Mixing greens need not be a challenge. Have you seen any paintings in which the green colors are almost neon-like bright and do not look natural? If it’s a landscape, the different greens in the scene look as if they do not belong together. That’s because many artists face the challenge of mixing green colors that look natural and cohesive in a painting.
In my view, the problem occurs mainly because of the use of pre-made or readymade greens instead of mixed greens. Readymade greens do look bright and attractive but when used directly in a painting, do not gel with their surroundings and look unnatural. They look outsiders in the painting.
One solution that I know to this problem is to use a limited palette of just 3 primaries (one red, one yellow and one blue) and mix all the greens using just these colors. The greens made this way look natural and are related to each other because they have same ingredients, just in different proportions.
Once you get some practice using just 3 colors, you can add one more variety of each color to your palette. If you are using cobalt blue, add ultramarine to your palette, if you are using lemon yellow, add chrome yellow and if you are using crimson, add vermillion. Now you have 6 colors and many more green shades can be mixed using various combinations of these colors in different proportions.
See me mix various greens
Watch the video below to see how this can be done. Though I have used watercolors in this video, this method works with oils, acrylics and gouache also.
If you follow this procedure and explore mixing greens, you’ll neither have to worry about alien looking greens nor about that perfect green that you see in your subject being missing from your palette!
Happy mixing greens!