I love the green of spring. That new growth green is so exciting to me. It took me a while to figure out how to mix spring greens. One day, out of complete frustration, I hauled all my paint to the middle of forest, sat down and mixed until I came across what I was looking for in a color mix.
Mixing spring greens can be a lot of fun (or frustrating). In this post I am going to cover several approaches to a bright, yet believable, spring green.
Phthalo Green Mixes
Phthalo green (either yellow shade, or blue shade) is a great place to start to breathe that unique quality of life into a color. But, caution! It can take over a painting, and a little goes a LONG way. And, it is so bright it usually needs to be calmed a bit down. My favorite analogy is that it is like an awesome kid on too much sugar. This kid is jumping up and down on table, causing a ruckus. You don’t want to throw away the kid! Just calm him or her down a bit.
My Favorite Recipe : Phthalo Green + Yellow (Cad Yellow Medium) + Alizarin Crimson Hue
Here is a video I made about this combo:
Golden’s Green Gold
Golden’s Green Gold is a mixture color. It is made up of Nickel Azo Yellow, Hansa Yellow Light, and Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade). Since all of those are transparent pigments, we end up with a very transparent green. It is also still pretty vibrant. It is more to yellow side of green, then the blue.
Permanent Green Light
This green feels like a Kelly Green right out of the tube. It definitely doesn’t feel like the plants I see around the Pacific Northwest. However, just add some Cad Yellow and instantly you have a bright spring green. Beware of adding white to this mixture though. If you are mixing greens and then add white, it creates more of a pastel and less of a realistic spring green. If you need to lighten it up, add more yellow. In fact, you may want to start with yellow and slowly add the green in.
Viridian Green Hue
Another mixture color. Viridian is darker in value, and bluer in hue then Permanent Green Light and Phthalo Green (YS).
Blue and Yellow makes green right? Well, sometimes. Here it does, but you will notice that it is a more neutralized green – as if you had already added a red to it. And that is because Ultramarine blue is a blue to violet (red) side of the color wheel.
- Neutralize (calm down) a green by adding a red (SLOWLY!)
- Ultramarine blue leans towards the red side already.
- There are many ways to arrive at nearly the same color.
Pro-Tip: Figure out how you want to want to make your green BEFORE you start your painting. Choose the color mixture you will want, and then build the palette of colors you use before you start. Coming in at the 11th hour with a new color will destroy your color harmony.
What’s your favorite spring green combo? Did I cover it here? I’d love for you to comment below. Happy painting!