The Schmincke Horadam watercolour range contains 139 colours, 20 of these are greens. But why would you buy green rather than mixing it? Especially when you consider it can be mixed so easily. And why would you need so many different greens? This article explains why Schmincke makes such a large range of greens and what you could use each one for.
There are several reasons which justify the extended green range. Green is a very popular and often used colour. Artists need (also in bigger quantities) several greens from a dark bluish green to a yellowish and light green which cannot be (re-)mixed accurately or which would not have the necessary brilliance of pure green colours. Different green shades are needed for landscape painting, some are important for portrait painting and some greens, like phthalo green, are a good base for mixing more green shades. Green can also overpower paintings easily or break up the colour harmony of a piece. Having several ready-made greens available can help you pick the right one to describe the texture of foliage, the quality of light and air, define water and create interesting shadows and tonal values.
With Schmincke Horadam’s extended range of green watercolours, every watercolour painter will find a wide choice of lightfast and brilliant greens that can work as a perfect base for their paintings. Of course, you can always mix even more green tones to match exactly the colour you want.
How Each of Schmincke Horadam’s Green Watercolours are Unique and What You’d Use Each One For
One of Schmincke’s bestselling watercolours, it is a brilliant and extremely lightfast turquoise with an opacifying, granulating character. This is a one-pigment-colour made with genuine cobalt pigment, PG50, Cobalt-lithium-titanium-zinc oxide. Its tinting strength is weak and – be aware – it will undergo a very slight drying shift, dropping in saturation up to 10%.
When mixed with yellow iron oxides it can provide a nice hue similar to Terre Verte. Warm opaque reds and scarlets complement it and you can produce a great warm silvery grey when mixing it with Cadmium Red. Perfect for depicting urban structures in a warm climate.
A highly lightfast greenish turquoise, more greenish than cobalt cerulean (14499). It is opaque and a one-pigment-colour made of PB36, a combination of genuine cobalt pigment.
While it’s not too difficult to mix this hue you won’t get the beautiful granulation so loved for oceanic scenes without using the genuine pigment.
This Cobalt Green Turquoise, while the same hue as Cobalt Turquoise above, has a lower chroma and a lower lightness because it’s made from PB36 rather than the purer crystal PG50. It is also has a moderate drying shift, which is not lightening but means it loses 5% to 20% saturation.
Well suited for bluish shading in landscape paintings, this semi-opaque bluish green is made of PG7 Phthalocyanine green and PB60 Indanthrone blue.
It is a lightfast alternative to the historical colour made from mixing Prussian blue with a non-lightfast yellow lake.
This colour is a convenience mix and while its typical sea green colour is appealing it can also be used to create dark greens that verge on grey thanks to the Indanthrone Blue it contains.
Viridian used to be the most popular green watercolour, used by J.S. Sargent and other masters. It is a granulating, soft blue-green with a semi-transparent character and has the highest lightfastness rating. It takes skill to use the correct amount of water and technique with this colour but its glow and near neutral washes are worth the effort.
Horadam added it to their range in 2017. Viridian comes from latin ‘viridis’ = green and is the successor of former Schweinfurt green which was an important colour in 19th century – before it was discontinued due to its arsenic content. The one-pigment colour contains PG18 hydrated chromium oxide.
One of the standard colours, it is a highly transparent, cool, very lightfast colour with a granulating character, made of PG18 Hydrated chromium oxide and PG7 Phthalocyanine green.
It is brighter than a straight Chromium Oxide Green allowing it to be used to create brilliant green tones when mixed with yellow. This is thanks to the addition of Phthalocyanine green in the mixture.
The potential to produce bright greens, while being able to use blue and white to mute it down for describing distance in landscapes is pleasing. You could also add a little red to it to produce mossy colours and interesting browns.
Phthalo green is an extremely brilliant, transparent green and a good alternative to Chromium oxide green brilliant (14511). It is well-suited for mixing with yellows and reds and is especially recommended for landscape painting. It will easily dominate mixes with other strong tinting pigments so be cautious when mixing it with some reds in order to find the balance you desire.
This one-pigment-tone is an important colour for mixing more green shades and contains PG7 Phthalocyanine green. It is the green anchor pigment of many green convenience mixes and interestingly has no hue shift from mass tone to undertone.
The small particle size makes it heavily staining, so it can be used under non-staining washes you wish to lift off but it needs to be applied carefully as is difficult to lift.
This semi-transparent, brilliant green has a warmer character than phthalo green. This avoids the problem of trying to make other bluer phthalocyanine greens look realistic, it mimics greens found in nature and speeds up the mixing process of having to mix a three colour green.
It is a good midway between a unique green and a unique yellow and can produce good botanical browns as well as tans, when it is mixed with reds or magentas. It is particularly useful for botanical shades and paintings of foliage.
The one-pigment-tone is made of PG36 Phthalocyanine green.
The permanent green olive is a lightfast alternative to olive green made of the lightfast pigments PO62 Benzimidazolone and PG7 Phthalocyanine green.
It can be used to create deep oceanic green hues as well as more earthy green tones. Recommended for gum like foliage or beautiful washed out shadows when used next to complementary colours.
Many people try to create this green using another green and a brown but this can produce a muddier mix that lacks subtly. With a touch of red, you can also produce some understated greys for deeper shadows.
A bestselling tone with highly transparent character, already very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. This slightly yellowish sap green is a lightfast alternative to the classical pigment formerly made from buckthorne berry juice. Made of organic pigments PY153 Nickel complex and PG7 Phthalocyanine green.
Unlike mixed sap greens, it is transparent, allowing washes and glazes. It lies in the centre of the natural green distribution meaning it’s simpler to handle and use in harmony with other colours than most watercolour greens. It can be liberally applied in mixes creating interesting distinct new shades.
It is easy to produce mixes with it the colour of deciduous leaves or deeper pine colours when it is mixed with cool, violet-blues. Combined with pinks or oranges it can describe the colours of autumn leaves in a range of subtle tans, browns and olives.
The semi-transparent permanent green has a brilliant yellow-greenish character, slightly more neutral than may green (14524). The very lightfast colour contains two lightfast pigments: PY155 Disazopigment and PG7 Phthalocyanine green.
This permanent green is lighter valued than those watercolours by the same name in other ranges which have a darker value. It takes a fair amount of adjustment to make it look natural, however, it is easy to adjust its temperature in mixes.
The best colours to mute it with to get a good plant colour are ochres, oranges, siennas or magentas. After adjustment, it’s great for spring shoots, grasses, or salad leaves. Be careful in water-heavy washes as it can separate out, although you might desire that effect.
This is one of Schmincke’s bestselling greens. Even though it’s a convenience mix, that’s fairly easy to create, the amount many painters use it means they often find it more effective to buy it pre-mixed.
It is a traditional, light and yellowish green, ideal for mixing several green tones and recommended for landscape painting.
Similar, in its applications to permanent green (described above) it has a lemony tone which when it is used pure makes it good for bright, contemporary work.
It lifts without trouble which makes it great for dappled, sunlit areas.
The semi-transparent green contains two light-fast pigments PY151 Benzimidazolone and PG7 Phthalocyanine green.
This opaque and highly lightfast green has a granulating character. The one-pigment colour contains the genuine cobalt pigment PG19 Cobalt-titanium-nickel-zinc oxide.
It has a fairly weak tinting strength and a slightly coarse texture. It will mix well with organic or metal yellows but has a whitish edge limiting the variety of mixes it can produce. To keep a bright wash with a earth or cadmium keep the mix well diluted, in juicier washes it will also separate.
Cobalt Green isn’t particularly easy to work with but it can make nice earth greens to complement yellow and red earth colours, and be used straight as a lovely blue-green, like those visible in Paul Signac’s work.
The cobalt green dark is a deep, opaque and very lightfast green and has a moderately dark value with a granulating character.
It is a pleasing muted green that when diluted does not increase in chroma but the saturation is reduced slightly and the paint lightens. This makes it perfect for sky and ocean washes leaving a delicate glow of colour.
It also separates quickly and visibly in weak washes with quinacridones creating lovely mottled colour variations within an area.
The one-pigment colour contains the genuine cobalt pigment PG29 Cobalt-chromium-oxide-spinel.
Hooker’s green is a traditional colour, invented for watercolour painting in the 18th century by the botanical painter William Hooker (1779-1832) for painting leaf green. It replaces the non-lightfast mixture of gamboge gum, Prussian blue and partly Indigo with a pigment mixture of PB15.3 Phthalocyanine, PG7 Phthalocyanine green and PY42 Hydrated iron oxide.
It is a dark valued, dull yellow-green. For a Hooker’s Green, it is in duller than some colours of the same name from other brands and matches the original colour much more closely.
It shows a large drying shift, lightening and losing saturation as it dries, so be aware of its tonal value will change somewhat. It’s a good middle green which can be warmed or cooled with ease.
This neutral, semi-opaque olive green has excellent mixing properties. It is an important basic tone for mixing several green nuances in landscape painting. It’s used to add depth of perspective to work and can be easily adjusted for different tonal values. It contains the pigments PB15 Phthalocyanine blue and PG8 Metal complex.
Olive Green is a convenience mix but as you’d have to use three colours to make it, it does save time having a premixed version.
This muted and highly opaque green has a very high tinting strength. It is perfectly suited for landscape painting. The one-pigment colour contains PG17 Chromium oxide green. It originally started being used in the middle of the 19th century as an alternative to toxic copper colours.
Often it is used as a base colour by landscape painters. When mixed with a little white it can create smoky greyed olive greens. It is equally good for creating shadows if put with Van Dyke or Burnt Umber. Optical mixing using complimentary colours around areas of neat colour can “brighten” it, however, some painters find it is hard to warm up and that it produces much more greyish green mixes than those made using Viridian or a Phthalo as a base. It is favoured for appearing “natural” within a landscape though.
This traditional yellowish green sells well as it is popular for landscape painting. The semi-transparent colour has a very good lightfastness due to the pigments PO62 Benzimidazolone and PG36 Phthalocyanine green.
It pairs nicely with complementary reds and violets and looks very cohesive when put next to navy blues or light greys. It can also be a nice addition to synthetic yellows to make them more harmonious in a landscape painting.
This traditional, very light green is semi-transparent and not very strong. Therefore, it is perfectly suited for toning down flesh tints in portraits and nudes. It can be used as a foundation colour in portraits to describe facial planes and shadows.
It is a warm green with a yellow tone. Because of its subtlety, it rarely disrupts the harmony of a painting.
This very lightfast colour contains the genuine earth pigment PBr7 as well as PG7 Phthalocyanine green.
This transparent, very yellowish light green was added to the Schmincke Horadam range in 2017, as a replacement for a discontinued single pigment colour Green Yellow made with PY129.
It’s quite versatile because its mass tone is far deeper verging on brown than its light delicate undertones that are apparent in washes.
This luminous colour is perfect for rich washes, highlighting or depicting bright scenes and warm dried out grass patches.
It offsets turquoises beautifully and can be modified to make autumnal shades.
The very lightfast colour is a combination of PY154 Benzimidazolone and the genuine earth pigment PBr7.
The darkest of all the green colours, it was added to the Schmincke Horadam range in 2017.
Perylene green is an opaque, very lightfast and extremely dark black-green. Watercolour painters appreciate it as a shadow colour. It’s perfect for depicting deep passages and moody moments.
In mass tone, it’s almost black but can be used to make soft, grey-green washes. It is useful for adding tonal values and interesting elements to urban landscapes.
This single-pigment colour contains the pigment PBk31 Perylene, first available in the late 1950s.
Discover Schmincke Horadam’s extended green watercolour range and all their other watercolours here.