The Rub of the Green

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Get the rub of the green (for luck)! For a limited time, shop for green artist oils and save 10% off the regular price.*

Thomas Cole, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow

Thomas Cole (1801–1848), View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow, 1836, oil on canvas, Height: 130.8 cm (51.4 in); Width: 193 cm (75.9 in), Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art

What were common green artists’ colors in the 19th century?

In the lists of artists' colors will be found a fine grade of Paris green, branded as a rule emerald green or Schweinfurt green, while oxide of chromium green will be found under this name or emeraude green, sometimes also labeled Guignet's green, while green earth is branded terre verte or Verona green, also sap green and ultramarine green. Mountain green (malachite) is used very seldom by artists for oil painting. Green cinnabar consists of various mixtures of Prussian blue with zinc yellow or strontium or Guignet's green with a very small portion of strontium or barium yellow. There is very little call for greens in distemper in this country, although some color grinders list bronze green, emerald green, chrome green, terre verte or Verona green, ultramarine green, and verte emeraude (oxide of chromium green).

From Paint Making and Color Grinding by Charles L. Uebele in 1906.

Chromium Oxide Green

A consistent green oil color beloved for its high quality, cleanliness, and good drying properties. Chromium Green is lightfast and possesses excellent compatibility with all pigments.

Virgil Elliot on chromium oxide green in oil painting

Rublev Colours Chromium Oxide Green is a staple on my palette for its usefulness in flesh tone mixtures and, of course, in landscapes; in fact, anywhere where greens are needed. In flesh tone mixtures, it can be used in small amounts to reduce the redness of Mars brown or other colors that lean toward red. Mixed with burnt sienna in the right proportions, it makes a darker, more opaque version of raw sienna in one of the strings of yellowish flesh tones on my portrait palette. In mixtures with burnt sienna in different proportions, it finds many uses in landscape painting and in landscape backgrounds in portraits and figure paintings, et cetera. Chromium oxide green is opaque. In my work, I play opaque against transparent to exploit the respective optical effects created by each to enhance the illusion of three-dimensional depth, so it’s important to me to have opaque and transparent versions of the colors I intend to use in a given painting. Chromium oxide green is also reliable regarding lightfastness, confirmed by my own testing and that of others.


Save 10% on Green Artists’ Oils

* Save 10% off the regular price of green artists' oil colors until March 23, 2022. Enter the discount code SAVEGREEN on the shopping cart or checkout page to receive the discount.


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