How to Mix Green with Watercolor

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Mixing Greens

Mixing green with watercolor can be a challenge, and this article will show you how to get the greens you want.

Greens straight from the tube can sometimes be garish and harsh. That is why I mix my greens with the colors on my palette, which is a limited palette of seven colors, but I will add other colors if I am painting flowers.

Mixing any blue and yellow won’t always make a good green.

So you would think you could just grab a warm blue and a cool yellow, but that is not always the case. A lot of times, you need to mix more than yellow and blue to get a shade that looks natural. If the green you mixed is too harsh, you can add a bit of its compliment (red) to dull it a bit.

How to - mixing green with watercolor

In the chart above you notice that the cool blues and cool yellows make the cleanest and most vibrant greens. The cool blues and warm yellow or the cool yellows and warm blues make dull greens and muddy browns.

Not sure which colors above are cool or warm

Just in case I have listed them below for you.

Cool Blues
(have some yellow in them)

Cobalt Teal
Cerulean Blue
Phthalo Blue
Prussian Blue

Warm Blues
(have some red in them)

French Ultramarine Blue

Cool Yellows
(have some blue in them)

Nickel Azo Gold
Hansa Yellow Light
Winsor Yellow

Warm Yellows
(have some red in them)

Indian Yellow
New Gamboge
Quinacridone Gold
Raw Sienna

Once you understand the undertones of color, it will make it much easier when mixing. 

For example, a warm blue and cool yellow mixed creates a dull green because it has all three primaries (red, yellow and blue).

A cool blue mixed with a cool yellow will create brighter greens. This is because you are mixing 2 primaries blue and yellow the red is missing so it will not dull your mixture. 

If you read my last article on mixing black, you saw how mixing three primaries (red, yellow and blue) made black.

mixing green with watercolor

HY = Hansa Yellow Light
WY = Winsor Yellow
UB = Ultramarine Blue
PB = Phthalo Blue
WR = Winsor Red
PS = Pyrrole Scarlet
PG = Phthalo Green
SG = Sap Green  

If you noticed in the chart above, I threw in two tube greens. You can get some great colors with them by mixing a little of another color. (See I am not against them all together lol) These are two greens that if you have them it is beneficial to make a color chart with your other colors.

I hate buying more paint colors than I need (OK, I even laughed as I typed that lol). The one green that I still buy is Winsor green (phthalo green) which I add to my palette when doing flowers, but I never use it straight out of the tube.  It creates some beautiful greens that you just can’t mix.

Color is a study all on its own. I spent a whole year studying color and mixing. It can get complex, I tried to keep this as straightforward as I could ?

Do you have a favorite color mix for green? 
Are there any colors you would like to know how to mix?
Did you try these mixtures? 

Please share below. I would love to know what you think.

I hope you have enjoyed this article.



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Written by Krista Hasson

I share because I love to help people. I hope that you can experience the same joy and confidence that painting has given me. My mission is for you to have the tools and the foundation that you need. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you, so your journey with art can be a joyful and rewarding one!

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  1. Martha Harris

    I found this to be very informative as a new watercolor artist I could gain alot of great ideas for better paintings .I can’t get too much composition and liked the edges section.Thank you Martha

    • Krista Hasson

      You are very welcome Martha. It is my pleasure 🙂

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