Different Types of the Color Green


Green comes in many shades -- it's a pervasive color found in nature, in all hues. Whether you're painting a landscape, still life or something abstract, the variety of green pigments is board, from the cooler blue-green shades to the warmer ones on the yellow-green part of the color wheel. There are also different densities of pigment and color, so you can choose the right one for opaque applications or thinner applications such as glazing.

Phthalo Green

  • Phthalo green is a synthetic pigment that is inexpensive and commonly found on the artist's palette. It comes in somewhat different shades, depending on the paint line. Out of the tube it is a deep, dark green, but it is actually a comparatively translucent paint. Generally, phthalo green is a cooler, blue-green hue, but it's also available in a more down-the-middle emerald shade, which makes it a versatile color.


  • Viridian is a gorgeous, traditional pigment that isn't as rich as phthalo green. It's almost transparent when applied thinly, and is a popular for glazes. A cool shade, it can be mixed with white for shades that are close to hues found in nature.

Sap Green

  • Sap green was once made from berries, which becomes a very unstable pigment. Today, it's generally made with a mix of synthetic pigments. It has a slight neutral cast, so it's appropriate for landscape painting, where very electric colors would look out of place.

Cadmium Green

  • Cadmium green is a yellowish green that, like other cadmium colors, is among the most opaque. It is a warm green, and has a bit of an unnatural chartreuse shade, despite that it's made from a mineral. It's most useful mixed with other yellows and greens to make those shades and colors more complex and opaque.

Oxide of Chromium

  • Oxide of chromium green is light in color, has good opacity and is very lightfast -- meaning it's unlikely to break down over time due to exposure to light. It's a distinctive landscape color on its own and blends well with other greens, yellows and earth tones to produce convincing, natural landscape colors.

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