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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mixing with green

Although I teach my beginning classes to mix greens using various combinations of yellow and blue, depending on how bright or dull they want the green to be in their picture, there are always a few who continue to use unmixed tube greens. There aren't any really satisfactory natural-looking greens in most paints. Some of the older, now discontinued Hooker's greens were fairly good, but most weren't lightfast. The new Hooker's greens shown in the second row at the left are brighter, but less natural. Olive green, even though it's a beautiful color, makes for boring landscape greens when used as the only green. Phthalocyanine (Thalo) Green is jarring and hard to control. So what we talked about on Monday was taking time out from painting to explore mixing tube greens with every other color on your palette or in your paint box to see what colors you can make. Here are just a few samples. You can make just about any green starting with phthalo green and adding another color in different amounts. In the top row, the first swatch on the left is Winsor Green Blue Shade. Next to it is viridian, which is pretty weak in watercolor and not a great mixer. Below are two swatches of Hooker's green. Everything else was mixed using the Winsor Green and a blue, yellow, magenta or burnt sienna. Try this for yourself and remember to label your swatches in case you want to create the same color later. Using just one green and mixing the others with colors you're using in other parts of your painting makes for much more vibrant, exciting greens that look more natural than tube greens. Try this with other colors, too, and you'll find you can learn to match tube colors. See p. 54 in Exploring Color.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Martha Keim-St. Louis said...

Nita, thanks for your green musings. I've been fighting with greens lately myself, so I got your Exploring Color out again and am rereading it. And trying the exercises. Thanks again. Your language is so clear,

And ps: have you have tried sennelier's quinacridone gold? Iy's very much to the green side of yellows. And beautiful I now have Sennelier's and WN on either side of my primary yellows.
Martha

3:48 PM  
Blogger Nita said...

Martha--
If you could see how many tubes of paint I have, you would understand why I don't buy too many new colors!

12:01 AM  
Blogger Elflling said...

Ms. Nita Leland,

I've recently purchased your book "the creative artist" and "Exploring Color" as I am learning watercolor painting, and both my teacher and my friend online strongly recommended your books. No surprise I found them wonderful and very informational. Even better, when I was searching for you on the web, I found your website (also full of useful informations) and this blog! This is more than a surprise and almost too good to be true! I am reading your blog right now and found they are also packed with friendly and useful advices, and filled with the wonder of nature seen through a true artist's eyes. Thank you very much for leading me into the wonderful world of color!

12:42 PM  
Blogger Nita said...

Elfling--
Thanks for your lovely comment. I'm so glad you're finding my books useful. Color is wonderful, indeed.

3:55 PM  

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