Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tip of the Week

In honor of the burgeoning Spring season, I'd like to give you a tip about green.
I almost always add a little red to every green I paint. There are lots of reasons for this.
Most watercolor tube greens are too garish to look realistic. Red is the complement of green and it will grey or tone down the tube color. So, try it. I usually use alizarin crimson, opera or rose quinacridone in my greens.

Remember, when you're painting leaves, they're NOT going to be the color of a tube of green. Remember, also, that all the leaves on one plant are NOT the same color green. Those leaves are reflecting everything around them: shadows, red flowers, pink flowers, the sky, surrounding buildings.

Try this exercise: Draw 2" x 2" squares on some watercolor paper. Wet each square and (one at a time) paint each square with the different greens you own. Below that, draw matching squares. Wetting each square individually, paint wet on wet 90 % of each tube green you own with 10% quinacridone rose. After you've done this, stand back and see how sophisticated and beautiful those new greens mixed with the rose are! It's ok to allow the colors to mingle and not totally blend. That's some beautiful watercoloring.

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