A blog about greens

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Our Late Spring Challenge is heavy on the greens, so I thought this might be a good time to put down some info about painting with them. Sometimes people get discouraged by the all green landscapes of spring and summer. But there is such beauty in the greens!

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Comment by Charles Eisener on June 7, 2015 at 3:54pm

Hi Janelle - mixing your own greens is a personal choice, does not have anything to do with being an amateur or a professional. Some pros regularly use tube greens. If you are trying to reduce the number of paints that you have to buy, mixing your greens is sort of a no brainer. If you have two blues and two yellows, the greens you can mix are more than you probably will ever need. If you paint plein air, reducing the number of tubes in your box means less weight to lug around.

Sap Green is a mixed colour, so it already contains at least two pigments. Particularly in acrylics, you can get muddy colours if you mix too many different pigments together.

I have not had a problem with the Cadmiums, but the risk is continued supply. Environmental concerns over the use of toxic metals like cadmium may well lead to its demise as a pigment group. Some synthetic pigments are also at risk because their main demand is industrial, like automotive finishes. When colours go out of fashion, the pigment supply can quickly dry up.

Comment by Janelle Mullins on June 7, 2015 at 3:21pm

Hi everyone. This is my first time interacting, so here goes. I really appreciated this article. I've been working on this very thing for the last couple of weeks. I had read someone else's article on mixing greens before this and had been making some charts. I just got through mixing a bunch of yellows and blues. I see what you mean about the colors getting muddy but it seemed to me that the problem was with the blues. Some of them made the cads muddy and some didn't. I have always used a base green, current favorite is W & N Sap Green. I never use it straight. I adjust it with various yellows, earth hues, red, purple, whatever. I don't have any problem with muddy cads doing this and the colors seem very natural to me. I have tried mixing the yellows and blues before and always end up going back to the sap green. I did like some of the mixtures I got using yellows with pthalo blue and green both. I'm going to try using them for some variety, but I don't know if I will ever get to place where I am mixing all my greens without the sap green or some other base. Does that mark me as an amateur?

Comment by LizJ on June 4, 2015 at 12:30am
Very very interesting and informative Karen. Before I started sticking to a set pallet of colours after watching your colour mixing tutorial, green gold by liquitex was my favourite green. NowI mix all my own it so much more exciting, sometimes I still don't know what I'm gonna end up with lol. Interesting about the Hansa yellow medium, I've never really been happy with the cad yellow will definately have to try that!
Comment by Karen Ilari on June 3, 2015 at 9:22pm

You're welcome Lynda :)

Comment by Lynda Dinneen on June 3, 2015 at 9:01pm

Fantastic blog again Karen!  Great reminders and super info!  Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!! :))))

Comment by Karen Ilari on June 3, 2015 at 10:33am

You are most welcome Nicole!

Well said, as always Charles! I haven't tried Yellow oxide, I'll have to look that up!

Comment by Charles Eisener on June 3, 2015 at 9:38am

Yellow Oxide also provides some awesome earthy greens when mixed with Ultramarine or Phthalo Blue. The blues are much stronger, so add them to the yellow when mixing.

I have Phthalo Green BS on hand for times when I need a complementary green, but have always mixed greens as needed for painting. With one or two strong blues and several yellows, you can mix a very wide range of greens. Some blacks will give a green when mixed with yellow, so do not add black to darken your greens, it will change the hue. Think complementaries to darken your colours!

Comment by Nicole DEHEUNYNCK on June 3, 2015 at 1:36am

Karen thank you for this article rich and full. very demonstrative
To our tubes and work now!

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