Green is a colour that can easily overpower a painting. But landscape painters, in particular, need to use a lot of green. Many artists find that the solution is to ensure you use a wide variety of greens. The examples are done with oil colour but the method applies equally to other mediums.
One common way to mix greens is to start with a base middle green and modify it with two other colours to achieve a spectrum of greens. The base middle green can be a tube of a single pigment green, a tube of a premixed-for-convenience green or your favourite mixture of two paints to make an average middle green.
Start with a Base Middle Green
Modify the Base Middle Green
Mixing a variety of greens from this base middle green then consists of adjustments to the three characteristics of this base colour:
- light/dark (add yellow to lighten or blue/violet to darken),
- warm/cool (add yellow/orange/red/brown to warm or blue or a bluer green like viridian to cool),
- saturated/subdued (add brighter green to brighten or contrasting red to dull).
Beginning with the base middle green paint –
First, modify the hue and temperature with a yellow (to make a lighter, warmer, more yellow green) or blue (to make a darker, cooler, more bluish green) paint.
Second, modify the saturation with any warming or neutralising colour from orange to violet (it usually takes a very small amount to start dulling or desaturating the colour). In the samples I used a smidge of crimson. To increase the saturation you can add a brighter green, like Permanent Green.
With this method you can mix a spectrum of green shades to provide the necessary variety: warm greens, cool greens, light greens, dark greens, bright greens, and dull grey greens.
Click the Colour Wheel images to enlarge
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