I love, love to paint outdoors in the summer here in Oregon. There is one problem; so much GREEN! It can get downright boring. So let’s get a deeper view into greens and see if we can make some sense of them and make them a bit more exciting. I love my kale too, so let’s go into my garden for great examples of green.

Beforehand, we need to look back at the color wheel and think of hue, value and intensity, the three aspects of color. First hue. Remember that color temperature is embedded in hue. We can easily see that when we look at the color wheel and see greens that are leaning to either yellow or blue. The ones leaning towards blue are said to be cooler, the ones leaning towards yellow are said to be warmer.

Let’s add in direction of light. Look at this photo of my kale that is back lit with the sun shining through the leaves, literally making them glow. The warm sunlight streaming through is making that green warm and also very saturated or intense. That same kale shot from the other angle takes on a cooler hue as it’s taking on more reflection from the blue sky.


That same kale shot in shadow takes on a cooler hue as it’s taking on more reflection from the blue sky. Not only are the greens cooler, but they are less intense or grayer. Looks at how it almost has a purple cast to it!


Next lets take a look at the kale in warm morning light from in front. Here, it’s warmer than the shot in shadow, but a lot less intense color than the backlit shot. What’s happening here is a mix of sunlight (warm) and skylight (cool) that is influencing the greens.


So what does all this good stuff mean other than I’m eating healthy? We need to always go back to the three aspects of color when choosing or mixing color, hue, value, saturation. We need to compare, compare + compare. And take into consideration what the quality of light that is pervading our subject is.

With Warmest Regards,

Painting Minilessons
with Marla Baggetta

These “mini-lessons” grew out of my blog. I love sharing my experience behind the easel, so these are free. I write a new one every two or three weeks, so please feel free to share with artist friends.

​These lessons are mostly written text with graphics…short but useful tidbits from the foundations of painting that touch on subjects such as aerial perspective, simultaneous contrast or using negative spaces. I guide you through different aspects of painting and art that will get you comfortable with using pastels. You’ll gain confidence to attempt work that you might have otherwise been timid about.

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