Are greens really the most difficult hue to handle on your palette? With the following tips, you can produce better greens that are more natural looking and realistic.

Greens right out of the tube will look unnatural, harsh and will need to be neutralized a bit. You can bring down the chroma (saturation) of your green by adding its complement which is red or any reddish tone and in the process make it look more like what is in nature. This can also be accomplished by adding black which does not alter the color but only brings down its brightness (chroma).

When mixing greens with any combination of a blue and a yellow that you might have on your palette, you must neutralize the hue to bring down the saturation. The same applies when you are using hues directly from your tubes such as Phthalo Green, Viridian Green, Sap Green, Hookers Green, Chromium ofOxide or any paint that is labeled “green".

You can neutralize greens by adding any red (eg.: Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna or other reds) that you might have on your palette. By doing so, you will automatically neutralize your hue and bring it closer to the “olive notes” that you see in nature.

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Remember when using white to lighten your warm tones that it will cool, deaden and dull your warm hues.

In the illustration provided, the onion reads as white, but it has a hint of cool and warm color notes within its overall shape. If it was painted pure white, the object or highlight would dominate your painting way too much.

So, how can you stop making pink tomatoes? The key is when attempting to lighten warm colors like reds, oranges, etc., add yellow to start the lightening process. Yellow is very high on the value scale and will help elevate your color to a higher value. If you need to add more white to get the value even higher, then add just a touch of the warm base color you are working with back into the mix to compensate for the cooling action of white.

Pure white will move forward and dominate in your artwork, so only use pure white for the extreme bright highlights in your painting and use it to a minimum. It is safer to make any of your whites “almost white” by adding just a touch of color to add warmth to your highlights, mid-tones and darks.

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Updated: Aug 18, 2021

Mark Twain was onto something when he wrote this.

Many people struggle to make circular forms when sketching in their subject matter. Here I have illustrated a number of ways to deal with this problem. The center image illustrates an easy way to get more uniform round forms and is as simple as letting gravity do the work. By drawing your lines from top to bottom, left and right (A to B), you are putting less stress on our arm and hand. After all, it is easier to make a downward movement than an upward one and let the law of physics help you out.

It also helps to build your circle within a basic structure that gives you guidelines to work off of, such as square or hexagon shapes. It is much easier to make a box (straight lines) than a circle and will give you a form to work your circular magic within.

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