Mixing a Green for Holly Leaves

I held my Christmas Theme classes last week so that those who wished to could have their paintings made into this years Christmas Card.

There was lots of holly and ivy on the table for everyone to paint. However, we decided that getting the “right” colour of green for the holly was a bit difficult! Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Yellow which was the initial choice of most people produced a rather pale shade of green and, if you look carefully at my demo leaves in this first picture,

Pale Green Holly Leaves

Pale Green Holly Leaves

you can see the granulation of the blue. Ignore the pink encroaching on the top right hand corner – it’s a petal from another demo piece that is out of shot!

I suggested a rather wacky combination of Phthalo Blue and Burnt Umber – yes it works! Phthalo Blue is a rather beautiful turquoise blue which if mixed with yellow (the usual green mix) produces a bright sickly green. Mix it with Burnt Umber which is on the yellow side of the colour spectrum and you get a really deep green as can be seen in this second demo piece.

Dark Green Holly Leaf

Dark Green Holly Leaf

As I have said to my classes in the past – mixing colours is half the fun of watercolour painting, you never quite know what you are going to get!