Studies in Green

Studies in Green

There were several reasons that prompted me to start this sketchbook in green. When Gail Harker was here, she suggested that I should do more studies in green and then see if the greens that I saw in nature were what I had produced on paper. Also, this year for our challenges we are working on color so I thought that fit in well. And lastly, I have always loved green. So how many different greens are there?

Green Pages

I started with Procion dyes in three yellows, two blues and black. I decided to do a variety of values from light to dark in each color. I had a 60 page sketchbook (4″ x 6″) and found that I ran out of pages before I ran out of shades of green.

Green Pages

Some of the greens are very yellow-green and some are much closer to blue-green.

Green Sketchbook

I didn’t do solid colors but generally ended up mixing two or more greens together on a page. And I didn’t keep track of what dye I used on what page. I just decided to play with green.

Green Sketchbook

Since I was trying to replicate natural colors, I neutralized most of the greens.

Blue Green Page

Then I started collecting a variety of leaves on my walks in the mornings.

Pine Moss Page

I matched the natural leaf with the painted pages. This is pine moss and is really bright ‘acid’ green when you see it on the trees.

Large Leaf

One of the problems that I am having is that the ‘live’ leaf color is not the same as the preserved leaf color. I used matte medium to preserve the leaves but they all seem to really dull down and turn brown. So they don’t match the page when they are completely dried.

Pages with Leaves

So I have decided to try a different preserving method using glycerine. I haven’t tried it before but I’ll see if that preserves the natural color a little better. I also think that I will do some green thread studies and dyed fiber studies to put on some of the pages.

Now that I have started making a green sketchbook I think it would be great fun to do one in all the primary and secondary colors. What’s your favorite color?


24 thoughts on “Studies in Green

  1. It’s a great project and I too like green – especially acid green.
    When the leaf is fresh, perhaps take a photo of the leaf on its page then keep a digital file of all the fresh colours?

    I cannot choose one favourite colour as there are so many lovelies! I do lean towards tertiary colours though.

  2. An interesting study Ruth. I look out of my window onto a mainly green landscape and see so many different shades.

    I don’t have one particular favourite, but looking in my wardrobe, perhaps I’m a blue girl. Then I look at my home and see the more earthy ochres, browns, a little deep terracotta, oh yes, then there’s a bit of green too. 🙂

    1. Thanks Judith – it is hard to pick a favorite color because as you say, what you wear might be different than what’s in your house vs. what you use in your art work.

  3. This is really cool, Ruth 🙂
    I do love green too, I make a variety of shades when dyeing, I often start with yellow and black to get the mossy shades, though for some of the nylon I dyed recently I went for bright greens.
    I can’t pick a favourite colour either! I think notebooks for all the primary and secondary colours is a great idea.

    1. Thanks Zed! I too like to dye with a variety of shades of one color. Yellow and black make very nice greens for sure. I have to get some more notebooks in this size to continue my project but I think I might do it. I have really enjoyed this one.

  4. Loving these greens, Ruth! I like the idea of having a notebook of colours, although I’d try to make a note in the actual pages what I did so I’d be able to replicate them in the future.
    There’s a resin that preserves natural elements quite well, but it encases the object so it wouldn’t be very practical to add to paper…

    Now you can do another for blues and make me extremely happy 😀

    1. Thanks Leonor! I realize I should have been more systematic about it but it takes the fun out of it for me. I will have to look into the resin even though it might not work on paper. It would be cool to encase natural things in resin and then encapsulate them in felt 🙂

      As I told Zed, I will have to get more notebooks but I might just do one in blues soon.

  5. Very interesting projects and nice you also collected some leaves to match them with your colours.
    >As for preservation I tried once drying flowers in hot sand to keep the colour. You just put yur flowers or leaves on a tray with sand and cover them with more sand and leave the tray on hot sun.

    1. Thanks Nada! I am trying the glycerine treatment at the moment. I have used some silica gel beads in the manner you have described but not sand. I’ll have to see how that one works too. Thanks for the idea.

    1. Thanks Ann! Yes, I have used wax paper in the past but I don’t think they keep the color very well that way either. We’ll see how the glycerine goes.

    1. Thanks Gail! I think I will definitely add some photos. And you’re right about the discolored leaf going with the color scheme. Thanks for the idea of a green study 🙂

  6. A great color study of greens. Love it. I’ve used both glycerin and sand to preserve leaves and flowers. Some very fleshy leaves just shrivel up. You got some very good examples to compare. I like the idea of putting a photo also since the color of the leaf may change during the preservation process.

    1. Thanks Marilyn! I am in the midst of using the glycerine so we’ll see how that goes. I am definitely going to add some photos too.

  7. I’m loving the greens, they are beautiful. If I was making the next sketchbook I would pick purple and then orange so you a triad of the secondaries but perhaps one of the primaries would be more of a challenge since you are effectively limited to shades (and possibly tones)?

    1. Thanks Teri – yes, the secondaries would be easier for sure. I think the hardest might be yellow. The reds and blues can easily go towards the secondary colors but still look red or blue. The yellow changes to orange or green pretty quickly.

  8. Fascinating exercise. Great suggestions about preserving leaves. Look forward to hearing about the glycerine experiment.

    1. Thanks Cathy. So far they are looking good with the glycerine. I am going to leave them a few more days and then see what happens after they come out of the glyerine.

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