Friday, January 17, 2014

Coming to terms with green


The Hitchhiker - work in progress
30" x 40" oil on canvas

When I moved into the house I currently live in, everything - and I mean EVERYTHING, was painted a pale hospital green.  The previous owners obviously liked green.  A lot. Walls, ceilings, woodwork, trim, doors - in every room and hall. I think that added to my green prejudice. The only rooms that were spared were the bathrooms and then only because they were tiled.  Purple or blue or beige.  Yes, I know... 

Aside from my unwillingness to tackle flowers in paint, my other dislike has been using greens.  Its not a colour that appeals to me to be honest.  I never think of anything pleasant to associate with green and I think I can safely say that I don't own any piece of clothing that is green.  Oh sure, greens of grass, trees, leaves are ever present and I do appreciate the overall expanse of greens in nature.  But recreating them on canvas?  That always would strike fear into me. And into many others too it seems.  There's a lot of green phobia out there!   Maybe some of that fear is simply the vast range of green hues, its pretty overwhelming when trying to figure out how to get just the right one to make your painting work.

The last boat painting I completed, Fox Point, as well as this one that I'm currently working on, have a lot of green in them and over time I've come to terms with the colour.  While there are endless tubes of ready made greens in paint, I believe that mixing my own colours is the only way to achieve the hue I want, and it lets me control whether I want to brighten, intensify or cool it down.  I can match colours perfectly every time and its easier on the bank account when I'm not out hunting for the perfect match or slavishly copying the palette of another artist in the hopes that it will lead me to glory.

Premixed tubes can contain some pretty garish colours that don't resemble anything that real life presents and would be an exercise in frustration to use it straight out of the tube.  There are some earthy premixed greens that are in my arsenal however, such as Terra Verte and Olive Green that make good starting points, but always add other colours to them to meet my personal needs.



It becomes a challenge for me in colour matching and if you've watched my colour matching video  on my YouTube channel, you can see that exercise, along with a video on the basics of colour mixing.  Like drawing, colour mixing is one of those key pieces in technique that you really need to have under your belt to be proficient in painting in any medium.  Yes, even the greens.  I'll be making a short video demo on mixing greens soon, as much to jog my memory as to help anyone else who may find it useful.  In it, I'll explore the common and not so common colours mixes that make up greens.

Greens in The Hitchhiker are created with phthalo blue, cad lemon yellow, ultramarine violet, cad red, yellow ochre, and white. Colour combinations that you may not have considered as making greens are worth exploring such as ochres, oranges mixed with ultramarine or phthalo and even black and ochre.  The range of colours from saturated to desaturated is amazing and experience in mixing them becomes your teacher.

11 comments:

theartistsday said...

It's shaping up well!
I had a period at art school where I only drew with green ink, It was in the spring and we lived near Stonehenge. Everywhere was very green that year and that was my response to that. Now I see it as very limited. Green is not just green out of the tube or bottle. There's a lot mote subtlety and mixing to be done.

Nancy Van Blaricom said...

Your painting is looking great and the greens are working wonderfully in this painting. I can only imagine the challenge I would have had when trying this one. At this time I don't own a tube of green paint but I probably would if I was any closer to a store that sold art supplies.

Jeanette Jobson said...

The world of greens is complex and vast and needs careful consideration to get a hue that fits.

Thanks Nancy. Tubes of green paint are pretty limited in my stash beyond a couple of earthy tones and the classic viridian and sap green as starting points for other colour additions.

I do have access to a good art supply store locally now, but often simply order online to get the best range of products and pricing.

laura said...

Wow--I love those greens, and the purple-grays: perfect together.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

green is my favourite colour, but eve i wouldnt paint every room in the house green o.0 :p

the painting looks good, nice boat reflection in the water :)

Jeanette Jobson said...

Thanks Jen, yeah, the overdose of green was a bit much. :)

RH Carpenter said...

I believe my prejudice towards greens is from living with a mother who painted the livingroom green (various shades but always a dull, ugly green shade) every 2 years. UGH! So I never learned to use green but, when I do, I mix my own or add to a tube color with something else. As for this painting, I have just one word: WOW!!

debwardart said...

I agree with you, Jeannette. Lots of greens in watercolor, but I only have a few and usually add yellows or blues to them. I do also like olive green and rich green gold by themselves. This is a beautiful painting.

Jeanette Jobson said...

Rhonda, funny how we can associate green with unpleasant memories but accept happily natural greens outside. My next painting won't have much green in it!

Deb, yes, I think the olive and green gold are lovely as they stand too, but most every other needs something else added to it. Thanks for your kind words.

Jeanette Jobson said...

Laura, thank you. Weather worn wooden boats seem to go well with any colour water don't they?

shevaun said...

For someone who doesn't particularly like greens, this painting is turning out beautifully. Your palette is stunning. Greens can be a bit of an enigma,but it's always worth making colour charts of possible mixes. Thanks for sharing your colour theory videos.