1. Home
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Readers Respond: What Colors Do You Use for Mixing Vibrant Greens?

Responses: 19


From the article: How to Mix Greens
Which paint colors or pigments are your favorites when it comes to mixing up gorgeous greens? Do you have a standard "recipe" or set of colors you use? Share what you use to mix vibrant, lustrous greens rather than dull and muddy greens.

Making greens

Paynes Grey with transparent yellow, makes an infinite number of realistic greens, juicy darks too. Mix with degrees of white, touches of Cobalt Blue and or yellow ochre and the variety is endless. Burnt Sienna adds some richness and all make for a varied background for meadow paintings.
—Guest Sue white

Khaki Green

Another hue "discovered" by accidentally mixing yellow ocher with thalo green. Tone to taste.


Usually I use Payne's Grey with Chrome Orange to get most of my green in a landscape.

Black to make Green

As with some of the others, I like using black to mix up earthy greens. In my case I prefer Lamp Black (it has more of a blue undertone) with yellow to create a beautiful and plant–like green.
—Guest Kodanshi

Dark Green

For a really deep, dark green, I mix viridian and alizarin crimson.

Chrome Oxide Green

I am mostly a landscape painter Impressionist style. I use chrome oxide green for almost all my greens. I add small touches of other colors to it to adjust the value, chroma and hue. I use red oxide to desaturate it, cadmium yellow light to lighten it, ultramarine blue to darken it. Chrome oxide green is the only single pigment green available in the foliage quadrant of a color wheel!
—Guest Brian Williams

Greens + Greens

I mix different shades of green sometimes lemon / gamboge with Prussian/ultramarine with dash of light red / burnt sienna / burnt umber / crimson / light red to change tone of the green colour.

Vivid Green

I love aureolin and phthalo blue, which makes a wonderful brilliant green.
—Guest Anne

Transparent Green

I use a lot of glazing in my work so I need a transparent green. I like Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide + Phthalo Blue or Phthalo Green mixed with a lot of medium.
—Guest Ellen

Start with "Pure" Colours

Mixing vibrant, clean greens is a perennial problem for all artists. Greens "muddy" very quickly and easily. One reason for this is that most tubed paints have all sorts of colours within their mix -- for example there will be red of some kind in most dark greens, which will imbalance the subsequent mix if you add, for example, orange or more red. It's much the same as Marion's point that some blacks, have yellow in them, causing them to turn green when more yellow is added -- as does a chromatic black which has cyan, magenta and a tiny touch of yellow. To overcome this, I mix initial greens using Cyan and Cadmium yellow light. This ensures the base mix has no residual reds, browns or oranges in it. I can then add whatever I like (often mixing on the canvas) to make a range of tertiary greens, while tending to avoid flat, muddy colour.

Greens Mix

An old tutor of mine used only one green mix which at the time I hated but have warmed to it now. Ultramarine blue mixed with gamboge.

Another Couple of Brilliant Greens

Here's a couple of other bright greens, but more opaque... Cobalt Teal and Cadmium Yellow. A mellower version, add some Cadmium Orange. Another tip: Try mixing a tiny bit of Napthol red or Cadmium Red Hue to grey the color. (You can use Cadmium Red too, but you may want to save that where you need a pure opaque red.)

Interesting Vibrant Green

I like vivid colors, so if you are trying for realistic or restrained color, you can use these to kick it up a notch when it gets too dull. This is acrylic, but other mixtures are probably similar. I'll give the formulas in case you want to try it in another brand or medium. Golden Pthalo Green (I use Blue Shade) with some Golden Indian Yellow Hue. I am stressing the hue color because it is transparent. It is something like the effect of an ochre but far more brilliant. This gives a range of lush greens, and if primarily the phalo, it looks pure but not as harsh. For matching, the details are: Indian Yellow Hue: Arylide Yellow / Nickel Complex Azo / Quinacridone Burnt Orange (PY 73 / PY150 / PR206) Phthalo Green: try blue shade -- or yellow shade -- see what you like. (These are Chlorinated Copper Phthalocynine PG7 and Chlorinated Copper Phthalocynine Brominated PG36 and respectively.)

My Best Greens

I discovered that mixing Cadmium orange and Thalo Blue gives a lovely olive green, add more blue to get more of a blu-ish green and more cadmium orange to get more of an olive green. Very versatile mixture for landscapes, which I do a lot of.
—Guest Anne

Mixing Greens

Try using yellow ochre and Payne's grey as well as cadmium yellow and Payne's grey for mixing more earthy types of greens. I also subdue them with slight amounts of white gesso when painting grasslands and fields.
—Guest David Emory

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.