Jan Hart: Mixing Greens for Foliage



The startling lavender and the yellow-greens are perfect complements. The greens that surround the trunk are neutral mixes of blues and yellows. Use these pigments to mix the greens and supporting colors.

First Stages
Paint in the yellow-green and lavender bases of the two trunks, wet into wet, by first applying the lavender (Cobalt Blue and Rose Madder) and then allowing the Green Gold to run along edges and into the lavender. Apply yellow sporadically into the areas around the tree trunks as an underwash. Apply the greens in dancing strokes — some wet into wet, some dry — with the corner of a 1″ wash brush. Paint the leaves positively and negatively. Use the underwash to express an occasional gesture by painting around it.

Building the Values
Cobalt Blue is an ideal glaze to darken areas in the lower front, as well as to push back some of the area behind the trunks. Use cobalt blue alone and mixed with Green Gold to darken the upper trunks. Look carefully at the gestures of the branches, as well as at the colors and leaf type.


Finishing Touches

The finishing touches include glazing with Cobalt Blue, adding more darks, and connecting the darks in interesting ways to encourage the eye to move around the painting. You can use small, repeating strokes to emphasize directionality and suggest movement. — Jan Hart