Wednesday, September 9, 2015

30 in 30 - Reaching for Light

"Reaching for Light"
Oil on Gessoboard

Got a question from Kaethe Baeler  (Check out her beautiful work!!) regarding what my green formula is?   So I thought I'd just share it in my post!

 I've had a lot of different greens on my palette over the years, trying to figure out the secret formula to great greens:-)  Everything from Sap Green to Viridian and using yellows and blues to mix:-)  I still use Gamblin Cadmium Green Light for some of those Poppy Light Greens, but that's the only straight green color I use now.

What was really helpful for me in thinking about greens was something Wyllis Heaton shared about the fact that greens are never as cool as we think.
Here is what Wyllis said on FB in his answer to the question about his greens:

"Green is the hardest thing for me to paint! I avoid scenes with a lot green if I can... But the main thing about green in a sunlight scene is it can almost never be warm enough... Basically the greens you can buy as paints are Way too green to describe foliage... The best way to see this on the freeway... Those freeway signs are green for real, like green paint green, compare that green to the natural greens around it... You'll see how much warmer the nature is.. I carry Turquoise and lemon yellow on my palette, so I can make super green for those occasions, but it's usually an unholy combo"

After I read that I've tried to be really conscious of pushing my greens warmer than I think they are.  And looking around in nature, I agree with what Wyllis says.

Recently I've also changed what I do when it comes to mixing my greens after seeing the greens of fellow amazing CA artist Karen Werner.
I loved the greens she was mixing and she told me that she took a workshop with Kim English (who is definitely on my list of artists to study with).  And what she had learned from him was to use Paynes Gray and Lemon Yellow to mix those really nice warm greens.  

So that is what I've been doing lately, I have added black on top of the Paynes Gray and I use that with different yellows and oranges, with a little addition of Cad Green light when I want a bright, but slightly cooler green.  I've also added Alizarin Yellow - Williamsburg Oils (courtesy Colin Page) to my arsenal of yellows.   It's a really nice and transparent and works great for a warm toning of the canvas and for mixing greens with.

So Kaethe, that's my loooong answer to your question on my greens.  And it goes to show how much we learn from fellow artists and friends!  I'm so grateful for those friendships!

Happy Painting!!



  1. Beautiful! Would you mind sharing your green formula?

    1. Hi Kaethe! Great question! I don't know if you will get this reply, but I went ahead and wrote about it in the blogpost itself:-)

    2. Better late than never! Thank you for this post! It will be a reference for sure!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Sheila!! I so appreciate you taking the time to comment!!


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