Mixing Landscape Greens

by Robert Sloan
(Russellville, Arkansas, USA)

Dawn on Mt. Petit Jean

Dawn on Mt. Petit Jean

Especially if you're using student grade pastels, the range of greens you have might all be very bright true greens. In nature, the greens in many climates get muted down. Even in a bright sunny tropical climate, some of the bright greens are more muted than others.


So look at the trees and bushes you're actually painting. Consider adding a few strokes of red or orange into your greens. Adding complements can create a lot of zing with optical mixing and also mute down areas that are too bright.

That makes the areas where you're only mixing yellow or blue into the green pop out as more intense.

I thought that using intense greens throughout a landscape would better convey tropical sun, but I was wrong. When there's too much of my favorite intense greens, they all lose some intensity. Having reds and violets in the shadows makes the highlights pop, and having variations in hue can make the whole scene actually seem brighter.

Dawn on Mt. Petit Jean, done with Pan Pastels, looked flat until I started dabbing some orange into the highlights and deep red into some of the shadowed foliage. That made the colors look even more vivid!

So experiment with your colors and have fun using the whole box. You never know what you'll get till you try!

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