The Key To Color: A New Art Lesson on Using Green

It’s funny how easy it is to take color for granted. Living in the midwestern United States, my view outside is full of blue skies, firey sunsets, green trees and grass, and a rainbow of flowers in spring and summer. But all that changes come fall, when life begins to go dormant. The sky fades to a near constant cloudy gray, plants fade to a dull brown, and then snow blankets the landscape. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful–at first. But after a few months without color, I begin to miss it. So a few weeks ago, I packed my bags and went to Florida. One of the best parts of the trip was the feeling of summer. I just wanted to lie down and put my face in the green grass, but I knew that would look weird. I refrained.

Using the color green in mixed-media art
Above and below: Mixed-media art by Gina Lee Kim

How fitting that Gina Lee Kim’s newest Art Lesson is all about green. Spring is officially here, and life will begin to burst into color again, seemingly overnight. Here’s what Gina has to say about this vital color and how to make the most of it in your mixed-media art.

How to paint birch trees


“Green is the most prevalent color in nature,” Gina says. “From a color-psychology perspective, green is an emotionally positive, nurturing color. It’s no wonder that shades of green are used in spas to evoke calm and relaxation. To capture the most natural shades of green, many watercolorists will mix their own green from yellow and blue paint. I think one shouldn’t be afraid to use ready-made, convenient tube watercolors.

“If I use green (such as permanent green or viridian) straight out of the tube, I use it sparingly and tone it down a bit with a neutral yellow (like quinacridone gold), otherwise it would be too bright and unnatural in a painting. Try not to use one single hue of green for an entire composition. Varying your approach and using many different greens is key–whether you blend your own greens or use tube colors.

“In this lesson we will learn how to paint trees, specifically birch trees. With their characteristic bark and leaves, they’re a beautiful choice for any landscape painting. We will add a whimsical bunting to the branches as a way to celebrate the color green!”

Don’t you love it? Download the Art Lesson here for only $3.99 and get more instruction from Gina, including an exclusive video showing her working with the color in her mixed-media art. Next month, Gina will work with yellow, so stay tuned for more colorful inspiration!

Ready for spring,


Blog, Mixed-Media Painting Techniques, Mixed-Media Techniques


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