Monday, March 15

Why I'm a Green Artist

Today’s Image
Courtesy of Microsoft Corp.

It’s the middle of March (already), and that may have you thinking about green, even if you’re not Irish, since it’s almost Spring, too, here in the northern hemisphere.

Ah, green, nature’s universal color. Which color of green comes to mind when you think of green?

There are so many to choose, from the lemony-lime, which always reminds me of the color of a parrot for some reason, to the deep, dark greeny-blacks of a deep forest shadow. And everything in between.

For artists, having such a variety to choose from is somewhat of a double-edged sword. It's great because you can mix paint the exact green you need to capture whatever scene or mood you’re going for. But at the same time, it can be a curse because there is nothing worse than the color green gone wrong; that is, when it’s not quite right. Think pea soup.

The reason there are so many greens is, of course, because there are so many blues and so many yellows. If you ever are bored and want to spend some time on something mindless, pull out all your yellows and all your blues one afternoon see how many different greens you can mix up. You’ll be astounded, and I guarantee you will quit by the time you’ve mixed 50 or so greens.

The oil, watercolor, and acrylic paint manufacturers, along with the pastel makers, want to help you by offering a huge number of pre-mixed greens. They also want to make a buck, but where’s the fun in using pre-mixed greens?

I do use pre-mixed greens, but I try not to over-do it. There are some greens you just can’t mix very well with any old blue and yellow, and that’s where the pre-mixed ones come in handy. For example, Hookers green is a work-horse of a green. I keep it on hand because it’s so versatile and looks natural especially if you mix it with blues, yellows, and other greens.

So is Pthalo green, which has a bluish tone, and I use it when I need an emerald or Kelly green. Sap green is good for trees and foliage as the name implies.

Don’t forget green is also one-half the recipe, along with a red, for making blacks. And turquoise is green and blue.

I do have a good many acrylic greens because I think mixing acrylic, in general, and acrylic greens in particular is no easy task. So I have Chromium Oxide green, Viridian green, Olive green and Olive green light, Green Gold, and Brilliant Yellow Green.

As an artist, going green is good for more than just the environment. It's good for your art.


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