Greens in Watercolor 2 - Mixing to Obtain Greens or Mixing with Greens

Publié le par Désiré Herman

Greens in Watercolor 2 - Mixing


You have already seen that there aren’t as many green mono-pigmented watecolor paint used in different brands made by the manufactures of watercolor paint. In addition, its pigments are very unnatural. As a result, manufacturers of watercolor paints make mixtures of several pigments with a base of one or more green pigments (most often Phthalo Cyanides PG7 & PG36).


But to reproduce the great diversity of greens, it is better to practice and to master these mixtures.


Therefore, I offer this article, which will first talk about a mixture of yellows and blues in order to achieve greens…

As for purple and orange, I find that green has no place in a beginner's palette! It is by exercising that one becomes a master.


You will see that blue and yellow do not just produce greens but also grays, browns and even neutrals.


Mixing your greens yourself will teach you how to get nuances and add depth and naturalness to your works.


But now I return to my greens created with yellows and blues.


I still have a very important tip to give you!


Blues are very invasive and are beside violet the darkest colors on the color wheel and they easily dominate the other two primaries. While mixing, always start with the yellows and gradually add the blue little by little, otherwise the yellows will be dominated and the mixtures will not be subtle and sometimes do not result in obtaining a green but greenish blues.


To make the color chart for the mixtures, I used paints from quite a few different brands. Da Vinci (US), Daniel Smith (US), M. Graham (US), Sennelier (F), Winsor & Newton (UK), Mission Gold (Korea), QOR (US) and others like Schmincke (De) , Isaro (Be), Rembrandt (NL) or Blockx (Be)… and they mix well! No need to limit yourself to just one brand.


The colors I used for this color chart of yellow and blue mixes are:


For the Yellows:

    * GREEN GOLD PY129 A dull cold yellow from Da Vinci

    * Lemon Yellow PY175 A vibrant and cold yellow from Daniel Smith

    * Aurélien PY151 A Neutral Yellow by M. Graham

    * Cadmium Yellow PY135 A Neutral Yellow from Sennelier

    * Isodoline Yellow PY 139 A Warm Yellow by Daniel Smith

    * Indian Yellow PY110 A Warm Yellow by M. Graham


For the Blues

    * Manganese Blue PB15 A Winsor & Newton Cold Blue

    * Blue Cerulium PB35 A Cold Blue from Winsor & Newton

    * Prussian Blue PB27 A Cold Blue from Mission Gold

    * Cobalt Blue PB28 A Neutral Blue from QOR

    * Phthalo blue green shade PB15: 3. A Neutral Blue by Sennelier

    * Phthalo blue red shade PB15: 6. A Warm Blue by Sennelier

    * Ultramarine Blue PB29 A Warm Blue by M. Graham

    * Indanthrene Blue PB60 A Warm Blue by Sennelier


If you want more info on yellows and blues, check out my samples and analyzes using the link below.















(Signs and abbreviations used on the swatches with explanations to better analyse and read the swatches)


Here is the color chart of the blue and yellow mixes.

Colorchart Mixing Mono-pigmented Blues with Mono-Pigmented Yellows
Colorchart Mixing Mono-pigmented Blues with Mono-Pigmented Yellows


Color chart of the mixes of Mono-pigmented Paintings of Blue and Yellow shade in Watercolor





1. Clear greens are obtained using very little cold or neutral blue with a lot of cool yellows.

2. The cold yellows produce, with the warm blues, shades of summer green and / or natural green shades or olive type greens if very little blue is used.

3. With cold blues, warm yellows produce hues starting with ochres and evolve towards very natural muted greens and from time to time they produce hues very close to neutral.

4. With warm blues, warm yellows produce earth-like colors or shadows, they produce sometimes very dark colored neutrals, almost black (PB29 + PY139 and PB60 + PY139) or even very dark muted greens (PB60 + PY110 or PY139).




To obtain fresh spring greens, avoid the presence of red in yellows and blues. Red is the complement of green and will mute or even neutralize it.


In the second color chart, I show the behavior of green pigments with the other secondary colors and primary colors.

Here I have retained:


For the Greens:


* Phtalo Green PG7 by Isaro (Cold Green)

* Sennelier Green PG17 Chromium Oxide Green (Almost neutral green) by Sennelier

* QOR Viridian Green PG18 (Cool Green)

* Phtalo Green Yellow shade PB36 by Daniel Smith (Neutral green slightly warm)

* Cobalt Turquoise (Teal Green) PG50 from Schmincke (Cool Green)

* Terre Verte PG23 from Rembrandt (Almost Neutral Green)


For other colors:




• Chrome yellow PY175 Cold yellow from Schmincke

• Permanent Yellow deep PY110 Warm Yellow by Daniel Smith

• Yellow Ocher PY42 Warm Yellow from Mission Gold


• * Orange

• Sennelier Orange PO73 Neutral Orange by Sennelier

• Burnt Sienna PBr7 muted warm Orange by Daniel Smith


• * Red

• Quinacridone Coral PR209 Warm Red by Daniel Smith

• Antraquinoid Red PR177 Cold Red by Daniel Smith


• * Blue

• Cobalt Green PB36 (green or blue, you see) from Sennelier

• Prussian Blue PB27 Cold Blue from Isaro

• Cobalt Blue PB28 Neutral Blue from Mission Gold

• Ultramarine Bleu PB29 Warm Blue from Schmincke


• * Purple

• Quinacridone Purple PV55 Neutral Violet by Daniel Smith



Mixes of Watercolors of Green Pigments with primary colors and other secondary colors


Colorchart of Mono Pigment Greens mixed with Primaries and other Secondary colors
Colorchart of Mono Pigment Greens mixed with Primaries and other Secondary colors



In each box I mix the top color by adding little by little the green color on the left side. A little green is added to each line.

At the bottom of the box I first paint the reference green color in the left part, then paint the top color starting with the right until the 2 colors touch. This allows you to see how the 2 colors behave; which is more invasive, mixing with, or pushing the other color. For example, we find that Viridian green invades and dominates almost all colors except purple and has a tendency to mix with yellow PY175.

This type of research is very interesting when we practice mixing on paper. It is less useful if you mix your colors on your palette.




Phtalo Green PG7

• Creates very fresh greens with PY 175

• With the PY 110, we vary from Natural Sienna to olive greens to reach a slightly muted medium green

• With the Yellow Ocher PY42 you get natural green hues if you don't put too much green pigment (PG7) ,which is very dominant, in it.

• With PO73 we obtain muted violets then a bluish neutral

• With PBr7 mixtures mutes even more than with PO 73

• With the PF 209, interesting dull shades are obtained without obtaining neutral colors

• With the PR 177 we are approaching an ideal neutral but not yet completely ...

• By adding blue PB 36, PB 27, PB 28, or PB 29 as well as purple PV55, we obtain only shades of turquoise or bluish bluish green


Chrome Oxide Green PG17


• With PY 175 you get very spring yellow greens

• Mixtures with PY 110 and PY 42 we obtain more so-called “earth” tones, to evolve towards green olives

• With Po 73 you quickly get muted reds

• Mixing with burned Sienna PBr7 produces various shades of neutrals or very interesting greenish neutrals

• With the PR 209 you get a nice range of neutrals

• The PR 177 produces with the PG 17 first dull purplish tones to achieve an almost perfect neutral

• The addition of blue and purple pigments tarnish and darken PG 17


Emerald Green PG18


• Lower in saturation, therefore more difficult to dose, the mixtures are identical to those produced with PG 17 but less saturated or even more pastel


Phthalo Green shade PG36 Yellow

• There is only a subtle difference between PG36 and Phtalo PG7 green.

• The mixtures are very close. Given the tinting strength, less pronounced of PG 36 compared to PG7, and its slightly more natural color, choosing this paint is a basic green option in a palette.


Cobalt Turquoise or Teal Blue PG50


• This color is closer to blue than green. This pigment is very invasive, it invades all colors except blue and purple.

• This pigment produces, mixed with the yellows of pastel greens. Mixed with reds, blues and purples, we obtain subtle colored grays very interesting for nuancing the shadows in a watercolor.

• Sarcelles blue is currently very popular with watercolorists, it is bright and very visible in a work. For me, his great interest is to produce fine nuances close to silver and pastel in mixture with mainly reds and purples.


Terre Verte PG23


• This pigment creates subtle and light greens with PY 175 then dull greens and browns in olive green style and also, as PG 50 does, colored grays.

• It is a natural pigment which varies enormously from manufacturer to manufacturer and also according to its source of supply. Therefore it is better to create your own color charts, using your own colors, to test these natural pigments.




As yellows, ochres and blues are mostly present in most palettes of watercolorists, it allows them to obtain a wide range of greens by mixing these colors. It seems to me not to be necessary to add some green to your palette, because I think that expanding your choices of yellow and blue is more reasonable. In addition, manufacturers' ready-to-use greens often use 3 or more different pigments, which very quickly results in dull and muddy mixtures.


But if you regularly paint landscapes, the presence of a single green, as a basis for mixing, is wise. For me, the choice must be between the two Phthalos and the green chromium oxide. The advantage of PG 17 is that it is much less tinting than the two Phthalos. This allows “to open the blanks”.On the other hand, it is an opaque paint which will tarnish your watercolors and which, normally, must be applied as a last step, otherwise we lose the transparency of the watercolor.


Between the two Phthalos (PG 7 and PG36) the choice to make and more subtle. The PG7 is more bluish and cool than the PG 36, which in my opinion, even with a little yellowish tendency, is closest to a neutral green. Both pigments are very tinting and transparent. The PG 36, on the other hand is less tinting but it seems a little less resistant to light! Too bad that not all manufacturers have this nuance in their range!


You could see lots of little shades in these mixes and color charts. To go even further, I will write a third article; how to control your blue / yellow mixes by adding other colors to get all the greens you can imagine.


In addition I will show other green colors, certainly rarer, made from semi precious stones and especially a green, which is classified in black, PBK 31, Perylene green which is also a very good base for mixing. to get dark greens and deep blacks.


At the end, I will show how to get greens from a mixture of yellow and black… and yes we are not yet surprised!

But all this will be for later, because it still requires a lot of work. I suggest you practice with your blue and yellow colors and I, for my part, will start making other color charts.


See you soon and as always, if you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me.


Commenter cet article

J’aime beaucoup votre blog. Un plaisir de venir flâner sur vos pages. Une belle découverte et un blog très intéressant. Je reviendrai m’y poser. N’hésitez pas à visiter mon univers (lien sur pseudo) Au plaisir.