Mixing Greens For Watercolor Landscape Paintings

By Mario J. Quinn

In my art library, I have a book “Blue and Green Don’t Make Yellow” written by Michael Wilcox, this is my reference for mixing greens.
and if you have been following along in our color study, you know by now how important the color of green is. It’s not always easy to combine the right colors to make the perfect shade of green we need. Exciting because in nature there are so many different greens and to make our watercolor landscape paintings look somewhat real, we must learn to mix greens.


The focus in this post is mixing greens on your palette and watercolor paper to create a perfect color for your painting.
My students know that I like to chart colors used in a painting. I recommend that you do the same and I’m including colors to make green. To achieve the best results from this post, please take a sheet of watercolor paper and lay out the following colors…

Lemon Yellow
Sap Green
Cadmium Yellow Light
Cerulean Blue
Thalo Blue
Thalo Green

All these pigments when mixed together give a different shade of green. For example
Lemon Yellow leans toward green and Sap Green leans toward yellow, so when you mix these two colors you have a beautiful green.

Cadmiun Yellow Light, an orange-yellow mixes with Cerulean Blue, a green-blue of mid-intensity is created. This color is neither bright or dull.

Lemon Yellow and Thalo Blue mix to a range of clear, very bright greens. These colors create a semi-transparent yellow green to a very transparent blue green.

Thalo Green and Lemon Yellow mixes to a very strong intensity.

As you use these pigments and paint them on your watercolor paper, you will be so excited to see the beautiful colors these colors create when glazed one color over the other.

How are these colors used once they are mixed? By using an Analogous color scheme. Take the color wheel and begin with the yellow block, go right and include at least the 3 colors beside yellow, which are Yellow-Green, Green, and Blue-Green.

As you go around the color wheel find other colors that can be used in a painting in the same way. Continue turning and look for harmonious color blocks that could be used to describe your feelings as the picture is painted. Using this method of mixing greens for your painting will give a harmonious color scheme.

A word of caution, when mixing greens,
go slowly, if too many colors are introduced they begin to over take the compliments in your paintings.

Mixing greens from your own palette brings a sparkle to your work and speaks volumes about you as an artist.…