Mixing Greens

Q. Spring is here, and I want to capture her natural beauty. The trouble is, I can’t find any greens in watercolor that really look like the greens of spring. Any suggestions?

A. I don’t think there is one shade of green available in watercolor that depicts the beauty of nature in any season. That’s why I’ve always mixed my greens. My watercolor instructor taught me to mix sap green and sepia (Winsor & Newton only). Those two colors alone can produce many wonderful greens. I eventually began experimenting by adding one color at a time to this mix. The chart at left shows the most delightful greens I’ve achieved with my mixing. Notice only one green was made with “blue” and “yellow.” Try doing several charts on your own. Now go out and make some luscious greens!

1. Alizarin crimson & sap green
2. Same as #1 with more water
3. Rose madder & sap green
4. Sap green & violet
5. Sap green & sepia
6. French ultramarine blue & sap green
7. Sap green & phthalo yellow-green
8. Alizarin crimson & sap green & phthalo yellow-green
9. Alizarin crimson & phthalo yellow-green
10. Phthalo yellow-green
11. Phthalo yellow-green & alizarin crimson
12. Sap green & burnt sienna
13. Aureolin & sap green
14. Yellow ochre & sap green
15. Yellow ochre & sap green & alizarin crimson
16. Raw sienna & sap green
17. Raw sienna & sap green & alizarin crimson
18. Sap green & cadmium yellow
19. Sap green & Winsor blue (green shade) & sepia
20. Winsor green (blue shade) & sepia
21. French ultramarine blue & cadmium yellow light & sap green
22. Sap green & burnt umber
23. Sap green & raw sienna
24. Sap green & lamp black
25. Sap green & ivory black

Catherine Anderson is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, Watercolor West and the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Society. Visit her Web site at www.catherineanderson.net.

Bonus article!  10 Watercolor Painting Techniques for Beginners: Improve Your Watercolor Knowledge, Skills and Confidence

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