Saturday, May 18, 2019

Saguaro at Night Step-by-Step

Saguaro at Night, 6x6"
I'm getting better at taking progress photos of a painting as I paint it, and I thought I'd share another step-by-step with you here.

This is of a saguaro whose photo I took during a morning walk with my camera, right in my neighborhood!  Of course, I put a fun starry night sky in my painting.

Reference Photo
Here is the reference photo.  For the painting I cropped for a square composition.

Map the shadows
The first step I made for this painting was to map the shadows using mixes of Da Vinci Red Rose Deep and M. Graham Ultramarine Blue.

Paint the brownish areas near the spines
I used mixes of DS Goethite, DS New Gamboge, and MG Quinacridone Rust for the brownish areas of the saguaro along the spines.  I think this means this particular saguaro is an older one?

Paint the greens
I used mixes MG Azo Yellow and ultramarine for the greens of the saguaro flesh.  My technique was typically to paint the yellow-heavy mix on the outer edges, and drop in blue-heavy mix towards the more shadowy interiors.

Paint the spine holes
I mixed up some dark grey/near black (I think using DS Indanthrone Blue, Quin. Violet, and New Gamboge) and painted the spine holes and the scars.

Paint the sky
Satisfied with the saguaro for now, I painted in the sky, leaving a light area for the "Milky Way", and warm areas close to the horizon.  The paints I used for the sky are richly pigmented:  MG Ultramarine Blue, WN Winsor Violet, MG Quinacridone Violet, and WN Payne's Gray.

Spatter in the stars
I use Winsor Newton Permanent White gouache and an old 1/4" bristle brush to spatter in the stars.  The gouache is opaque enough for this purpose.  I used a tiny round brush to add more stars here and there.

Deepen the shadows on the saguaro, finished painting
Now that I have the dark value of the sky in the painting, I can more clearly see the values in the saguaro itself and noticed that I needed to darken the values in the inner folds of the saguaro.  I used more mixes of ultramarine and azo yellow, heavy in the ultramarine.

Then I declared it finished!

This painting is destined to be donated to the Scottsdale Artist's School to support the school.  They have a program where they accept 6x6" art from teachers and students, and sell this art for a very modest and affordable price.  The proceeds support the school, which is a small, independently-run school.

Monday, May 6, 2019

El Capitan Under a Starry Night Sky

El Cap Under the Stars, 7x10"
I guess I can't get enough of these starry night sky paintings!  I painted this one concurrently with the Delicate Arch painting in my previous post.  El Capitan in Yosemite is indeed a special and iconic piece of rock.

Reference Photo

I took this reference photo one morning.  I guess we were fortunate to get a camp site in the valley that year!  I liked the composition, enhancing the sheer vertical nature of the nose of El Capitan, framed by the trees.

Pencil Drawing on Watercolor Paper

I traced the photograph using a clear plexiglass sheet and a wet erase pen, then used a light table to transfer the drawing onto Arches cold press 140 lb watercolor paper.  I taped the paper onto a plexiglass sheet using blue painters tape.

Underpainting Wash on El Cap

I like to break the ice in many of my paintings by first doing an underpainting wash of warm yellow and rose, painted wet-into-wet.  I like the colorful rosy glow this technique ultimately creates.  I emphasize yellow where there will be more illumination, and rose in places destined to be in shadow.

Underpainting Wash on Trees

I also did an wash of yellows and reds in the trees.  Since most of the trees will be dark value, it's fine to have more rose.  I emphasized yellow on the tips of the trees that might catch more "backlight" from the sky glow.

Initial Shadow on El Cap

I could have gone either way at this point with the rock of El Cap, map the shadow or start dropping in some local color.  I mostly mapped the shadow but there is a bit of Quinacridone Rust in areas to start representing the local color.  My blue is Indanthrone Blue, but I could have easily chosen Ultramarine.  I love both but I cannot resist the richness of the Indanthrone Blue.

First Layers Local Color

I further developed the rock of El Cap by painting a bit more local color in the form of sienna and Q. Rust.  I also started mapping out the cracks and mottling on the rock face.  Also, I have a first layer of local color for the trees.  The right trees are evergreen and the left is a cottonwood.  For both I painted them wet-into-wet using Azo Green, Indanthrone Blue, with a bit of rose blended in here and there.  I made sure there was variation of both color and value in the trees.

Completed Painting

Well, I was not so good about continuing to take photos of all the intervening steps between the last photo and the finished painting.  But generally I:

1.  Further developed El Cap by dropping in more local color and shadow areas until I was satisfied.

2.  I painted the far ridge first with a rosy underpainting, then about three more washes to include local color, shadow, and cracks/crevices.

3.  A second darker layer on the trees, more intense mixture of Azo Green and Indanthrone Blue, careful to leave "holes" in the trees for the prior layer to come through and give an impression of light in the trees.

4.  Paint the starry sky using same process as demonstrated in my previous blog post for Delicate Arch.  The streak of the "Milky Way" is positioned as a design element to "point" to the star of this painting, El Capitan.

5.  I used my Rapidograph ink pen to outline all the edges of washes in the landscape features.

6.  I used a couple dots of white gouache to represent the headlamps of climbers camped out for the night on El Cap.  Can you find them?

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Delicate Arch Under a Starry Night Sky - Step-By-Step

Delicate Arch Under the Stars, 5x7"
I painted this watercolor of Delicate Arch under a starry night sky in preparation for teaching my "Skies In Watercolor" class at the Art Verve Academy This coming Saturday I will teach the session on how to do starry night skies.  When I first learned how to do these kinds of skies myself (thanks to a YouTube demo by Untamed Little Wolf), I fell in love with this way of treating the sky and transforming what would otherwise be an ordinary painting into something I felt was magical.  When I was a teenager first discovering the night sky after having moved from a city to the country, I grew so enamored with it I thought I wanted to be an astronomer!  (Watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos series on TV also provided further inspiration).  Alas I never became an astronomer, but now many years later I can channel my romance with the night sky into art!  I found it can even be done in watercolor (with the help of a little bit of white gouache).

I want to show you a step-by-step in how I created this little painting.

Materials Used:
- Paper:  Arches 140lb Cold Press watercolor paper
- Paints:  DS New Gamboge, DV Red Rose Deep, MG Quinacridone Rust, MG Ultramarine, MG Quinacridone Violet, WN Winsor Violet, and WN Paynes Grey, WN Permanent White Gouache
- Brushes:  Silver Black Velvet rounds 16 and 8, bristle brush
- Ink lines:  Rapidograph .30 w/ Rapidograph Ultradraw Black India ink

 The first step is to choose a subject to put under your starry night sky.  You have a choice of creating a silhouette image of landscape features like mountains or trees (like in Untamed Little Wolf's video, linked above), or use a reference photo from a photo taken in daylight and turn it into a night scene.  To do the silhouette is more in line with how our eyes, and most cameras, would actually sense the scene.  It's the nature of the limited dynamic range of our vision, and especially of cameras.  There is an element of realism in that approach.

But what if you had eyes that could see BOTH the stars and colorful nebula gas of the night sky AND had good enough night vision to see the landscape features in all the glory of color and light?  Maybe we could even see the "aura" of a place...  Wouldn't that be magical?  I think so, and that is why I've fallen in love with this approach!

Reference Photograph
Pencil Drawing
I have found that I really enjoy turning reference photos of interesting landscape subjects -- even if photographed under an ordinary blue or overcast sky -- into an imaginative and fanciful painting of a special place under a starry night sky.  In this case I chose Delicate Arch from a trip a few years ago.  We had hiked the 1.5 miles to watch the glow of the setting sun on the arch.  I traced the photograph to get the pencil lines onto the watercolor paper.  I like to tape my paper to a plexiglass sheet, in this case using blue painter's tape.

First and second wash
Since starry night skies use such dark and intense pigment, I find it best to paint (most of the) landscape features before painting the sky so I don't run the risk the sky bleeding into my landscape if my damp brush happens to touch the sky.  So my first washes were on the arch and the distant land ridges.  I like my first wash to be more of an underpainting of rose and warm yellow tones; I learned this trick from artist Jonathan Frank and I like how the underpainting creates a rosy glow to the landscape.  I apologize for forgetting to photograph after making the underpainting, but in the photo at left you can see remnants of the rose and gold tones.  On the arch, I didn't bother to stay within the lines.

After the underpainting dried, I did a second wash on the arch itself to lay down the lighter tones of the local color.  I did drop in darker tones (a bit of violet) for the areas destined to be deep in shadow.

Though I normally would further develop the landscape before painting the sky, I decided in this painting to paint the sky next.  As my up-coming class was focused on the sky, I wanted to make sure I dusted off my technique for the sky ASAP to be ready to teach it.

Wet the sky area with clear water
Drop in warm yellow and rose for the horizon

As we are working the sky wet-into-wet, the first step is to wet the sky area with clean water using a large brush.  From here on, we will work steady, dropping in various colors of paint, before the paper dries too much.  So be ready!  Mist your paints; we will be using the New Gamboge (or you can use raw sienna), Red Rose Deep, Ultramarine, Winsor Violet, Quinacridone Violet, and Payne's Grey.  The first colors to drop in are the warm yellow and rose at the horizon.  This suggests that there is enough of the setting sun below the horizon to still impart a glow.  And...I like how it adds more color to the sky.

Drop in ultramarine

We will be leaving some of the paper a bit white (from the left side of the arch diagonally up to the upper left corner of the painting) to simulate the Milky Way, so here in this image you can see that I drop ultramarine around this area, and spreading out above the horizon.  I am dropping in fairly dense paint, my brush is getting paint directly from my palette well and not a diluted pre-mixed puddle.  We want the sky to have enough dark value and vibrant color, so don't dilute your paints with water too much.

The next paint to drop in is the Winsor Violet.  You don't have to use Winsor Violet, any brand of dioxizine violot (PV23) will do.  I also like Daniel Smith's Carbazole Violet and M. Graham's version of it.  I forgot to photograph the step after the violet and before the Payne's Grey; I added the violet between the ultramarine and the yellow/rose at the horizon.

The next step is the Payne's Grey, and this paint is crucial for the dark sky.  And for this paint I won't try any other than Winsor Newton because it mixes well and is transparent.  It works great for me and I'm afraid to try anything else with the risk of getting something too sooty or opaque.  Notice I am dropping in the Payne's grey at the upper reaches of the sky, around the "Milky Way" and down to the horizon opposite the yellow/rose tones.  I am adding the Payne's over the existing ultramarine and violet, allowing them to mingle together and provide interestingly-colored darks.

 So the basic sky-work is laid, now time to add more color while the surface is still wet:

Deepen the rose at the horizon

Drop in ultramarine bordering the "Milky Way"
Drop in violet bordering the "Milky Way"
Drop in Q. Violet bordering "Milky Way",
and above horizon
Okay, whew, take a breather and let this dry!  I think we have enough value and color in the sky.  We'll know when it dries.  If we don't, we can always go in with a second layer after the first layer dries and deepen color and value if needed.

I love the next stage -- spattering in the stars.  I used to use acrylic white ink because it makes nice opaque stars over the dark sky, but I found it difficult to fully wash out of my bristle brush so I switched to white gouache.  The stars are still opaque enough and the cleanup is easier.  You can use an old toothbrush to spatter on the paint, but I have an old favorite bristle brush (an oil painter's brush) that makes spatters just the way I like them.  I get a nice thick consistency of gouache and water and load up my bristle brush.  I practice my spatters first on a scrap paper (that has color, so you can see your spatters).  I cover up my landscape features with tissue paper so I don't spatter white gouache onto my arch too!

Spattering in the stars

My gosh, it's full of stars

So with the sky complete, it's time to work on the landscape, developing the shadows and midtones (and local color in the case of the distant ridges!).  Most of the local color is using Quinacridone rust, mixed with rose, violet, blue, and even a bit of Azo Green.

Landscape features painted
Finished painting
When I am satisfied with the watercolor painting, I ink all the outlines with my Rapidograph pen, filled with permanent black ink.  As was the case this time, my pen had old ink in it so I had to completely clean it, using bulb syringe fitting, Koh-i-noor cleaning solution, and my ultrasonic cleaner.  These pens are not easy, but I do love them for this purpose.

Little Colorado River


Turks and Caicos

Rainbow Bridge

Saguaro Desert (ornaments)

Locust Point, Grand Canyon

Tumamoc Hill View towards Tucson

Monday, September 25, 2017

Rose Up Close

Rose Up Close, 9x12" Arches CP
In spring of 2017 I began to instruct sketching and watercolor classes at the Art Verve Academy, so when they invited me to help instruct a group of art students during an art excursion in Italy, I just could not pass that opportunity up!  I have been back only a week and I am still buzzing with inspiration for painting!

Here is one example of my latest inspired works, which is a watercolor of a rose blooming at the villa in Tuscany where we were staying.  I must say, I am really pleased with how the painting turned out!  I'd like to share with you a little of my process in creating this painting.

The first step was noticing the beautiful rose blooming in one of the planters at the villa after a few days of rain, and grabbing a couple photographs of it with my phone.  I have a new phone, a Samsung Galaxy S7, which has a really good camera on it.  Here is the photo that I liked best:

Rose blooming at our Italian villa
The light was flat due to clouds, but this allowed the rich color variations of the rose petals to be captured by the camera.

Now I could have made a painting with a composition the same as how I photographed it, a lone rose standing up out of the planter, but I didn't find the composition exciting.  The best part of the rose to me is the wonderful patterns, colors, and textures of the interior of the rose, so I decided to crop my image to compose such that the center of the flower is clearly the focus.  I love floral paintings that are more like macro photographs for this reason.

To crop the image I used the Android app called Photo Editor by i Share.  This particular app allows you to select the aspect ratio you want to crop, a very important feature for planning a painting.  In my case I wanted to do the painting on a 9x12" Arches Cold Press block I have, so I cropped the photo to my liking using the 3:4 ratio in the app.  I wanted the center of the flower to be slightly off-set from the center of the frame, and to include a bit of the leaves at the bottom.  Here is the cropped photo I decided on:

Cropped photo
Next is to start making the drawing.  I had a few options.  One is to print out the reference photo to correct 9x12" size and trace it (a bit of a feat since my paper is only 8 1/2 x 11").  Another is to make the drawing on a separate piece of drawing paper then transfer the finished drawing onto the watercolor block using Saral Transfer Paper.  I could use the grid method to improve the accuracy of my drawing that way, drawing grid lines onto the drawing paper and viewing the reference photo using an app that super-imposes grid lines.

I certainly use one of these two methods when the accuracy of the drawing is crucial, such as when I do animal portraits.  But since this is a flower full of organic shapes, accuracy is not quite as critical, so I decided to just "go for it" and draw lightly with pencil directly onto my watercolor block.  I did actually use a minimal form of the grid method.  Using an Android app for gridding called Drawing Grid Maker by Vavatch Software, I viewed the reference photo as a 2x2 grid.  Basically a horizontal and vertical centerline was imposed onto the photo.  On my watercolor paper, I made tiny tick marks in pencil at the center locations, top and bottom, and each side, as well as a tiny cross-hairs in the center of the paper.  I'd reference these tick marks as I drew my shapes compared to the gridded reference photo.  I made sure to make very light lines, and any errors I erased gently using a kneaded eraser.

With my drawing penciled in on the watercolor paper, next was to consider what paints I wanted to use.  I like to try new things, so I first explored in my color journal the primary triad of DaVinci Hansa Yellow Deep, Daniel Smith Quinacridone Coral, and M. Graham Phthalo Blue Red Shade.  I never use these colors and wondered if it was an opportunity to use them.  Once I made a color mixing chart, however, I was not pleased with the yellow and coral mixes, they were too neurtralized and not bright enough.  So I decided on my standby soft-color triad of Winsor Yellow, Quinacridone Rose, and Cobalt Blue.  I could have used my Daniel Smith Hansa Yellow Medium or M. Graham Azo Yellow.  To me, all those yellows are about the same, and are towards the "cool" end of the spectrum.  Cobalt Blue is my favorite blue for "gentle" purples.

I was feeling a little uncertain about what technique I should actually paint, considering first doing a loose 3-color under-painting wet-into-wet.  I decided against that idea because I wanted there to be white edges on the flower petals.  So I decided to paint each petal separately right from the start onto white paper.

Brushes used for the painting
Using techniques described by Birgit O'Connor (one of my favorite floral watercolorists) in a YouTube webinar on the Artists Network YouTube channel, I used my natural hair brush (DaVinci Cosmotop Mix B #12) to paint clear water to almost the edge of the petal, then paint in color to the edge of the petal using my blended-hair brush (Silver Black Velvet #10).  When needed, I softened the edges of color using the damp natural hair brush.  Birgit O'Connor says that the nature of the hairs on the brush make a big difference and are best used for particular functions in painting.  Natural hair brushes (made of sable and squirrel) are great for holding water and softening edges; blended hair brushes (made of a combination of natural hairs and synthetic) offer better control of paint.  She loves her natural hair brushes but almost never actually paints with them.  I can agree with that, I've always been frustrated when I paint with my natural hair brushes and tend to prefer my Silver Black Velvet brushes to paint with, which are a blend of synthetic and squirrel hair.

I highly recommend you view Birgit O'Connor's webinar, it's very informative.

I had puddles of yellow, rose, and blue paint on my palette and loaded my brush with them as I studied the reference photo for what colors are needed for each petal.  Brighter peaches were usually a combination of only yellow and rose, deeper reds usually a combination of all three.  I painted petal by petal, carefully noting the values in my reference photo.  I mixed a little on the palette, but in general I endeavor to let colors mix on the paper.  Once all the petals were painted, I did a lot of squinting at both my painting and the reference photo to ensure the values were correct.  I ended up deepening the color in several areas in further layers.

I painted the leaves in a couple of layers of yellow and cobalt mixtures (with touches of rose) and painted the background using the deep Indanthrone Blue mixed with Quinacridone Rose.  Once that was dry, I decided the leaves competed with the flower so I glazed over all of the leaves and background areas with another layer of Indanthrone Blue and Quinacridone Rose, to "push" the leaves back and bring the flower forward.  Painting complete!

I apologize for not photographing each stage of the painting to illustrate the process, I shall endeavor to do that next time!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Step-By-Step Painting Grand Canyon

Tapeats Amphitheater, Grand Canyon
I want to first let you know that after many years of procrastinating, I finally made several of my favorite art pieces available through Fine Art America!  Just yesterday I finally just got it done!  I don't know why I waited so long...there is nothing to lose, right?

Here is the link to the available art:  Stacy Egan Artwork FAA.

One of the pieces available for printing is this one I just completed of Tapeats Amphitheater in the Grand Canyon.  We were camped at a remote location along the north rim, Locust Point, and I only had to walk a few feet to the overlook to get this view.  I set up my camp chair and relaxed as I drew the lines and curves of the cliffs, plateaus and horizon before me.  It is truly a vast and magical place.  It took me maybe 45 minutes to an hour to complete the ink sketch in my Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook:
Locust Point view, Grand Canyon
After concentrating for so long, I decided I needed to rest and chose not to watercolor over the sketch.  And actually, I quite liked the ink drawing as is.

When I got home, I decided to trace the lines onto watercolor paper.  I first took a piece of tracing paper and placed it over the open pages of my sketchbook and traced the lines in ink.  I then used a light table to place the traced drawing under an 8x10" piece of watercolor paper and traced the lines lightly in pencil.  I then tape the painting onto a plexiglass board with blue painters tape.  Ready to start painting!

First was to paint the underpainting.  I learned this technique from studying Jonathan Frank's work (he describes his process here), and I have since been doing this awhile because I really like the gold and rosy glow that shows through after I paint on the local color.  Here is the stage of the painting after applying the underpainting of New Gamboge and Quinacridone Rose using a wet-into-wet technique:
Underpainting complete
Next I blocked out the general shadow shapes using mixes of Indanthrone Blue and Quinacridone Rose.  These represent mainly the cliff faces of the canyons below.  Also, I was ready to start painting the sky.  Ever since I learned a technique from Untamed Little Wolf for creating a starry night sky (YouTube demonstration video here) I am just hooked on creating imagined night skies in my landscape paintings.  When I was a teenager I was so entranced by our starry universe I started my university life as an Astronomy major.  That turned into a Physics degree, but that is another story.  Anyway, I am always awestruck by the night sky and how amazing the vastness and beauty of the universe is. So I created a starry night sky for this painting (though I had yet to create the stars at this stage):
Main shadows blocked in, night sky with nebula added
Next was time to add the stars to the night sky, and go to town on the local color.  To create the stars, I used white acrylic ink and a bristle brush.  I covered the landscape part of my painting with scrap paper and spattered on the white ink.  It's actually quite amazing to see the transformation as you spatter.  Next was to paint all the local color in the trees, plateaus, cliffs and distant hills.  Once I got going on this I didn't stop to make any intermediate photos, I just kept going, working different areas of the painting while others dried.  I also accentuated more shadow shapes:
Stars added, local color and trees painted in, shadows accentuated
At this point the painting was nearly done.  I let it sit for awhile propped up on my desk to look at occasionally, evaluate what needed doing yet.  As many artists say, part of it is knowing when to stop.  When I was satisfied with the watercolor, it was time to draw in the ink lines.  I also leaned this technique from Jonathan Frank and I am always amazed at how well it defines the edges in a watercolor painting.  I feel it is the finishing touch that really solidifies a painting, though it also adds a bit of surreal effect as well.  The black lines always accentuate the vibrant color I so love, almost like with stained glass.  I filled up my 0.30mm Rapidograph technical pen with black ink and began tracing the main outlines as well as minor outlines of small shapes within each feature.  It's a bit of a process but actually quite meditative.

As I worked on this painting I realized that it would be a perfect one to send to my friend Tom Martin in Flagstaff.  He is extremely experienced and knowledgeable about all things Grand Canyon, and he gave my husband so many hours of help as he planned his through-hike of the Grand Canyon along the river this year.  I wanted to give him a tangible "thank you" for all he's done for my husband and the Grand Canyon itself.  So I sent it to him in a black mat!

I hope you find this little step-by-step tutorial helpful for your own artistic endeavors!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Explorations In My Color Journal

Two-color Mixing Chart in my Color Journal
I keep a Color Journal (a 9x12" Aquabee Superdeluxe sketchbook) for when I want to explore the mixing capabilities of my paints. Yesterday I cleaned up my little black portable palette and reevaluated what paints to keep in it. A great way to understand the paints in your palette is to make a color chart.
This is a chart of two-paint mixes and serves as a quick reference for finding a way to make the colors you may be after in your painting. The black diagonal line through the pure single-paint colors is useful for telling you about the transparency of your paint. If you can see color over your black line, the paint is more opaque.
Upper right of the diagonal line are two-paint mixes that are more saturated than the comparable two-paint mixes lower left of the diagonal line. The lighter-valued mixes contain more water.
Charts like this do not tell the whole story of your paints and mixes, but are a great start. The next step would be to do a series of paint swatches that show different ratios of one paint mixed with another. You start with a pure puddle of one paint, mix in a tiny bit of the second paint, make a swatch, mix in a bit more of the second paint, paint a swatch...and continue until you have an almost pure version of the second paint. I will show an example set later in this post.
This palette is also known as a "Split Primary Palette" because as a baseline, I have a "warm" and "cool" version of each primary color. (For those who love CYM, those colors are here too in Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Rose, and Phthalo Blue Green Shade). A warm yellow, for example, is a yellow that leans towards red; a cool yellow leans towards blue. A warm red leans towards yellow, a cool red leans towards blue. A warm blue leans towards red, a cool blue leans towards yellow. In this palette my split primaries are: Hansa Yellow Medium (cool), New Gamboge (warm), Transparent Pyrrol Orange (warm), Quinacridone Rose (cool), Ultramarine (warm), Phthalo Blue Green Shade (cool).
Why have a warm and cool version of each primary? Because they allow you to mix either bright or muted versions of secondary colors (orange, violet, green). Mixing a cool yellow with a cool blue will yield a bright green; mixing a warm yellow with a warm blue will yield a more muted green. And so on.
While you can technically mix what you need from just these colors, I always include other colors for mixing convenience. Two mixing powerhouses are Burnt Sienna and Phthalo Green. When painting in nature, or even on the street, what is the most common colors one encounters? Yes, that's right, browns and greens! Well, when you need browns and greens, these two paints are a quick way to get what you need, mixed with any of your primaries. A standby for soft grays approaching faded blacks is the classic mix of Burnt Sienna plus Ultramarine. Additinally, I can get a deep purplish black with a saturated mixture of Phthalo Green plus Quinacridone Rose.
My other paint choices are also from convenience. Monte Amiata Natural Sienna is a transparent version of raw sienna, and is handy as a base for human skin and desert soil. Cobalt Blue, mixed with Quinacridone Rose, makes nice soft shadow purples, and I also like to use it for the lower portions of a blue sky. It's an expensive pigment, so I don't necessarily advise those starting out to purchase it. Finally, I regard Cobalt Teal Blue as a temporary paint to have in my palette, in anticipation of our Caribbean vacation coming up next month. It's a great color for the waters of the Caribbean near shore. I've also seen it used well for the patina for copper rust.

Graduated Color Mixing Chart
Here is a page in my color journal I just completed. My goal was to explore how to get various gradations of green when mixing two colors. Each row is a unique pairing of two paints.
I paired up my 2 yellow paints with my Phthalo Green and 3 of my most-used blue paints, yielding 8 combinations. I then paired up my Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (my earth yellow) with Phthalo Green and my most greenish blue (Phthalo Blue Green Shade). I then did the same with my Burnt Sienna.
For each row I started with a puddle of the yellow paint first, then gradually added more and more of the green or blue to my puddle, making a swatch in my color journal each time.
As I mentioned above, you can expect to get very bright greens when pairing up a cool yellow (Hansa Yellow Medium) with a cool blue (Phthalo Blue Green Shade), and indeed the color chart bore that out for me. For the most vibrant neon lime green, I can see this is achieved by pairing Hansa Yellow Medium with Phthalo Green Blue Shade.
If I want a more muted or duller green, I do well to pair a cool yellow (Hansa Yellow Medium) with a warm blue (Ultramarine)...or pair a warm yellow (New Gamboge) with a cool blue (Phthalo Green Blue Shade).
For an even more muted green, one can pair a warm yellow (New Gamboge) with a warm blue (Ultramarine). This is actually quite a dull combination therefore I don't often use it.
M. A. Natural Sienna and Burnt Sienna are considered "Earth" colors because they are earthy versions of yellow and orange, respectively. As a result, any greens you produce with these paints can look quite earthy and natural. I love to use the sienna with Phthalo Green for sagebrush-like greens, and for deep forest or olive greens I like the Burnt Sienna plus Phthalo Green mixture.
The greens from M. A. Natural Sienna and Phthalo Blue Green Shade can also be quite nice and natural-looking. But this chart shows me that when I combine Burnt Sienna with Phthalo Blue Green Shade I don't get very much green, but rather a greenish brown.
Note that Phthalo Green and Blue are quite staining and very powerful and dominant in mixtures. It takes a careful hand to only add a tiny bit of these colors in mixture...a little goes a long way!