Well this is a subject very close to my heart, how to mix greens.

From birth we experience millions of different greens, so familiar are they to the human eye, that they say ‘never buy a green car’. Have a bump, get it re-sprayed and the human eye will always see the difference between the new colour and the old.

As an artist, especially a beginner it would be reasonable to think that with all that choice in your local art shop, there must be perfect greens straight from the tube.

It’s true that when I teach beginners I do use tube greens from the tube and mix them together. Now about my own paintings DEFINATELY NOT.


‘Barns near Burnsall’ Private Collection in Australia

On one of the very few ocassions I attended an Art Club, in Horsforth  Leeds, the tutor’s favourite green mix was Ultramarine Blue mixed with Gamboge , which I used in one of my earliest paintings above.

At that time I was only painting English scenes, before moving to my new home in Bulgaria, where the tree colours were similar and the mix served me well.

Then things changed, I started to teach in other countries, Vietnam, Bali, Thailand and Malaysia. What served me well in the UK and Bulgaria were simply inadequate in these new exotic climates.

Bamboo, Palms, Banana the list of new greens was endless and new. Then later I taught in Greece and when I arrived, and started painting and teaching I realised that neither in the UK, Bulgaria or Asia had I ever painted a Cypress Tree (with it’s very bluey, dark green colour) or Olive Trees (a silvery muted green)… I had had enough what to do ?


By nessesity (lack of supply by my local art shops in Bulgaria) I had bought the full range (48 colours) in bulk directly from the manufacturers (Tintoretto in Italy) to ensure I could paint without interruption.

This gave me the opportunity to experiment, which I took full advantage of. As you can see from my home made colour card above there are some 12/13 yellows and about 9/10 blues which I wanted to experiment with. This was in Greece and I was looking for the colours for Cypress and Olive Trees.


So I decided to take 6 of my most likely Blues 19,21,22,24,25 and 26 and combine them with my most likely Yellows 3,9,10,35,36,38 and 44

I made 6 colour cards using these combinations and numbered them as above, so I could study the results. I also tried to show the tonal value of each colour going from light to dark on each colour chip.

For those of you who know the colour of Olive trees, that particular Silvery Green.

The Old Olive Grove

Or the dark bluey green of a Cypress tree, I am sure you can see a suitable Green on my colour cards. From a practical point of view it was simple. When out painting hold the colour card up and the choice of colour combinations is obvious.

So when I get asked ‘how to mix greens’ the advice is simple, take whatever blues and yellows and have fun finding out how many greens you can mix. Make you own colour cards, then  you always have them for reference, either in the studio or painting outside.

I hope this helps.

Happy Painting


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  1. Alastair says:

    Hi thanks for comment of one of my paintings😁 have every tried hooker’s green never on its own but always mixed . With any colour in your pallet and see all the green’s you can get .great work

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