Green means stability and wealth and is also associated with nature and harmony. It represents growth and renewal, as in nature, green is also associated with action. It has a soothing and relaxing influence.
Green pigments have been produced over the centuries from many sources, to name but a few, plants, rocks, seeds and minerals.
The Egyptian’s used the rock Malachite which was ground up and produced a course pigment, this was used up until the mid 1700’s and is still more than visible today. Terra Vert is another green colour. Originally, Terra Vert was taken and made from a clay that has now been exhausted. Widely produced commercially, the colour Terra Vert is often used as an underpainting colour.
The original Emerald Green was poisonous and was responsible for many deaths. In 1862 the first Viridian Green was developed, this is a very bright cool green with great staining power and is a good mixing colour. There are many greens available in tubes, but the fun remains in trying to mix these yourself. The colour green goes from the lightest and brightest spring green to the darkest almost black green from the cypress trees and of course everything in between. The fun remains mixing these yourself and you’d be surprised at how easy this actually is. There are many greens available, another is called Phthalo Green. This green is one of the most versatile and popular colours. It was first produced in 1938.
Most people have Ultramarine Blue and Cerulean Blue plus a lemonish yellow and a Cadmium yellow in their paint box. Take these four colours or something similar and …..see how many greens you can make with these different combinations of basic blues and yellows. Always write down the recipe for the basic mixture as you quite easily forget it.
Try painting two squares of one of the blues and gradually add a little lemon yellow to one square of a blue and see how it changes. Carry on with adding the yellow until pure yellow is reached. Then add a little cadmium yellow to the other blue square. Here you can easily see the difference the cool (lemon Yellow) and the warm (Cadmium Yellow) make, one row (Lemon Yellow) is a lot brighter than the other. Now try the same exercise with the other blue. Any of these colours can be adjusted with Black to make them darker and more subdued, or with white to make them lighter. See our colour mixing article here.
Try painting a landscape or still life just in shades of green, it’s more challenging than you think!
Post your picture on Instagram and tag your image with #dutchartbox and let’s compare notes!
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Raging Red.