Charts for the discoveries I've found in painting metal objects, wood, glass and so on.
But green has a chart all its own.

It's a bit messy but you get the idea.
I rarely use a tube green on its own but will mix with either another green
or whatever it takes to get the hue or shade I need.
Above you can see some of these combinations.
Also I show my favorite watercolor paint brands.
Winsor Newton (of course) but I love the performances of
l'Aquarelle and DaVinci as well.
And I cannot say enough about the Quinacridones by Daniel Smith!

How I store and use all my watercolor tubes.
Nothing fancy, doesn't need to be, a silverware drawer works just fine.
This is all on top of a little rolling cart that scoots under my table when cleaning up.
Notice the Quinacridones have their own special compartment because, well, they're special.

Sap Green is my go to green for foliage.
I have found it to be the most natural green.
Here on the right bottom corner are all Sap Green mixes with various other hues.
And there is a difference between Sap Green (slightly warmer)
and Permanent Sap Green (slightly cooler).
Both are great, it just depends on your needs.

Forest Green is my favorite of the darker blue greens.
And if you add a dark violet it becomes a beautiful silky almost black green.

The streaks you see thru the colors are testing how the color picks up or scrubs out.
Important to know because some pigments stain more than others.

Detail from "Summer Harvest"

You will notice that some of the greens on my chart are not very natural looking.
But this is not all for foliage.
You will need the occassional random green for odd still life or other objects.

Yellow greens can go brassier than you may like.
But the tiniest touch of its complement, orange, will keep it calm.

Datail from "Spring Sweets"
A good example of cools receding and warms coming forward.

Deatail from "Rose Bounty"

Detail from "Bountiful Graces"
Sap Green was my base here with various yellows and blues mixed or glazed in.

Things to keep in mind while painting greens.

In color theory, warm colors appear to come forward while cool colors appear to recede.
So if you need to depict under greens deep in shadow
using a bluish green will set that section back.

Using reds and oranges will neutralized a too bright green.

Avoid mixing more than three colors to creat or enhance your green.
It will become muddy quickly.

Do use Sap Green with Quinacridone Rose to gray down a foliage.

Do use Sap Green with Colbalt Blue and Quinacridone Gold for grass in sunlight.

Don't use Yellow Ochre in a green mixture.  It is too opaque.

I hope this helps. It's helpful to me too as a reminder.
Now back to my "Daydreamer"!


  1. Green is definitely not easy but you have mastered it! A great post! I love seeing your collection of paints, wonderful idea with the drawer.

    1. Thank you Celia. You have the green thing down too! I've witnessed some fabulous greens in your work as well.

  2. What a wonderful blog post. Now I know why you have the most beautiful greens! I actually took notes. Thanks, Carmella!.

    1. Thank you Chris! I know I always like to see how other artists approach a project and organize themselves too.
      It makes us all better to share.


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