Thursday, August 7, 2008

Green is Green is Green

QUESTION: Susie, I am having the hardest time painting leaves. Green is green is green. I never seem to get enough contrast and my leaves never come to "LIFE". Can you help? Do you have a video on painting flowers and LEAVES? Shirley

SUSIE'S REPLY: Shirley, the DVD titled Painting Sentimental Roses goes into painting leaves on the stem of a rose. And I do mention adding some variety to the green leaves by dropping in more blue or yellow into a wet area.
But let's just take a few minutes to talk about greens and how to alter them.
First of all don't let yourself get into a habit of relying on tube greens. That green hue (such as Sap Green) may be beautiful straight out of the tube but it can be so "boring." Instead of using tube greens, try mixing your greens using the blues and yellows on your palette. Each blue will make a different hue of green when you add it to each of your yellows.
Experiment by making a little color chart or grid of greens and see the variations you have available to you without dipping into a tube green.


Then make another chart for each tube green and see how you can adjust the hue of the tube color by adding those same blues to the green from the tube and then another chart by adding the yellows to the tube green(s). WOW! And think of how many more you can make if you combined the tube greens with any number of mixed greens from your first chart of just blues and yellows. (Shown in my example are Sap and Viridian mixed with six colors of a split primary palette.)


So far we've been thinking about mixing wet colors. Now let's think about glazing or layering blue over yellow or green over pink or green over orange. You can get an endless variety of greens that are alive and exciting.
Dropping wet color into another wet color is called "charging." When the blue and yellow are allowed to "mingle" on your paper rather than being premixed on your palette the color will often be more exciting and have more punch to it.

Thanks for asking a question that so many of us need to deal with. I hope you will find out that with some practice with mixing and mingling your greens will become your friend and not your enemy.

Happy Painting!

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