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Mixing Many Greens with Watercolor Paints

I got interested in mixing paints again after my last gouache experiments.  When I bought my first Winsor-Newton artist grade watercolors in 2003, I bought a warm and a cool triad and then followed those purchases with 3 more "primary color" paints for a total of 3 triads.  I switched out the cadmium red and cadmium yellow after several years because they were too opaque, but haven't changed anything else.  With these colors, plus one brown and one gray, I can mix many, many colors very easily.

Mixing 3 yellows and 3 blues in varying proportions (9 combinations total), sounded like fun and I decided to put these tests on a card so I can remember the resultant colors and select which shade of green I want.  I mix paints very loosely, but this exercise demonstrated that several mixtures produce traditional greens and several others produce shades of olive green.

There are 3 sets on the next two cards:  The yellow is identified at the top and the blue is painted next to each set.  In each row, I kept mixing in more yellow until it was clear that I overwhemed the blue.  The order is obviously a little random.  However, with yellow ochre, I never really got a good green with my original mix - but the aqua and grays are lovely.



I also have a tube of quinacridone gold and decided to test it with the same 3 blues.  It also makes some nice greens.


All of the above experimentation is quite funny, because I don't paint landscapes.  But I do paint individual flowers and can never remember which combination of my primaries I want for specific leaf colors.  Now my Green card is in the back of my sketchbook so I can make better and easier choices.

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