Olive green is an elusive color. It's somewhat yellow, somewhat green, and somewhat brownish-gray. It's an essential color in watercolor painting, especially if you're painting realistic things like landscapes. It may be tempting to use a premixed olive green, but you can save money and deepen your understanding of color by mixing your own. Olive green may look difficult to replicate, but you can easily mix it with only three watercolors.
Things You'll Need
- Black watercolor pigment
- Yellow watercolor pigment
- Blue watercolor pigment
Assemble your materials. It's best to have all your paints in front of you before you start, so the colors won't dry while you're looking for another tube. Get a fresh container of water so the color won't be compromised. Make sure your brush is clean and clear of dried paint that might make the bristles stick together. Touch it to the bottom of the water container to open up the bristles. Find a clear space on your palette, free from runoff from other colors.
Make a puddle of water on your palette. Simply dip your brush in your water container and drip the water onto the palette. How much you use depends on how big of an area you want to cover, and how diluted you want your color to be. Use more water for a lighter hue; less water for a more vibrant color.
Start with yellow. Stroke your brush against the top of your dry pigment until it starts to dissolve, then bring the brush to your puddle of water and mix it in. Repeat this until you have the desired intensity. If you're using tube watercolors, squeeze some into the puddle and stir it up with the brush.
Add blue. Rinse your brush before you dip into the new pigment. This is where you can pick the hue of your olive green -- some are bluer, while others are more yellow. Which one you use depends on what you're painting. Try using one-quarter as much blue as yellow. You want a yellow-green and not a true green, because true green will end up forest green rather than olive. You can also mix more blue into the paint later if you want to add darker accents to your painting.
Add black. This is what gives olive green its ambiguous shade. You will want to add far less black than any of the other colors. Rinse your brush and start with just a few drops, then increase until you have the shade you want.
Tips & Warnings
- Try using warmer and cooler versions of yellow and blue.
- Don't mix too much paint at one time -- it will dry up before you can use it all, and you will have to add more water to make it moist again. This can dilute the color.
- Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images
What Colors Make Olive Green?
Olive green is a darker hue of the primary color green, but its rich earthy tone is only achieved by mixing the...
How to Mix Green Paint
Green is a secondary color that is created by mixing two primary colors--yellow and blue. Painters know that supplies cost money, and...
What Colors Go Well With Olive Green Paint?
Although it had fallen out of favor since the 1970s, olive green is making a comeback as a home decor color. It...
What Colors Match With Olive Green?
Olive green is a slightly yellowish green, usually characterized by a bit of a neutral shade. Neutral shades, those in the range...
Watercolor Painting: Deepening the Background Color
Blue, green and gray can help deepen the background of a painting. Lear about deepening backgrounds from a professional artist in this...
How to Draw a Hillside Using Aquarelle Watercolor Pencils
Learn how to draw a hillside using aquarelle pencils for your watercolor painting in this free video art lesson.
How to Mix Watercolor Paints
Mixing watercolor paints begins with high quality paints, and involves experimentation with different colors and types of paint, whether they be transparent...