mixing greens with watercolor krista Hasson

Mixing Greens with Watercolor


I prefer mixing greens but when I first started painting I had every color known to man. Can you say addiction, maybe I should be starting a support group not writing articles lol. With my paint addiction under control ? I now use a fairly limited palette. Phthalo Green is a premixed green that I do use when needed, but I always mix other colors with it. Getting good greens that look natural is very important. If your greens are too garish they will take over your painting.


The following colors were used to create the charts below:

Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue, Winsor Yellow, Indian Yellow, and Phthalo green.

In the Chart above on the left, you can see how the Winsor yellow lightens the blue’s overall value and creates cleaner greens than the chart on the right. Take a look at the Phthalo green and Winsor yellow. It creates a green that is vibrant and is not achievable with my basic palette. That is why I use it.

A general rule in watercolor is that if you need a subdued color or a neutral you add the color’s complement (color opposite on the color wheel) You can see in the chart above the Indian yellow creates earthy greens and brownish hues. This is because the yellow is a warm yellow-orange and orange is the complement to blue. Cobalt and Ultramarine contain more red than the Phthalos do, making their mixtures even more neutralized and muted.

I recommend making color charts from all of your paints. You will have a great reference to go to when a certain color is needed. Once you get used to the results of color mixes,  it will become second nature and you will automatically reach for the right color.

Thank you for sharing your time with me.

Cheers, Krista

PS:  Don’t forget to leave your comments below and sharing is always appreciated!

Read more articles on painting  HERE

12 thoughts on “Mixing Greens with Watercolor”

  1. Thank you for the tutorial. Very informative since greens are difficult at times.

  2. Really found this article valuable. I am not fond of mixing greens so this will be helpful to me. Loved those charts. I’ve made a lot of color charts so now I need to make a greens color chart. Thanks Krista!

  3. Eleanor Van De Bogart

    I have painted for quite some time , but never realized that cobalt & ultramarine contained reds – more than the phthalos. The comparison of the yellows show the transparency differences.

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