Mixing greens: a preview

When I first learned watercolour painting many moons ago, there was no green paint on my palette. I mixed every green from some combination of blue and yellow. I now use some green pigments when I paint, but I feel a pang of guilt when I use them, as if it’s cheating somehow. Silly stuff, really.

I still love mixing many greens in a single sketch, and it was fun to choose this sketch of Vancouver’s Stanley Park for a spread in my book “The Urban Sketching Handbook: Working with Color”. As I replicated the various greens in the sketch, I realized just how many variations on a theme I had used, and I could probably create even more with what I have on my palette these days.

For me the thought process always starts with a blue. If I want to make a light or a soft green, I often start with Cerulean Blue and add a bit of yellow to that. If I’m painting evergreens or really dark foliage and I want a rich, deep green, I might opt instead for Prussian Blue and mix that with a deep yellow like New Gamboge or Quinacridone Gold. And if I want an olive green I often start with Phthalo Green and add some Burnt Sienna to that. If you’re new to this mixing greens business, don’t go out and buy new paint. Start with what you have on your palette today and use a scrap of paper to see how many greens you can mix from what you have on hand. I bet you also have tons of combinations.

The book is due to come out at the beginning of April and is available for preorder at online retailers.

11 Comments on “Mixing greens: a preview”

  1. Thank you for explaining your process. I still struggle with getting the right colors when I mix. This was very helpful to me. 😀🎨❤


  2. Jude Hanson says:

    Just ordered! Looking forward to your book! Merry Christmas.
    Judy Hovde
    Minot, ND


  3. Denise says:

    Greens have always been a struggle for me. I look forward to everything I’m sure to learn from your book- it’s at the top of my Christmas wish list:)


  4. miatagrrl says:

    Can’t wait!


  5. NativeGifts says:

    you said mixing greens and my mind said, lettuce, salad.


  6. Tylara says:

    Shari, your discipline with mixing greens shows up in your work with the quality of diverse colour palettes you work from. Each intriguing and sophisticated. Lets use the book as a tool to bring people together for the early introvert shetch workshops near Amsterdam! I can’t wait. Will get back to you soon re your email. I can’t wait to get your book I’m sure it is outstanding. More soon.


  7. sandidureice says:

    Wonderful. Thank you.


  8. TonyU says:

    I’m green with envy!


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