I’m going to continue with my article on greens and break down some ways of approaching mixes for green. People wrote to me asking about mixing and that they had problems with getting the appropriate green for their paintings.
Let’s talk about some broad ideas first that apply to all color not just green. Everything is relative to the colors and values next to it. When painting outdoor scenes you have to limit the range of color and value to what is available to you in paint. You can’t copy colors and values natures has many more at its disposal than pigment does.
Knowing this, you have to get used to thinking about translating what you see not copying it. You must use a key for your painting. Just like a key in music, a key in painting allows you to structure the color and value of your painting to conform to certain restrictions; these restrictions are part of the basic design. This applies to green as a hue and how it will interact in the larger scheme of the painting. The local colors of all the objects must be shifted to conform to the effect of the light.
When we key the painting for color what we are talking about is limiting its range for color in the lights and the shadows. We are designing the colors to fit into a believable limited arrangement of hues that represents the scene we are trying to depict.
This is why I say paintings are ruined at the start by not getting that first correct note down. Just like music if you start on the wrong note it throws every other note into disarray and the painting fails because of it. Each correct color note helps me solve the next notes until the painting is completed to my satisfaction.
All paintings by Armand Cabrera