Monday, March 4, 2013

Mixing Greens

I've had several requests to share my green palette and mixing techniques so I thought I would devote todays post to greens.

These are the greens I have been using in my green bottle paintings.  The pans at the top are Schmincke watercolors on the starting from the left is Pthalo Brilliant Grn, Delft Blue (not used in these paintings but wanted to identify what it was), empty space, Sap grn, Hooker's grn, and May grn.  The tube colors below are all Daniel Smith paints starting from the left is Undersea grn, Spring grn, Green Apatite Genuine, Green Gold, Sap Green, Cascade Grn and the end tube on the right is Holbein's Shadow grn.

The yellow I used in this painting is Daniel Smith's Quinophthalone, love this yellow it's in between a cool and warm yellow, kind of a bright fresh neutral.  Love it!!

I also wanted to show my favorite turquoise which is Schmincke's cobalt turquoise.  I always try to sneak a little of this into every painting.  One of my absolute favorite colors.

I always save my paints because I just can't stand to wipe a way paint, feels like I'm throwing money away so I work from dried paints.  Plus I started using pans and they are always in a dry format.  I understand that some artists prefer fresh colors for each painting but I really enjoy using some of the colors I mixed from previous paintings.  Some of my best colors have come out of that.  I do keep my paints segregated by like colors.  So  this palette has only greens.  A tad of orange in there because I used that to mix some of my neutrals.  I always mix my neutral grays by mixing the compliments.  Also my black areas are always a mixture of Indigo and Sepia both Daniel Smith.  But Schmincke makes my favorite Sepia.  

"Going Green" work in progress 18" x 30"

In the painting "Going Green" I began by laying in my lightest colors.  I try to avoid using masking fluid because it can leave such a hard edge, I try my hardest to reserve my whites and paint around them.  It just takes a little more planning but I feel worth it in the end.  So I started with my Quinopthalone yellow.  In the areas that were cooler I laid in a Pthalo Grn mixed with a bit of sap green just to warm it up a bit.  I also lay my darks in right away so I can get the values that I want.  It ensures that the painting is working and helps me to avoid that awkward stage a watercolor can go through if you don't establish the darkest darks at the beginning.  The darks I use in the painting are a mixture of Indigo and Sepia.  To darken any greens I mixed in DS Undersea green or Holbein Shadow Green.  I also mix in a bit of the orange color for a great neutral which in this case was Quinacridone Sienna.

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I just kept working the above process throughout the rest of the painting.  I followed my reference photo and had my bottles in front of me while I was painting.  If the bottle was warmer and more yellow I stuck with the Quinophtalone yellow and sap greens, in the cooler areas I used phthalo greens and brilliant green.  

If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them.  Leave any questions in the comment section and I'll reply.



  1. Thanks ever so much for sharing, Carrie! I know how much time & effort it takes to capture these thoughts! Great job on the painting!

  2. What a wonderful post! Greens are so tricky - It's just wonderful to have this post to refer too. In fact, I've saved it to my 'tips' folder for future reference. Thanks so much Carrie :0)

  3. Carrie I am so impressed with all your organization when it comes to painting. I'm more of the. . . where did I put that tube of paint again? variety. :)

    Thanks SOOOOO much for sharing your greens, I've been wondering how you do those for a long time.

    1. Crystal, your painting technique seems so organized I find your comment hard to believe:)) I love your work too.

  4. Carrie, thank you for being so generous and taking the time to share this with us. I really enjoyed reading it and enjoy your creations.

  5. Carrie, thank you for sharing all this valuable information! I learned a lot from it and will implement your great tips!

  6. Love the idea of using separate palettes for each family of hues. Such a great idea!! I also use dried remnants and palettes from previous paintings as I also hate to waste. They do not muddy all that fast and I don't clean them until they do muddle up too much.

  7. Carrie...THANK YOU so very much for sharing your 'mixing greens' techniques. I know this must have been time is appreciated. I, as many others, struggle with ''greens''...and you are so skilled in what you create. LOVE your work!!! ROSE