It's Not That Easy Being Green
What the heck is she doing now, you might ask? Well, it's spring, and in spring my thoughts turn to green because our Midwestern world begins to look green again. That's a photo of my GREENS chart at the top of the page. Why do I have a "GREENS" chart? Well, here's the story.
A few years ago, I asked my friend and amazing artist Jeannie McLeish if she would let me set up a plein air session for anyone who wanted to join us. I'm not a plein air painter, but Jeannie is an expert, and so we picked a date and a location, and I inquired if anyone wanted to join us, and several people did, so we headed to a lovely park (and another time to the lavender gardens in Mooresville), and Jeannie shared her wisdom and advice about how to paint watercolors outdoors. Thankfully, the day was sunny, and Jeannie began to share suggestions about capturing the light and making painting decisions about light, because the light moves when we paint outdoors. Then she began to talk about the color green.
It was only after I started painting that I became aware of how many colors of green exist in the landscape. Jeannie told me that, in her opinion, using greens badly can ruin a painting. She suggested to all of us that we choose a green that we personally like. I know a lot of people don't like Sap Green, but I do, so that's the green I chose for myself. Then she told us to mix the green we chose with other colors on our palette and paint a swatch of each color on watercolor paper and label the colors. What is in the photo above is my "Green Chart," and I use it all the time. You could also do a chart with any other color, but, at least for me, the greens are the most problematic. If you look carefully, you can read the colors in the swatches.
After all, Kermit the Frog is the one who said it best:
"It's not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that
It's not easy being green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky
But green's the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean, or important
Like a mountain, or tall like a tree
When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful
And I think it's what I want to be."
But that's just my opinion. And Kermit's, of course.