painting green watercolor

Lately, on my Fine Art Tips Facebook page, I keep getting asked how to mix the color green.  I plan to make a Youtube video on color mixing, but until then I thought you’d enjoy this little still life demo in green.

My Facebook friend, Dorothy Lorenze painted the charming little still life below which successfully illustrates how to mix interesting greens.

Tomatillos: A Still Life Demo in Green

Tomatillos are odd little specimens, and the thing that intrigues me is the contrast of their shiny green flesh with their papery husks. It’s all green on green! But, there are subtleties in the color that help define the surface – so that’s the challenge.
Placing the tomatillos on a reflective surface added more variety in the tones and textures… plus I just enjoy reflections!

  • The initial drawing of the objects also shows where the shadows in reflection will be. This helps to balance the composition.
  • These greens and grays are generally mid tones to test the palette.
  • There are some lighter greens for the husks and some warmth added to distinguish the fruit on the right.
  • Gray: My gray is basically Ultramarine Blue and Raw Umber. It’s lightened here with Yellow Ochre and a little Zinc White.
  • Green: The greens were mainly Permanent Green light mixed with variations of Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Lemon Yellow and Zinc White for the lighter shades. For deeper greens I added a touch of Ultramarine Blue and a bit of the dark gray mix.

green tomatillos

  • In this under layer of the reflected tomatillos Cad Yellow Light created a warmer, darker base than the lighter fruit above.
  • Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue and the slightest bit of Alizarin were mixed for the funky purplish veining in the husk on the left.
tomatillos green

The interest in this painting is the complexity of the greens. The objects as well as the colors appear more muted in the reflection. Each of the tomatillos has a slightly different color cast. So, there are a lot of subtle differences to make it interesting – and of course there is the reflection!
This painting is called “Admiring Tomatillos”. Like Narcissus, they are enraptured with their own reflection.

green tomatillos

Guest artist/author: Dorothy Lorenze is a graphic designer turned professional artist who enjoys still life, figure drawing, oil and pastel painting, and trompe l’oeil
I hope we meet on Twitterand on Google Plus, Pinterestand join in the fun at Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page! Please checkout my art too, or find me on Instagram lorimcneeartist. ~Lori

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