View Full Version : why does green have such a bad rep?

Deborah Secor
10-03-2003, 05:42 PM
So tell me, why is it that green has such a bad reputation as being a difficult color?

Why do you think green often makes mud?

Someone theorized that it's because green is made up of one cool and one warm, but then why isn't purple a problem too?

What are your pet colors to mix with green and why?

There's a lot of green in the world so those of us who paint landscapes have to solve the green dilemma. However, do portraitists struggle with green? Or still life painters? Or animal artists--what about green birds?

Any thoughts on the color green are greatly appreciated...

10-03-2003, 06:03 PM
I like green, but my instructors got all upset when I got pthalo green...

of course they get upset at black too, and smudging, and working from photos... touchy bunch, really


10-03-2003, 06:15 PM
Originally posted by dee_artist
So tell me, why is it that green has such a bad reputation as being a difficult color?

'Cos I started the rumour!!!!...... and you know how rumours spread :evil: :D

10-03-2003, 06:24 PM
Interesting question!

a lot of green in the world

I think that is part of the problem...there is so much green out there and there are in fact soooo many green colors to choose from that it is overwhelming. And if you choose the wrong one then add more of another shade of green then you might have made mud.
It is true that purple is also a mix like that but there just is not that much purple out there...and not as many to choose from in pastels (or any other medium)....

It is probably more complicated than that...but I think that may be part of it.

Actually, I like green and use it a lot....probably too much! :D


10-03-2003, 06:34 PM
once was told
"the rods in our eyes can distinguish more shades,
hues etc. of green than other colours"
thats my excuse, I'm sticking to it!
an old hunter gatherer

10-03-2003, 06:35 PM
Originally posted by Greeble
I like green, but my instructors got all upset when I got pthalo green...

of course they get upset at black too, and smudging, and working from photos... touchy bunch, really


Lololol :D

10-03-2003, 06:57 PM
...mainly 'cause I'm the opposite of DarkShades- she is afraid to use it and so avoids it and her green areas fade and become insignificant. Me- I go whole hog- adding cools and warms and complimenting it, and generally making a mass of *GREENS* which then overwhelms the whole painting.

Think you can teach me to tone it down if I teach you to liven it up??

Kathryn Wilson
10-03-2003, 08:19 PM
When I started in pastels many moons ago, the manufacturers were not producing greens like they do now - you really had to search for a good green to do grass, trees and foliage.

Thank goodness that has changed, now if they would only do the same for other colors - red/purple for instance. There is a shade of red I am always looking for, but always disappointed.

I love the greens in your landscapes - one in particular looks like a soft mossy green - wonderful color!


Craig Houghton
10-03-2003, 08:25 PM
Like Dan, I was also told that we can distinguish more shades of green than any other color. Also, there's a lot of green around for most people, so if one isn't genetically predisposed to seeing more greens, than they certainly learn how from the world around them. I also heard eskimos can see more shades of white -- I don't know how true it is, but it seems plausible.

However, I've never felt I've had any difficulty with greens, and to the contrary, I love greens!


10-04-2003, 12:43 AM
I've been away for a while but thought I might jump back in.
The only thing I can contribute is about the use of green in portraits. Some portrait artist use green as an underpainting. When they are trying to depict a pale complexion or an ashen one, they use a green underpainting.
Just something I read about... thought you might be interested.

10-04-2003, 02:31 AM
I think one reason that green has a bad rep is that in paints in tubes, the greens tend to be rather "artificial". Viridian, for instance, is a green which you will be hard pushed to find anywhere in nature ... and if you use it unmixed for foliage, it tends to look like you went into the landscape with a pot of household paint and painted the trees!

Mixing a good, natural green, from tube paints, takes a bit of dedication.

Luckily, us pastellists do not have that problem. But one still sees some awful, unnatural-looking greens in beginner's work.
Probably because starter sets of pastels often contain ghastly greens.

I tend to avoid the use of a lot of green in a landscape pic, because I actually dislike yellow greens, and ochre greens, yuk.

I am sure that the main problem, however, is the predominance of horrid artificial greens in tubes, which is why the vast majority of painters mix their own greens, and moan about having to do so.

10-04-2003, 04:46 AM
the Million dollar question for me is...... Why When I Can Use Green's in:

Still Lifes
Animals/Wildlife ...... successfully!........ go Ga! Ga! when it comes to using Greens en mass in landscapes :confused: :confused:

If that question could be answered Id be a happy chappie :D .... because that in itself would resolve my 'problem', I would be able to work around/through it....... seeing as Im not really sure what the problem is, I cant resolve it :confused:
(I've got a headache now :p :) )

For sure, it does not help when you want to make a realistic looking landscape and you open your box of pastels to be confronted with the most Garish Greens........ why on earth do Manufacturers DO THAT!!! :confused: ..... is it some cunning plan of theirs in a 'get rich quick' scheme, people rushing out to buy the 'perfect' greens or to turn artists in to mumbling fools........ hmmmm!
seems their plans worked on both accounts :evil: :D ;)

..... perhaps at the end of the day, it turns out like the Manufacturers ....... we're both colour blind when it comes to Green

.... but its something Im working on...... hence all the questions of late......... you never know...... might surprise you all yet .....

but dont hold your breath :)

10-04-2003, 06:21 AM

Could that be a project? Using green in some reference pictures that at first glance have no obvious green? I think I read Jackie Simmons saying you can use any color provided it is the rigth tone...

I propose this one from Olika:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/data/63/3040throughcrystalglass-thumb.jpg (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=19513&papass=&sort=3)

and this one from TeAnne:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/data/63/1887teacup003-thumb.jpg (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/data/63/1887teacup003-med.jpg).


10-04-2003, 08:11 AM
..... as there always seems to be great discussions about 'Greens'..... I hope you dont mind, but posting two other threads relating to it....... both very imformative

.... nothing will get lost in the loop......

Greens helppppppp! (now in the Pastel Forum Library Q & A)

another Jackie did in relation to Greens..... a project was suggested..... NO ONE, took the challenge up..... too much of a challenge I guess ;)

10-04-2003, 08:18 AM
maybe it's because as a kid at dinner time my mom always MADE me eat all my Greens.. so now I just eat the green pastels out of habbit... thats my excuse and I'm sticking to it :p


10-04-2003, 08:28 AM
Originally posted by ChasCreek
maybe it's because as a kid at dinner time my mom always MADE me eat all my Greens.. so now I just eat the green pastels out of habbit... thats my excuse and I'm sticking to it :p


well you have just solved the answer to my problem Chas..... I wouldnt eat Greens as a Kid.... Still Wont lol... so now I know why I cant paint them lol.....
.... how comes you have a mom instead of a mum :confused: ... such are the complexities of life....... questions!, questions!, questions!

10-04-2003, 08:39 AM

I currently run a Cultural diversity project and I am also involved in the Challenge 3 project (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/Projects/browse_details.php?proj_id=542), but early december, I could take that up. I would be very pleased if others propose reference photos...


Deborah Secor
10-04-2003, 12:46 PM
Wow! I'm so glad you're all spilling your guts about GREEN...

Although I firmly believe we should all eat greens I also hope no one is actually EATING pastels--green or any other colors! You have me a bit worried. Someone might think it's the cure when greens ail you...

I think a green challenge may in fact be the cure. My students always want to learn how to handle the color green but they don't particularly want to paint using green--which is the only way to solve the problem. It's probably one of those "you can't teach it, you can only learn it" dilemmas.

I like your idea of painting green where there is no green but since I paint landscapes I wonder if you could amend that slightly and challenge people to paint green subjects only. In other words, any subject is okay as long as it's GREEN--but challenge us to paint using all the colors in our palette and not come to rely too heavily on greens right out of "the tube", so to speak. I think if we want to paint green subjects we have to learn how to do it. Changing the color, so that you paint red things using green for instance, is a great exercise in understanding value, but using green cures the green blahs.

Do any of you have the green box that Terry Ludwig makes? Those are great greens! I only have a few of them, ones that I picked up at the IAPS convention, and as soon as I can manage it I think I'll get the whole box. I also have some Great American greens I can't do without--specifically 280.0 Vermont green. And some Unisons--Green 13 and A-43. And some Diane Townsends that I must find the names/numbers for... And I also keep some of the Nu-Pastel bottle green on hand all the time.

I'd love it if you would show me some samples of successful use of green in your work... Where it worked and why you think it did. I'm a VISUAL person and want to see what you do! Thanks in advance.


10-04-2003, 12:52 PM
ok..... its a bust Deborah, I dont actually eat the Green pastels.. the red ones are much much nicer to eat ;)

Charlie ;)

Deborah Secor
10-04-2003, 02:04 PM
Charlie, how does magenta taste? A lot like red but with a little blue added?

Q: How many visitors to an art gallery does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two. One to do it and one to say "Huh! My four-year old could've done that!"

And one that's particularly appropriate for me right now (our car got totaled in a wreck last weekend--we're all okay):

A bumper sticker for artists: "My other car is a bike, too."

Okay, now back to the color green!

10-04-2003, 02:49 PM
What about asking the participant to make two entries (or more), at least one "green only" and one "green power".

For the green only, I can even propose one of my own ref pictures:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/data/544/280650307_0284-thumb.jpg (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=21831&papass=&sort=3)


http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/data/553/28065img_0456-thumb.jpg (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=21977&papass=&sort=3)

Well now, back to my bottle of Chianti in OPs.


10-04-2003, 11:04 PM
When painting landscapes, I use greens after I've used the other colors in a green area.

Is the green in the shadow?...then I'll choose a blue or purple that leans more toward the color. The closer to the foreground, usually the warmer. Toward the background, the cooler. Value is also important....darker or lighter when compared to areas around that color.

Is the "green" in the sunlight? I'll choose a yellow/orange/or pink to begin with...warm or cool? Value?

No color is ever isolated from the scene. Green is no exception...but I see paintings where a green area is all the same except maybe darker in a shady area. Green to darker green - makes the color green dull...when actually greens are exciting!

Green tends to come forward in a painting....reserve it for the middle to foreground areas.

When painting with oils, I only have one green...cad green light, and I'm finding that the more I paint with pastels, the less I like to use the 'green' ones.

(Unpaid Advertising) Terry Ludwig's set of greens is just awesome. I don't have it but I have seen it!!

10-04-2003, 11:17 PM
Why does 'green' get bad rep?

I think its because the camera can't produce all the nuances of color that visually we can experience working live from a subject. When working on location, I scan the scene constantly watching for "notes" of color. I'll see lavender, orange, yellow, pinks, purples...and that might just be one tree!!

I have been accused of seeing thru "violet colored glasses"! But remember, the eye automatically supplies the compliment of colors to keep our senses from being overloaded. When you scan back and forth, with the eyes slightly closed, the eye is thrown off guard for a few seconds, and you catch a glimpse of all the glorious color that's around us all the time! Try it....you may never call "green", green again!

10-05-2003, 05:06 AM
Carly I think this is ABOLUTELY an invaluable piece of information and thoughts about using Green - thank you

..... Ive also added this link to my 'Greens Hellllllpp' thread lol which is now in the Library for Q & A .. ... keeping it all in the loop :D

..... Im working on something right now, and this well help so much (I hope ;) )

10-05-2003, 08:25 PM
Everyone's right the paint/pastel manufacturers produce garish greens, but there is the magic of mixing your own, using blues and yellows as you all know, can produce far more varieties of green than using straight from the stick.


Mary Robinson
10-05-2003, 09:03 PM
I love all colors, though I may not always achieve the right combinations. When using greens it depends entirely on the mood I am trying to set, the lighting and finished image I envision. I like blue and green for cooler areas, deep recesses of the forest and blue-orange-yellows for lighter areas, dappled with sunlight. Greens don't scare me, they challenge me. Living in Wash State, everywhere I look I see green...I would have to close my eyes everytime I left the house to avoid it and I don't think that would improve my driving much :p

10-05-2003, 09:40 PM
Originally posted by CHClements
When painting landscapes, I use greens after I've used the other colors in a green area.
Is the green in the shadow?...then I'll choose a blue or purple that leans more toward the color. The closer to the foreground, usually the warmer. Toward the background, the cooler. Value is also important....darker or lighter when compared to areas around that color.
Is the "green" in the sunlight? I'll choose a yellow/orange/or pink to begin with...warm or cool? Value?(carly

Oooh, this is wonderful stuff, Carly!
When I use green it usually doesn't look right to me until I put some red on it, and maybe under it too.
I love those viridians, etc in my box, but never use them because they look so unnatural. And I get tired of the olives.
I have a book on painting from photographs; it has some of Jackie's work in it, and one example of hers shows a landscape photograph containing mostly green, but her painting is all blue! And it looks perfectly natural.
I've been wrestling with the green issue these days myself.

Deborah Secor
10-07-2003, 11:10 AM
Here's a little sample of some greens I thought worked fairly well, showing some different greens and assorted other colors that make them more interesting...


Show me YOUR greens...

10-07-2003, 11:28 AM
Deborah - Excellent thread and great comments all around. Nice work on the green painting and showing us how to incorporate the other colors to make the greens sing!

I especially loved this......Greens don't scare me, they challenge me. Living in Wash State, everywhere I look I see green...I would have to close my eyes everytime I left the house to avoid it and I don't think that would improve my driving much

Many months ago you challenged me to just paint anything green I saw and in real life. I've not followed through on my promise to do so... but will get back on this as soon and post them here.

Given that winter is coming... perhaps you'll have to do an all white challenge in January or February.

(PS - just returned from your part of the world where the colors are so rich and vibrant right now in the Southwest long sun rays - gorgeous) I'm jealous!


PPS: None of my pastel colors are garish - I think it depends what I want to paint. Sometimes those really vibrant colors just help my work vibrate.

Deborah Secor
10-07-2003, 10:55 PM
Hmmmm, that's right. You did agree to some green paintings, Barb... You better come up with a little something to show here! LOL

Snow? Think everGREEN trees and snow.


Deborah Secor
10-07-2003, 10:59 PM
Can you tell what this is? As you can see, I even use purple in my tiny little hummer paintings...



My gosh, on the screen it looks like birdzilla!

Mary Robinson
10-08-2003, 12:58 AM
Well, as I said in my earlier post, I love all colors including green, so here is my contribution to Green. I love the hummingbird and yes, I could tell what it was :).

Kathryn Wilson
10-08-2003, 06:59 AM
E-J and Dee: I have been assigned the January Project and have been thinking a White-On-White Project would be appropriate. Have to pass this by Mo first, but thought I would mention it here.

Good thread Deborah - I went back and looked through all my paintings and see that I have been avoiding greens ?? because I sure don't see much. Although my latest painting I just posted under "Am I Going To Make It" does have some greens.

Hope you are feeling better Deb -

10-08-2003, 08:18 AM
When I was doing my vineyards painting someone suggested that I needed to vary the foreground and background greens ~ I guess to try and suggest recession, or perhaps just to vary things a little. I was completely at a loss as to how to go about it, since all the greens looked the same to me.

Admittedly I was using a ref photo rather than nature, and perhaps if I worked more en plein air I would start to develop Carly's sense of how to see and interpret these colours.

I don't have a problem with greens in still life, and I've enjoyed using them to underpaint in the two paintings of skin I've done so far.

As for edible greens ... broccoli, cabbage, pak choi, spinach, courgettes, Brussels sprouts (oooh, controversial!) bring 'em on! I love them :)

10-08-2003, 08:35 AM
Hi, haven't been painting, but here's an old one - that has alot of green:




Deborah Secor
10-08-2003, 09:38 AM
Doe, I love all the warm and cool purples mixed with green. It makes me realize that by varying the temperature of the purples you've helped create a sense of air. And I LOVE the palms. It's so hard to pull off two of anything but you're composition masses the elements, making two into one mass. The energy of those greens is in the stroke work and variety. Thanks so much!

E-J, why do you think it's easier to use greens in a still life or portrait? I'm curious as to what the difference is... Do you, or anyone else, think it's because of the difference in the light, from indoors to outdoors? Or is it because using green in a still life or portrait is optional, rather than the perceived necessity to use green in the landscape?

kyle, the January white on white idea is a good one, I think, but will wait to see what you come up with. I'm doing okay now, still not hearing properly in my right ear (the airbag blasted me) but I'm praying that will go away as the swelling subsides more. It's nothing I can't live with.

AkaMorgie, your grees are luscious. So cool and dark...

Keep thinking green.....................................................


10-08-2003, 11:08 AM
Thanks Dee! I'm supposed to be studing my pharmacy books, but can't resist furthering the discussion on green. Just quickly, my response to your question, that is if you all don't mind me putting my 2 cents in, on what the difference is between landscape, still life and portrait is that the form is solid in still life and portrait and the form has to be built up more in a landscape.

By the way those two palms were cut down. They were my neighbors, and I'm glad I painted them now because they're gone forever.:crying:

Happy green painting!

10-08-2003, 02:40 PM
Deborah, I guess with a landscape you're trying to create a sense of space and distance, which probably means modifying the greens in some mysterious and special way I don't know about (yet) :) A still life, on the other hand, is right in front of you so you don't have to concern yourself with the atmospheric effect ... and if the green is part of a non-living thing then it doesn't necessarily matter if it looks 'unnatural'.

Doe, I remember both of your pictures ... that top one has beautiful greens: warm reds, pinks and yellows in the foreground greens and cooler blues and purples in the distant greens ... could be a useful guideline as to how to create a feeling of recession?

10-09-2003, 08:17 AM
Yes, EJ, the color choices were intentional and the green that I use for distance is viridian, then working toward the foreground I go to sage with olives and true greens then yellow greens in the foreground/sunny spots. Just remember cool greens in the distance and warmer as you get to the foreground. Underneath the greens the colors progress from purple, to magenta, to cad red, burnt sienna and because it's a swamp, some blue underneath too. The pinks are mostly in the sky and water, under the blue. So I use color recession in layers.

I really don't think you need a million greens, just the right greens to achieve the illusion of distance. Although I must admit that I'd love to have Terry Ludwig's set of greens.

Gotta go, have a good one!

Alan Cross
10-10-2003, 05:50 PM
I think green and red are the two hardest colors to get into a painting....I cut my green wiht Brunt S....usually makes it much better to look at....
Alan :)

10-11-2003, 08:22 AM
AHHHHHHH HAHAAha and you thought id fell away from the earth!
Actually im the opposite of most, I love greens, but not for landscapes....I detest landscapes, at least when i paint them!LOL

I have always utilized greens with FROGS (watch DS throw things at me) lol but also in all my portraits! Greens are a must in value changes, they compliment and create wonderful depth in facial features!"Olive complexion" <----- hint hint

I Love my REDs and Greens! If used together you can create wonderful shadows. (key word "IF", otherwise MUD)


Eugene Veszely
10-11-2003, 10:28 AM
Why bad rap ??

I dont know....may be because we see so much of it every day we are so sensitive to it that we can spot a "bad" green in a painting from a mile away!! ....or I could be completely wrong :)

10-13-2003, 08:20 AM
Well you guys -- wonderful thread and thoughts.

I teach pastel classes and most of my students do the most awful paintings of trees and anything green. The first thing they go for is a green stick of pastel. I am gradually getting them to look beyond the green and think about what Carly mentioned. What other colors do you see behind all that green.

I have two sets of the Terry Ludwig greens. I received the first one from him and loved it. Then I won a Merit Award at the Southeastern Pastel Society show and guess what the award was -- an 85-stick set of Terry Ludwig greens! I am up to my eyeballs in greens. But funny story -- Terry was at my house to teach a workshop this last August at the Atlanta Artist Center. He arrived a few days early and we painted plein aire -- his words this one particular morning was "All this atmosphere!" (it was a foggy morning -- you know, our humidity) "I don't have any greens that are this color". It was priceless!!!:evil:

I love green -- it is my favorite color. But when painting a green painting, I squint and find my dark pattern and lay down an extremely dark blue for the underpainting. This dark blue (almost black - but still blue) makes a good base for my greens. I also try to put in a dark burgundy under my greens. Dark purple works well also. Anything but green!!!!

Then you look for the highlights and that is where you put your diverse greens. Maybe yellow ochre/green stick, maybe olive green, maybe yellow. Maybe that wonderful darkest green by Terry Ludwig, or by Unison, or by Sennelier. I also use teals and green/blues for the shadow areas of the green trees and bushes, or pastures, etc.

For my light areas of green -- usually I will put down yellow ocher pale, or a pale yellow, or a pale peach! Then I can lay down some light greens and it has sparkle -- not just a green look!

I think you get the picture. Try painting (as suggested above I think) a green painting, but without using any greens that we associate with the landscape.

This is pastel on Wallis sanded paper, 12 x 17 inches. One I wanted to do without using the obvious greens. What do you think?

Deborah Secor
10-13-2003, 10:21 AM
Marsha, I had to giggle at your story--did he really say that? LOL Well, making green and using it are two different things entirely!

I love your painting. The use of the complement in the sky and the building makes it very dramatic and successful. I don't think anyone would look at it and ask, "Why did she paint this blue?" It's a very visceral reaction to see it all as green, even when it isn't.

A still life, on the other hand, is right in front of you so you don't have to concern yourself with the atmospheric effect ...
A very interesting observation, E-J. So you think that it's partly the atmospheric effect that accounts for why folks have trouble with green? The way it's changed by the bluing and lightening of distance? Is this only for green or do you think it's only true because green is such a prevalent landscape color?

I think green and red are the two hardest colors to get into a painting....I cut my green wiht Brunt S....usually makes it much better to look at....
Alan, I don't understand what you cut your green with...could you help me out here?

I Love my REDs and Greens! If used together you can create wonderful shadows. (key word "IF", otherwise MUD)
Redsy, you are sooooooo right!

we can spot a "bad" green in a painting from a mile away!!
1chameleon, I think you're right too. We all see and know greens so intimately that we can spot what's wrong easily--which makes getting it right even more critical. But as Marsha points out, just picking up a green doesn't do it! It's easy to know it's wrong and harder to see how to make it right (which is the point of this whole thread, I guess ;) ...)

Try painting (as suggested above I think) a green painting, but without using any greens that we associate with the landscape.
I think we may have a project with this idea coming up sometime soon... Hope so!

Thanks to you all for your thoughts!

More pictures of green paintings wanted...


10-13-2003, 10:34 AM
Somewhere in this long thread, I suggest the possibility of a green project... it will be in February. So we have plenty of time to image tricky exercise in order to get better in greens.

Current brainstorm with in this thread leads to:
- Only green,
- Using green for a no-green picture.

I also thought of starting with a green paper (never did so) or with a red one for a green subject...

I also like Martha's landscape and her explanations are vey clear to me... I have to try...

I think Alan was speaking about another medium where you mix colors together before using (actually you can do it with pastels too, but it is not the major practice).


Kathryn Wilson
10-13-2003, 10:38 AM
dee_artist: I just finished this for our State Fair competition and hope it has enough greens in it for this post. I used some unusual greens (for me that is) and hope this works.


10-13-2003, 10:54 AM
Just coming back to the computer and reading the replies -- I thought I would show you a painting of green, since I showed you a painting that should be green and isn't.

This is called "Oak in Purple" and is on Wallis and is 9 x 5 1/2 inches.

And this one is "Barn & Fence" and was painted from a photo taken the day Terry Ludwig and I were painting plein aire at this farm. Size is 8x10 and painted on burgundy canson paper.

Can't wait for the project -- hope I am around to do it.

Deborah Secor
10-13-2003, 11:08 AM
anney, maybe we could also paint green using no green, as Marsha did.

kyle, your painting has some very beautiful and subtle greens in it. Very nice. (I've followed it in your thread...)

Marsha, I'm just blown away by your work. The oak is just smashing--very bold and lyrical. The barn and fence is so much softer, very inviting.

Okay, here's one of mine, cross posted in the weekly thread, but it has some intersting greens, I think. It was done very quickly as a class demo for my students:
It's about 9x12" on La Carte, the blue-gray color.

Keep them coming!

*one day I'll learn to use the spell check before posting...

10-13-2003, 11:39 AM
I saw that painting in your other thread -- Glad you showed it here.

That is absolutely wonderful -- shows a great use of greens and other colors! That pink sky is great too! I paint pink skies more often than any other color - I guess because of painting plein air and doing so in the morning or afternoon. Here in the south with all the "atmosphere" as Terry puts it - they do look somewhat pinkish.

The background green tree is a fantastic green and those silver weeds just set it off.

Don't you usually like your demonstrations? I do. It seems that the quicker paintings when you really have to think before laying down a passage are the most successful.

Deborah Secor
10-13-2003, 12:11 PM
Yep, Marsha, I do like my demos. What is it about speed that works? Maybe it's because I'm just talking the whole time I demonstrate! (Big mouth--likes sound of own words too much! LOL) But it does free the hand to work without the judgmental mind interfering too much...


10-13-2003, 01:09 PM
I was thinking of this thread when painting this

green trees on red paper


18 x 24" eaglecrest beach

Deborah Secor
10-14-2003, 10:10 AM
Wow! Dan, it's like candy for the eyes. Delicious...

Thanks for showing us!

Deborah Secor
10-22-2003, 12:41 PM
One more 'green' question for you all! Are greens regional? Do you think we use a certain kind of green in the southwest that you don't use in the northeast?

Maybe to answer that we should share which green is most indispensable to us and note why.

Mine is...well, the one I cannot do without is... hard to choose, but...Great American 280.0 Vermont Green, followed closely by others.

What's the ONE you would choose?


Kathryn Wilson
10-22-2003, 12:47 PM
Hi dee: Good question - can we take it one step further - when we name our favorite colors, could we upload a color swatch(s)? I have no idea what Vermont Green looks like - I hope it's that delicious green I see alot in your paintings -


I suspect the greens we use regionally may be due to the different species of trees prevalent in the area - North Carolina has alot of pines and therefore very dark green; lots of white and red oak, another type of green.

Deborah Secor
10-22-2003, 01:14 PM
Great idea! I'd sure appreciate it if you all could show a swatch. I'll see what I can do. I'm thinking I may make a little sample with my #1 green at the top and a few of the other indispensable ones on it too, just so we can all share.


Kathryn Wilson
10-22-2003, 06:31 PM
These colors were still in my tray from painting the pottery shed pictured above - I use these greens alot. A mixture of Rembrandts, Webers, Winsor-Newton, Art Spectrum. I hope the true colors show on everyone's monitor, but that may be asking a bit much - LOL


Mikki Petersen
10-23-2003, 10:33 AM
This is a very interesting thread...I love green, the color of life. There is virtually nothing living that can be portrayed with out green. It is an essential color. My favorite subjects are landscapes and lots of trees, shrubs, etc. Unfortunately, I tend to "over green" everything.

I think the problem people have with greens is in looking at a green object and seeing GREEN. I'm only just learning to look for all the other colors in green objects. I have studied Carly's paintings, to the point of buying several to get a closer look, just to examine how she does such a brilliant job of doing whole landscapes with vivid peach tones and magentas and reds and blues and really very little green but they look so natural.

Dee, your landscapes are how I hope someday to be able to paint. They have a glow to them and yet seem so serene and, you too, have a wonderful sense of all the colors that are not green but give the sense of green in our minds eye. I'm guessing that is the answer to the dilemma. As Marsha says, when we beginners start out to paint green, we grab a green stick and start slathering it on.

I have a mountain landscape in progress right now and I think I will concentrate on de-greening it to see if I can portray the green trees better.

God, I love this forum!

Mikki Petersen
10-23-2003, 10:58 AM
All the images posted on this thread so far show all the great ways to handle green. I will now post an image of the "artificial" way to handle green. This was my first painting done for a WC project one year ago and I just loved those greens. Now they glare at me, LOL.

Just to show I'm getting better, here is my best painting to date IMHO.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Oct-2003/14550-mossy_rocks_-_PJ100_(2).jpg

DFGray, if I could do a painting like the one you posted above, I would be so impressed with myself, I wouldn't be able to get my head through the door and I'd freeze to death come winter!

Deborah Secor
10-23-2003, 06:40 PM
Kat--I need lables on your colors! Can you list the brand, color or number? That might help us more, don't you think? And did you mark them on white paper? Was it Canson? Just wondering, so I can correct for color. My monitor makes the paper look light green.

1mpete, you have come a loooooong way! I mean, obviously you could draw from the first and #1 is a good painting, but #2 is strong! Thanks for sharing them....

I'm maxed out with getting work to my Santa Fe gallery, teaching classes, heading up an artist's ministry meeting tonight with hubby and one or two other little things like trying to squeeze in eating and sleeping--so I'll try to get a photo of my greens tomorrow or over the weekend!

My students are putting on a show of all our work one evening in November! Isn't that neat? Okay, seriously have to go...


10-23-2003, 07:05 PM
Deborah - have a great show!!!

Mikki - per usual you are the queen of green!!! Does this mean you are flush too?

Love the mixtures and magnificent rich colors here.


Mikki Petersen
10-23-2003, 07:43 PM
Thanks Deborah and Barb. The Mossy Rocks is the painting I thought I would enter into the Pastel 100 but on closer inspection, It's not nearly good enough. I still love it and am proud of it!

I would do a color swatch of my greens, but I no longer have the names/numbers so it wouldn't do much good. I bought the Great American set of 35 grey colors and those greens really filled a gap. I also bought the 35 color set of Great American Southwest colors which has some good mid range olive and piney colors. My absolute life saver though is Sennelier Black Green. Having heard about the Terry Ludwig green set now, it's a gotta have on my Christmas list. Finally I have every green Rembrandt makes. In truth though, I mix a lot of yellows, oranges and brick colors with the greens to give them more life.

10-23-2003, 07:54 PM
Deborah... I've been watching this wonderful thread develop for some time.. all the work here is wonderful, I've rated it, so hope others will follow, because it's such an informative and educational one. It needs to be placed into the library for all time reference.

Thank you too for all the encouragement and expert advice that you give us... you really are a treasure to the Pastel Forum and WC!

Here's my little fantasy painting using mostly greens..soft pastels this time. Green is one of my favourite colours... there is an old saying that "Blue and green should never be seen" and another that says " Blue and green is fit for a Queen".



max nelson
10-23-2003, 07:54 PM
Deborah..and all in the forum. I am not much of a pastelist or painter so what I have to add should be taken with that in mind.
This is such an interesting thread that after reading thru all the post late last evening I had trouble sleeping just thinking of all the great info. It has shed much light on my aversion to green.

It also forced me to organize my thoughts about color, especially green and to put in focus some of the things I have been learning by self study. After making some very poor attempts at painting I knew that some serious study was in order, so put down the paints for a long time now and have just been trying to learn color.

Here are some of my thoughts and things learned from other artist:

Color Green
Reasons for a bad rap.

In my opinion any tube color needs modification and should not be used ‘pure’. Few if any have any real correlation in nature. Most look more natural if they are grayed either with a gray or with a complement (some hue of red) Jackie said it more succinctly. The posting of Marsha show terrific grayed greens.

Like objects, arrangement of the greens needs to be carefully considered. A part of the composition equation is to consider the effect of the atmosphere. Any color will lose its intensity as it recedes into the background. More intense hues nearground, less intense middle ground and subdued even more for far off.
Especially with greens, color loses the yellow as it recedes. If one cannot ‘see’ the fore, middle and background, as I do not, then imagine where these areas are and paint it, as you know it should read. Kyle posted a wonderful example.

As has been previously posted, there is almost an infinite variety of green. Most paintings that are not effective with the use of green suffer from a lack of variety. This does not infer that one should attempt to use every conceivable variation. Groupings of color or objects are always to be considered.

A warm light obviously means warmer greens. A cool light equals grayed or cooler greens.
Arrange the darks and lights to create a good composition. As per Daniel Greene, darks contain both warm and cool colors; lights contain both warm and cool colors.Carly posted some wonderful examples.

Like most beginning artist I have made some awful looking color combos by attempting to paint what I saw in a photo. Greens can suffer the most, especially if it is landscape since the subtle variety of greens will not be represented in a photo. I am not a plein air painter, for that matter not a painter at all, but do know that I see much more when observing from nature and marvel at all the subtleties. Jackie and Carly both gave good advice on this.

Something that I do not have and know how important it can be to realizing a captivating painting.
Like many I would imagine, I try to replicate what I see rather than taking liberties to create what a more creative type would instinctively know what is needed to make the painting ‘pop’
Posted below are some crops of a painting that I copied by Cezanne. The way he took nature and bended it to his will is masterful.


another from the same painting

Some color mixes derived from Gorschner's book. I bought the book for his examples of useing 4 grays that he premixes for each work. A warm, blue, violet and neutral gray to modify any tube color.

And one of some paloverde trees from my back yard (detail)

OMG..I didn't realize how 'windy' this became. I apologize to all.
I did learn so much from all of your posts that I hoped I could add something to struggling artist new to the subject. I hastily add, there is not an 'orginal' thought that I have presented, just much summary of what I am learning as I go along from past and present accomplished artist.

Mikki Petersen
10-23-2003, 08:08 PM
Max, interesting thoughts on the subject. Very organized response with a lot of info that could be applied to all color work.

Mo. Love your little bird and the wonderful swirling blues and greens.

Deborah Secor
10-24-2003, 10:25 AM
Mo, you are such a sweetheart. I'm delighted to find a place where I can ask these kinds of questions and find such deep, well thought out answers and discussions! I love your birds, too. Very lovely stylization with such a spark of life in the movements. I enjoy painting birds, too--in fact I think I saw this one in a bird thread, or one in a series maybe.

Max, thanks for your additions and organization of everything. Your reminder that photographs are the culprit in some green disasters is a good one... mea culpa! I've certainly relied too heavily on photos from time to time. That's why for me, doing some work plein air is a must. It keeps me fresh and seeing reality when I return to a photo. And Max, you weren't windy at all! LOL


Kathryn Wilson
10-24-2003, 04:42 PM
Found all the labels for the greens except two - an old Nupastel which didn't have labels and the Art Spectrum green that did not come with a label because it was in a sample box.


10-25-2003, 04:54 AM
Well, lol, you may remember Im one who gives Greens a bad name lol ....... but I did this the other week, to great response from alot of you guys...... lol, still not sure you were pulling my leg...... it was an effort..... hard work.... a challenge..... still dont feel comfortable with it ..... but werent going to run the risk of this one getting damaged :D ..... put it in a frame


10-25-2003, 06:46 AM
Originally posted by Dark_Shades
Well, lol, you may remember Im one who gives Greens a bad name lol ....... but I did this the other week, to great response from alot of you guys...... lol, still not sure you were pulling my leg...... it was an effort..... hard work.... a challenge..... still dont feel comfortable with it ..... but werent going to run the risk of this one getting damaged :D ..... put it in a frame

"Going once..going twice..SOLD to CrazyArtist!!" :clap: :clap: :clap:

Mikki Petersen
10-25-2003, 12:29 PM
I think you've been pulling our legs Dawn! It's gorgeous!

Deborah Secor
10-25-2003, 05:29 PM
These are some of my greens. I can’t find my Unison A-43 or Green-13! Guess I’ve run out of them. Anyway, in case your monitor is wonky or my color is off, the darkest one at the top is really that dark! The Great American Vermont is next darkest, and Unison A-43 is in there too (wish it was in the photo!)

It looks to me like my greens run more to the yellow side than blue, which stands to reason here in NM. I admit to using a lot of purple in shadows and a lot of orange in the sun side of green trees.

Morning Pathway, detail, about 5x7 inches.


Kathryn Wilson
10-25-2003, 05:40 PM
Thanks for the sample dee!! I think the color I like in your paintings is the Schminke Olive Green. I must make sure to get one to try out. My palette has been tending more towards a blue green, rather than the yellow green - with Prussian blues for shadows.

Going to try a painting with a different palette to try some other color combinations. I just have not been all that happy with the greens I have been using. It may be that I am green challenged like DS - although she seems to have a handle on them now - :evil:

Deborah Secor
10-25-2003, 05:58 PM
Dawn, that painting looks just smashing with the frame on it! Excellent, just excellent. It has such a nice tone and mood to it, very soothing...


Mikki Petersen
10-25-2003, 06:01 PM
Thanks Dee for sharing the list and the example with the oranges in it.

BTW, for anyone looking to expand their collections, Jerry's Artarama is having a sale on a number of their pastel brands, including Great American, both open stock and sets. That's
www.jerrysartarama.com for any who've not been their. The sale is through the end of the year.

Deborah Secor
10-28-2003, 11:04 AM

Just had to share my joy at a box of greens that just arrived from Terry Ludwig!! All I can say is if you can't find the right green, try this box! There are 85 colors and it's truly AMAZING!!! These are so soft and the greens just run the gamut, dark, light, warm, cool, yellow, blue--you name it.

If I can scare up the time (scarce...very scarce this week) I'll make a chart and show it to you, but don't anyone hold your breath. Wouldn't want you to turn blue--or even blue-GREEN.


10-28-2003, 11:15 AM
I REALLY need to take this thread OUT of my favourits!!! I read it from beginning to end EVERY day. I love the colour green...to look at LOL..........

Deborah!!! what are you going to do with 85 greens!!!!!!:eek: I have three and a blue-green (what a newbie eh??? LOL)

I love everybody's work in here :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Deborah Secor
10-28-2003, 11:31 AM
Oh, trust me crazy, I can find a use for every single one of these babies... LOL! Maybe i'll post some of the results here too.

I think this thread is extremely helpful too. I love hearing everyone's thoughts on green. (It's my favorite color, actually... shhh, don't tell...)


Deborah Secor
11-08-2003, 04:01 PM
Okay, thought I'd resurrect this thread and show you the Ludwig green set I just got recently. It's amazing!!!


I need to talk to Terry about his greens. My son looked at the chart and said, "how can he call number 59 a green?" LOL It's a good question and I intend to ask it!

Anyone solved any more green dilemmas??? If so, I'd love to see them here and have you tell me how you did it this time.


Mikki Petersen
11-08-2003, 04:06 PM
Maybe the reddish colors are added as the compliment. I tis a beautiful set. On my christmas list...thanks for letting us preview.

Deborah Secor
11-08-2003, 05:24 PM
I just spent a half hour noodling around and this is what I came up with--far from finished but what fun to splash around those greens!


This is Santa Fe, by the way, in late summer when it's at its best. About 9x24" on Wallis using lotsa Ludwig greens (and other colors, of course...)


11-08-2003, 06:36 PM
The WDE today:


2 hours from this picture:

Some adjustment to be made at dayligth and with a better photo.


Mikki Petersen
11-09-2003, 03:55 AM
Dee : I love the style of your post here. Great colors! The Ludwig's appear to have a nice range of greens. Your painting has a lot of good contrast which I'm guessing are due to the Ludwig darks?

Anney: Your painting has real merit. I think you might want to look at some deeper contrasts to add depth. If you look at your reference, the colors are darker toward the front, lightening as they fade to the background, where in your painting the tonals values are much the same throughout. It is a lovely painting and you've certainly captured the scene.

11-09-2003, 05:02 AM
Confession is good for the soul. My very first plein air workshop in pastels, I said out loud, "I hate the color green!."

As a beginner, I guess all that you can see is the "local" color.

All week the instructor echoed, "you must get the value correct."

"Squint," he kept saying. I chuckle now. Strange there is not much green afterall.