It’s Not Easy Being Green

It’s not easy bein’ green
It seems you blend in with so
Many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re
Not standin’ out like flashy
Sparkles on the water
Or stars in the sky

~Kermit the Frog

In the past I have always used green straight out of the tube for my watercolor paintings. I usually use Sap, Hooker’s and Olive green.

Sometimes these greens can look too intense and at other times, too plastic. I wanted to try mixing greens and doing test paintings using a confer tree line against a cobalt blue sky.

To mix green you combine blue and yellow. And there are lots of blues and yellows to choose from. For instance, Daniel Smith lists almost 20 different Yellow and Blue hues. Now I was going to do a little watercolor alchemy on my quest for a green.

The watercolors I used for mixing green: (from left to right) Daniel Smith Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) and Cobalt Blue, Winsor & Newton French Ultramarine, Daniel Smith Payne’s Blue Gray (to darken mixes). For Yellows I used Daniel Smith Hansa Yellow Light and Azo Yellow.

I painted in a background sky with cobalt blue and then mixed blues and greens to make a green mix that I painted with a 3/4 inch flat brush create a conifer tree line.

By far my favorite mix is shown in the featured image. It is with the very potent Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) and Azo Yellow. I left varied mixtures of each hue, sometimes letting a bit of yellow dominate and letting the Phthalo blue take over in the shadows.

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