Let's look at green oil paint

Hard to believe, we are heading into Autumn and leaving the 40 shades of green behind us, till Spring arrives again, in all of her glory, next year. But for us Artists, all is not lost, as we can create millions of magical greens that will take us safely through the winter seasons.

In this week’s blog, we are looking at the Secondary Colour – Green, which we can make by mixing yellow and blue together or yellow and black. The Shade of Green achieved depends on the shade of yellow and blue or yellow and black used. The trick is to select shades of yellow and blue that have a bias towards green, which we will touch on below. For further colour mixing tips see our blog on Colour Mixing – 5 Top Tips.


Green, the colour of life, growth and the environment along with money, greed and wall street. It also has healing powers and is restful to the human eye. However, too much green can cause one to become lazy, slow, moody and depressed and too little green can cause fear of rejection or apathy. (Bourn, 2011) In Ancient Egypt, green symbolised regeneration and rebirth and in the Middle Ages only merchants, bankers, gentry and their families could wear green. (Wikipedia, 2021) *


shades of green


The following is NOT an EXHAUSTIVE list of the SHADES OF GREEN that are out there. However, I have endeavoured to list the main ones and I have also bolded the greens that are currently in my painting kit. (List is from K&M Evans Website)

Cadmium Green Olive Green
Chromium Oxide Green Permanent Green
Cobalt Green Phthalo Green
Emerald Green Radient Green
Phthalo Emerald Sap Green
Terre Verte Viridian
Green Gold
MICHAEL HARDING (extra to the list above)
Bright Green Lake Phthalo Green Lake
Cobalt Deep Green Phthalo Green Yellow
OLD HOLLAND (extra to the list above)
Green umber Green Earth
Perm Green Deep Indian Yellow – Green Lake Extra
Old Holland Yellow Green Old Holland Green Light
Sap Green Lake Extra Olive Green Dark
Old Holland Golden Green Old Holland Golden Green Deep
Hookers Green Lake Light Old Holland Yellow Brown
Scheveningen Green Deep Cadmium Green Deep
Cinnabar Green Light Cadmium Green Light
Viridian Green Light Viridian Green Deep
Perm Green Light Old Holland Bright Green
Old Holland Bright Green Scheveningen Green
Cinnabar Green Deep
WINSOR NEWTON – ARTIST (extra to the list above)
Windsor Emerald Windsor Green Phthalo
Chrome Green Deep Hue Cobalt Chromite Green
Prussian Green Windsor Green Phthalo
Windsor Green Yellows


The best combination for a BRIGHTER GREEN is to use a YELLOW and BLUE which have a tinge/lean or bias towards green. How you find this out is by squeezing out a blob of the following paints and checking which colour they lean more towards. For example: –

  • Cadmium Yellow Light (or Lemon) – more yellowy green in colour
  • Cadmium Yellow Medium – more red/orange in colour
  • Cadmium Yellow Deep – more redorange in colour
  • Ultramarine Blue – more violet/red in colour
  • Cerulean Blue – more green/blue in colour
  • Cobalt Blue – blue colour
  • Manganese Blue – more green/blue in colour

Now, combine/mix the various yellows with the blues as follows: –

  • If we take Cerulean or Manganese Blue and Cadmium Yellow Lemon which both lean towards Green then when we mix them both together the yellow and blue parts of the colours are cancelled out by each other, and we are left with a bright green as shown below:

mix green

  • If we take French Ultramarine Blue which leans towards Violet and has more Violet than Green when compared to the Manganese Blue (above) and we add this to Cadmium Yellow Medium which contains more Orange than Green unlike the Cadmium Lemon Yellow (above) you are left with a duller more olive green. This is because there is very little of the green bias in either the French Ultramarine Blue or the Cadmium Yellow Medium.

So, that’s the trick, you look at the colour bias to see which way the colour leans.

To, darken your greens add various shades of RED (the complement to Green), or yellow ochre, deep violets or umbers. To lighten, add hansa yellow, cadmium lemon and/or white.


tropical forest with monkeys

Henri Rousseau  (1844–1910)
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Art Book Exhibition Catalogue Rousseau Paris 1984

Mont Sainte Victoire

Paul Cezanne (1839 – 1906)
Private Collection

The Night Cafe

Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890)

In our next blog, in two weeks’ time, we will be looking at the colour Violet.

Over the next few months, we will also be gradually opening back up the studio for workshops – if you would like to be keep informed as to the timetable and workshops on offer feel free to subscribe to our waiting list.

Until then stay safe and keep painting.

Emily McCormack

* As always, I am not affiliated with any brands, stores, or persons I may or may not mention and your use of any of these products, links and the like are your own risk and it’s up to you to do your research/homework before you use them. This is just my opinion and experience.

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