Painting Greens in the Summer Landscape

Summer is a lovely time of the year to be out sketching and painting in the countryside and it is hard to beat sitting beside a babbling brook with your picnic and at the same time painting the water sparkling and dancing in the sunlight. However, when confronted with so much greenery in a profusion of varied greens many artists find it quite overwhelming.

This small watercolour of a Derbyshire hay meadow is featured in my article on painting summer landscapes in the current issue (August) of Leisure Painter magazine which covers the three different approaches to tackling greens as well as mixing your greens. Often, though, not everything we see as being green is actually that colour. Grass-heads are often a different colour to their stems and you see the effect of a mass of warm-coloured grass-tops in the painting above in the horizontal band just below the cottage. In the tree shadow areas and much of the foreground detail the darks have been created with a mixture of French ultramarine plus either burnt umber or raw umber, not green.

Try not to have too many different greens in your composition: if you attempt to emulate every green you see before you the painting will become too disparate and messy. Bring more blues and greys into the more distant green areas, as this will not only relieve the overwhelming sight of so much green, but will also suggest a greater sense of distance and space.

There is much more on the subject in the article, and you will also find further advice on the subject in my DVD Painting Summer Landscapes, produced by APV Films, and available from my website

For something completely different see the Forthcoming Events page on this blog for my landscape paintings at the Welsh National Eisteddfod, and mining paintings at Corner House Gallery. Painting coal mines is the perfect antidote to those summer greens, of course!

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