Here I will cover a range of single pigment greens, convenience green mixtures and wonderful special effect greens. You can also see them all, and more, on my website here.
Single Pigment GreensThere are many single pigment greens. Some are transparent and/or staining. Others are granulating. The advantage of using single pigment greens is that you don't have a multitude of pigments in the mix if you then mix them with other colours.
Below are 3 examples of Viridian on the left. I prefer the DaVinci or W&N. The Daniel Smith version is a disappointment and doesn't rewet well. Viridian is a softer, granulating and liftable version of Phthalo Green. It is lovely for florals but doesn't have the power of phthalo green PG7, which is a very staining pigment. Phthalo Green Yellow Shade is a more neutral green. Made with PG36 it is very popular but not a colour I choose to use. None of these greens is really useful alone - they are generally best mixed with a yellow or a yellow ochre/earth to create realistic greens. (for more on mixing greens see my website here.)
|Single Pigment Greens - Viridian PB18 by Da Vinci, Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton; Phthalo Green (Blue Shade) PG7 by W&N, Da Vinci, W&N and Daniel Smith; Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade) by Daniel Smith and Winsor and Newton.|
MixturesGreen mixtures may include two, three or even four pigments. These may well misbehave if mixed with other colours - it just gets to be too many pigments - but they can be popular and convenient.
|From left: Prussian Green DS, Sap Green DV, Terre Verte Hue DR, Hooker's Green Light Lake OH, Australian Leaf Green Dark AS, Cascade Green DS, Terre Verte DS, Permanent Sap Green W&N|
How else are they useful?
If you only have one green in your palette, make it phthalo green BS (or Jadeite if you want a granulating alternative). This will neutralise your crimson to make deep shadow and aubergine tones and can be neutralised with crimson to make deep prussian and perylene green hues. It will mix with a warm yellow or and earth yellow to make a nice version of sap green. It will mix with phthalo blue or ultramarine to make turquoise. It will mix with a cool yellow to make very bright greens, should you want them.
If you have two greens, make one warm and one cool so add a yellow-green such as green gold (PY129) or Sap Green or even the gorgeous granulating Green Apatite Genuine for some lovely effects in your painting. Another interesting option that I use a lot in Australia is Undersea Green by Daniel Smith - Ultramarine and Quinacridone Gold. This dark olive green is perfect for so many of the dull greens of Australia, especially gum leaves.
I have 5 greens in my 24 colour plein air palette, which is a lot - Phthalo green BS, Undersea Green (convenience mixture), Sap Green (convenience mixture), Perylene Green and Green Gold PY129, (All Daniel Smith, though for the single pigment colours other brands would do)
I also have Jadeite and Green Apatite Genuine in an extra's palette for granulation These last two are also wonderful in a limited palette for their multiple uses - Jadeite washes down to a very soft green or makes a deep green comparable with Perylene green. As a 'blue' green it also doubles for phthalo green as stated above and nuetralises a crimson. Green apatite genuine is equally versatile - a green gold really watered down, a sap green in a medium wash but in mass-tone it is a wonderful deep olive green with amazing granulation. So why not just use these two for everything? Sometimes I don't want the granulation, simple as that. But in a limited palette of 12 or even 16 they are wonderful.
Enjoy your greens!
Watercolour Comparisons 1 - Ultramarine Blue here
Watercolour Comparisons 2 - mid yellows here
Watercolour Comparisons 3 - Primary Red here
Watercolour Comparisons 4 - Burnt Sienna here
Watercolour Comparisons 5 - Greens (Single Pigment, convenience mixes and special effect) here
Watercolour Comparisons 6 - Reds (Cool, mid and warm) here
Watercolour Comparisons 7 - Yellows (cool mid and warm) here
Watercolour Comparisons 8 - Blues here
Mixing with Phthalo Green here
Mixing with single pigment greens here