Many years ago I spent a week in Tuscany, painting watercolours with friends. My colour palette consisted of the colours recommended by il Professore the previous year. I struggled with them but didn’t understand why.
One of the colours was olive green. I hadn’t brought an extra pan of olive green with me, so when I ran out of olive I had no green. You get green by mixing yellow and blue, right? So I thought. Well, it depends on the yellow and the blue you have. The yellow I had was Cadmium Yellow Deep which, I can tell you, is a very warm yellow, practically orange. Orange and French Ultramarine do not make a nice green. Orange and Indigo do not make a nice green either.
Without any green I decided to try monochromatic with Indigo, but wasn’t too succesful with that, either. Indigo is a terribly strong colour and I’ve been sort of afraid to use it. Go wrong with it, it doesn’t wash off like some other colours may do. I still have that monochromatic painting, a view of the mountains where Cortona is nestled. Hmm. Maybe I should have another look at it… maybe there is a part of it that could be salvaged.
Anyway, it took me another few months to realize what the problem in mixing greens was: I didn’t have a cold yellow. Once that thought struck me, I drove from the summer cottage just to by a pan of Winsor Lemon. My greens were saved.
How il Professore managed to get by without a cold yellow is still a mystery to me. But manage he did, superbly!
Last week one day I got email from The Watercolour Academy. This is a bit funny, because I belong to a group called Akvarelli Akatemia. We have nothing to do with each other. The Watercolour Academy had this lesson on how to mix watercolours and I have just finished doing the lesson plus more. Just look what beautiful shades of green you can get with the right colours to start with!
And compare them to what I had to deal with those years ago in Tuscany.
You can click on the images to see larger versions of them.
I'm Piisa and I will be sharing with you my thoughts on this and that, maybe even on whatever.