Green is a funny color. It can range from almost beige to nearly black, with many verdant hues in between. Learning to mix and celebrate all the greens has been a long term project for me. I’m never disappointed.
A glimpse out of my window illustrates the myriad of green possibilities. While it is not true of everywhere in the world, in the midwestern part of the United States, spring is a riot of greens.
Spring is high green season
My front garden is filled with examples of green. A chartreuse miniature hydrangea sits in front of the tender leaves of maidenhead ferns. The seafoam fuzzy lambs ears leaves contrast with the dark blue-green of hellebore foliage. These very distinct colors create a rich, verdant tableau, perfect for collage inspiration.
Your green depends on temperature
When printing my square spiral matrix recently, I created a green that was much more olive-y than my previous mixes. No matter what I did, the green always turned out warmer than I had intended. I blame the Milori blue ink in my palette that day which has a red tint. A phthalo blue would have been much more supportive of a cool green.
Can all the greens live together?
I recently pulled this printed matrix out of the “to be collaged” drawer. I considered letting the monoprint be a weed barrier in the yard. Instead I challenged myself. Was there a way to create a collage where all the different greens coexist in one happy whole? Midway through it was not looking successful, but I decided to persevere and finish the collage.
The result in Magna Mater — or Great Mother – representing the enveloping greenness of a midwestern spring.
For further reading on how to mix greens, I highly recommend Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green by Michael Wilcox. This book gives you both the how and the why of color mixing, which is just what you need as you seek to celebrate all the greens.