Thursday, August 2, 2012

August: Mixing Greens

Greens--they come in all sorts of hues and shades. Usually you can find everything you would ever need at an art store. Need a darker green--you can always add black, for lighter add white (or more water or yellow for watercolor).

When I started painting in watercolor, I did what most of us do, I went out and bought every type of green I thought was necessary. I think I have at least 15 different kinds of greens in my drawer. Then I learned to color mix and I haven't use those greens at all. I simply put yellow, blue or Payne's gray (black too) to mix my greens.

For this article, I created a new color chart. I used four blues (Pthalo, Ultra Marine, Cerulean, Deft Blue) with Payne's gray. On the other side, I put down Azo, Hansa,  New Gamboge, Lemon Yellow, Cad Yellow and Yellow Ocher. To my delight, I developed 35 new colors. Then on the side I painted a swatch of my paint tube greens. Except for Cobalt, Jadite and Prussian greens, I was able to produce every tube color.

I created the chart below. Unfortunately, my photo doesn't do it exact justice. I even tried to scan the piece and I didn't get the lovely greens under the Yellow Ocher, nor did the Payne's Gray come across as I had hoped. Why not try this yourself with the blues and yellows you have stowed away in your drawers.

By the way, when I was mixing my colors, I used a cool water container--a bait box. It has three sections that are sealed. I used one side for the yellow, mid for the blue and the last for a quick clean up. You can see I didn't keep my yellow quite pristine, but it didn't seem to contaminate the colors too much. I got it in the fishing department at Bi-Mart.

As I used my paints, the water became contaminated,
 but this after I mixed 35 colors!

I love this water container. I can use my three primaries in it and keep the water less muddy.

Next month, I'll cover mixing purple. This is one of the hardest colors to mix--you just can't take any old blue and any old red and get a good purple. Let me show you why and how.
What's ahead
Believe it or not, we're already looking at fall. Didn't summer just get here? PCC has their fall schedule online at My summer classes at the studio will end mid-August and begin again, mid-September. In the meantime, I've been asked to teach watercolor on a Celebrity Cruise ship to Alaska in September. I had a test class here at the studio last Friday to see how well the subjects I chose would go over with students. It was very successful. If this goes well, I will probably pick up the Panama Canal cruise in December. I will again hold a test class in October or November. So if you are interested send me a line at

Visual Journaling Class
  • Learn how to express yourself by creating a visual journal using words and art.
  • Play with pencil, watercolor,  acrylics, sponges, photos, fabrics, papers, pen and ink, plus more.
  • Express your inner self, your dreams, your fears, your successes, hopes…
  • Absolutely no experience necessary.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Glastonbury Studios, Tigard
$20 for supplies. Bring sketchbook.