Skip to Content

What color makes green paint?

What color makes green paint?

Green is a secondary color made by mixing two primary colors – blue and yellow. So to make green paint, you need to mix a blue pigment with a yellow pigment. The specific shades of blue and yellow used will determine the exact shade of green that results. Typically, phthalo or Prussian blue is mixed with cadmium or lemon yellow to produce a vibrant green.

Primary Colors

The primary colors in painting are red, blue, and yellow. These are called primary colors because they cannot be created by mixing other colors but are used as the building blocks to create all other colors.

Primary Color Pigments Used
Red Cadmium red, vermillion, naphthol red
Blue Ultramarine blue, phthalo blue, Prussian blue
Yellow Cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, Hansa yellow

The primary color theory states that all other colors can be created by mixing the primary colors in different combinations and proportions.

Secondary Colors

When two primary colors are mixed together, they make secondary colors. The three secondary colors are green, orange, and purple.

Secondary Color Made By Mixing
Green Blue + Yellow
Orange Red + Yellow
Purple Blue + Red

So green is a secondary color formed by mixing blue and yellow pigments. The combination of blue and yellow primary paints makes the color green.

Making Green Paint

To make green paint, you need to select a blue and a yellow from your palette. Here are some common pigment combinations used to make different shades of green:

Blue Yellow Resulting Green
Phthalo blue Cadmium yellow Vivid green
Ultramarine blue Lemon yellow Grassy green
Prussian blue Hansa yellow Olive green

Here are some tips for mixing green paint:

– Use a phthalo or Prussian blue for bright greens. Ultramarine blue will make more muted, greyish greens.

– Combine a warm yellow like cadmium or lemon yellow with the blue for vibrant greens. Cooler yellows like Hansa will make more muted olive greens.

– Use more yellow for lighter, brighter greens. Use more blue for darker forest and emerald greens.

– Add a small amount of red to make a yellow-green color. Add a touch of purple to create a blue-green teal color.

– Use white paint to make any shade of green lighter or more pastel. Adding black will create darker shades.

Different Shades of Green

Green is actually a very complex color with many possible variations. Here are some common types of green paint:

  • Viridian – A very deep bluish green made with phthalo blue and cadmium yellow.
  • Sap green – A yellow-green reminiscent of new saplings and vegetation.
  • Hooker’s green – A dark green mixing Prussian blue and gamboge yellow.
  • Emerald green – A vivid light green made with phthalo blue and lemon yellow.
  • Apple green – A bright yellow-green named for green apples.
  • Forest green – A very dark green mixing Prussian blue and cadmium yellow.
  • Lime green – An electric, intense green from mixing lemon yellow and phthalo blue.
  • Mint green – A cool, pale green made with a touch of phthalo blue and white.
  • Olive green – An earthy, muted green mixing ultramarine and Hansa yellow.
  • Jade green – A light, warm, blue-green named after jade stone.

The angles of the color wheel where green resides between yellow and blue are also described using unique names:

  • Yellow-green – More yellow than blue, moving toward chartreuse.
  • Blue-green – More blue than yellow, moving toward teal.
  • Green – Balanced mix of equal parts blue and yellow.

So in summary, the specific combination of a blue pigment and a yellow pigment creates different hues of green paint. The variety of green shades offers limitless options to artists mixing paint.

Mixing Green Paint

Follow these steps to easily mix green paint:

  1. Select one blue pigment (phthalo, Prussian, ultramarine)
  2. Choose one yellow pigment (cadmium, lemon, Hansa)
  3. Squeeze a small amount of each color onto your palette.
  4. Use a painting knife to mix the blue and yellow together thoroughly.
  5. Adjust the proportions of each color to create your desired green shade.
  6. Add white to lighten the green, black to darken it.
  7. Test your mixed green paint on a sample canvas or paper.
  8. Repeat mixing until you achieve your perfect green!

Some basic mixing ratios to try for different greens:

  • 4 parts yellow, 1 part blue – lighter greens
  • 2 parts yellow, 1 part blue – balanced greens
  • 1 part yellow, 2 parts blue – darker greens

Don’t be afraid to experiment – mixing paints is the best way to learn color theory! Keep a record of your color mixes to reproduce your favorite greens.

Using Green in Painting

Green has many applications and uses in painting and art:

  • Landscape painting – greens are essential for foliage, trees, plants
  • Nature painting – shades of green depict lawns, meadows, forests accurately
  • Realism – green adds natural, realistic elements to a painting
  • Impressionism – capture the essence of grass, leaves with quick dabs of green
  • Abstract – green conveys renewal, life, regeneration as a color
  • Complementary color – green is opposite red on the color wheel, creating contrast

Some tips for working with green in your artwork:

  • Observe greens in nature closely. No two leaves are the same exact green!
  • Layer shades of green for depth and realism in landscapes.
  • Mix green with its complement red for grayed down, earthy hues.
  • Add touches of green to suggest foliage in impressionist florals.
  • Contrast a dark green background with bright flowers to make them pop.

Green is endlessly versatile – try using it in your next work of art!


In summary, green paint is made by mixing blue and yellow paint. The combination of pigments from the primary colors blue and yellow result in the secondary color green. Phthalo or Prussian blue mixed with cadmium or lemon yellow generally makes the most vibrant greens. Adjusting the proportions and shades of the blue and yellow allows artists to mix a wide range of green hues for their palettes. From light mint greens to deep forest greens, the possibilities are endless. Green is an important color for depicting nature and landscapes in painting. Understanding how to mix the perfect green allows endless creativity and expresses the color wheel relationship between the primaries. So the next time you need green paint, reach for your favorite blue and yellow to mix a gorgeous custom green!