Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mean Green

Weeds 8x8 oil on Masonite panel painted on location on the Des Moines River
It's that time of year again, the trees decide to dress themselves and no longer leave their limbs bare. Yea, that was a pretty bad play on words. Trees are difficult to paint without any leaves but don't be fooled into thinking they're easy to paint when they do have leaves. Mixing greens is no simple task. Well, mixing paints can be incredibly difficult, especially for beginners. Check out this fun video about how red and blue don't always make purple.
If you want the more in depth explanation about mixing paints check out this site handprint.com John Preston sent me some info from that site just recently and I had no idea it existed, It's a treasure trove of knowledge. Here's a link specifically for mixing greens.
Greens are much like the video on mixing purple. There are yellows that lean towards orange/red and blues that lean towards green or purple. If you figure that out before you start mixing you're on the right path.
Why mix your greens instead of using tube greens? So many reasons why, but here' a few.

  1. It's easier to carry around two tubes of yellow and two tubes of blue. Some brands of paint have over 50 different greens. Do you want to carry 50 tubes of paint around? 
  2. Cost effective. Do you want to buy 50 tubes of green paint? 
  3. When you mix your colours you tend to have better colour harmony on the canvas. 
  4. Tube greens don't always match what you find in nature. 
Tube greens aren't evil, they're just not always necessary. My personal exception is Viridian. It's one of my go to colours but I rarely use it straight from the tube, it's almost always mixed to make greys or other variations of greens.
Green Pond 5x7 watercolour on Arches cold press
Mixing greens in watercolour can be just as difficult as with oil paint if not more.
I could probably write a post every day for the next month and still not cover everything there is to know about mixing just greens.

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