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GREEN Art Supply Pigment Database Watercolor Acrylic Ink Pencil Color Chart Swatch
Artist reference guide to Green pigments in art supplies. Color chart swatch cards of common pigments in watercolor, gouache, acrylic paint, inks and pencils. Includes lightfast ratings from the brand and notes if I have conflicting fugitive results. Each image shows the ingredient pigment number code (chemical color index), brand, manufacturer color name, how the color appears in masstone (full strength) or diluted (with water), opacity, lifting (erasing with a damp brush), layering (2nd coat after dry) and if the color was able to hold a smoothly blended gradient in wet.
Phthalo Green is a very strong mixer with excellent lightfastness. Most brands offer a smooth, non-granulating, heavily staining version (flocculation texture and lifting can be increased by larger pigment particle size). It is often used with Magenta, such as PR122 or a PV19, to create moody purples and cool to neutral gray / near blacks. This pigment on it's own has an emerald-like hue, which often looks unnatural when not mixed with secondary pigments and used for botanicals. PY150 Nickel Azo or PY42 Yellow Ochre can help transform it into a more useful leafy olive green for botanical art. Because Phthalo Blue PB15 is more versatile and can also be mixed with those yellows for botanicals, I do not find myself using PG7 frequently. I prefer the near-exact hue match of PG18 Viridian for it's pronounced granulation, which is better able to create unique color separating mixtures.
PG8 Nitroso Green:
A natural looking Sap or Hooker's green ideal for foliage. It is unfortunately not very lightfast. While the severity of it's fugitive nature varies by brand, most companies have stopped offering PG8 over the years because of the superior lightfastness and affordability of Phthalo Greens PG7 and PG36. I think artist demand must have been low for this pigment, because pigments like Aureolin PY40, Alizarin PR83 and opera pinks are even more fugitive yet are still in demand. This pigment is unique enough to be very enjoyable for personal use and art to scan for print reproduction. White Nights Green is very intense and affordable and is the easiest to find watercolor version. In masstone the lightfast test results were on par with LFII, only dropping to LFIII in diluted ranges. MaimeriBlu used to carry this color, but discontinued it when they reformulated their entire line in 2019. Maimeri still has it in their gouache line though, which has a high pigment load, is easy flowing, matte and an all around quality paint.
PG17 Chrome Oxide Green: Also called Oxide of Chromium, a very opaque, lightfast and subtly granulating army green. Useful when paired with PY150 Nickel Azo Yellow or PY129 Green Gold for sun-lit floral greens. There is also a color variant under the name Hematite Black, labeled as PG17. This is a situation like Burnt or Raw Umber, which can both be labeled as PBr7 because they are chemically similar, but are different colors due to heat exposure.
PG17-BLK: This dark near-black variant by Schmincke in their Horadam professional watercolor line is made from normal PG17 Chromium Oxide Green that has been heated until hardened into crystalline hematite. "Hematite Black" is a dark green-gray, similar to mixtures often named "Davy's Grey". Opaque, mildly granulating, lightfast, with a uniform color that is slightly lighter and more green leaning than Graphite Gray PBk10 (pencil). It is NOT like "Hematite Genuine" mineral paints by Daniel Smith, which are dark brown, variably color separating and heavily granulating (see minerals in the brown category)
You may find several unusual variants for this pigment, including transparent greens from China that show up in brands like Etchr, Paul Rubens and Superior. It seems likely that the transparent varieties are actually PG7 or PG8 mislabeled as PG17 by these companies. No other major brand provides a transparent example of this pigment and these brands do not provide chemical details.
A lightfast, transparent to semi-transparent, gently granulating green that is very close in color to Phthalo Green (blue shade) PG7. While not as intense, and a weak mixer in comparison (more paint is required, as this color is easily overpowered) Viridian is still a vital part of my palette. More than a few brands are hard to re-wet, as this pigment is prone to drying hard and semi-water resistant in the dry pan. Both Roman Szmal and M.Graham's versions re-wet much easier than other brands due to the honey content in their paint keeping the pigment moist. I had the hardest time with Winsor & Newton and Rembrandt from dry, both appearing smooth and weak. A recent tube from Lukas had clear salt reaction, indicating finely ground particles that do not work well in color separating mixtures (and as such, it performs just like PG7 - not a good example of PG18). When possible use it directly from the tube or mix it with a second pigment before drying in a pan. Because of Viridian's unique pigment particle size and weight, it behaves much differently than PG7 when used to make your own color separating mixtures.
When making a dupe of Daniel Smith's Moonglow (made of PG18, PR177 and PB29) the Viridian clumps closer to the also heavier/thicker particle Ultramarine Blue to cause a blue-ish green separation away from the Anthra Red. When using PG7 instead the mix becomes prone to creating a brown and blue separation (thin particle Phthalo sticks to the Anthra Red where they both separate from the Ultramarine Blue).
Rare, lightfast, variable granulation, can be difficult to re-wet. Rembrandt used to carry this color but has discontinued it. It is extremely similar to PG50 Cobalt Greens (not teal or turquoise variants), but PG50 seems more reliable as well as common and sometimes more affordable. MaimeriBlu, Roman Szmal and Lukas all carry quite nice alternatives that look nearly identical to Schmincke's Cobalt Green Pure. Daniel Smith has superior granulation, but is also very unstable in the tube. It has browned over time and has separated from it's binder to an unusually drastic degree over the course of about a year. For some reason the binder has also turned a very deep brown color and all remaining pigment is stained - see second swatch. I do not believe this was a fluke, as a recently purchased dot card from D.Smith also reflected brown binder and discolored PG19. I have also included a second swatch for Schmincke's version, because this pigment once dry in the pan is difficult to reach masstone strength that was easy to achieve fresh from the tube. PG19 contains a touch of zinc, being minorly different from the touch of titanium in PG50's versions (both being for the most part made of Cobalt). I have not had any re-wettability or instability issues with PG50, therefore recommend that pigment instead.
PG23 Green Earth:
PG24 Ultramarine Green Genuine: Fugitive. A version of Ultramarine that went into production during the 1820s, but is no longer mass manufactured. This color is created as a step in the process of making Ultramarine Blue, before heating further with sulfur. With that in mind, it's possible that the sun's heat (not just UV light) during lightfast testing helped speed this hue change:
Its popularity and demand dwindled by the 1960s. Kremer Pigments, a German based dry pigment supplier who also offers a small collection of rare ready-made watercolor paints, is the only large business currently offering PG24. It is very opaque and is similar to Cobalt Green Deep in masstone. The color separates to expose an ultramarine blue color when salt is applied, suggesting color separation as well as granulation when used in very wet washes. The green fades with UV exposure, almost entirely returning to a standard Ultramarine Blue color within 6 months of window light.
PG26 Cobalt Chromite Green:
PG36 Phthalocyanine Green YS:
PG39 Copper Carbonate Hydroxide:
Malachiteis a chemically unstable pigment. Similarly to Vivianite and Azurite, it is prone to yellowing over time when exposed to acids and certain environmental factors (atmospheric sulfides). This can include chemical interactions with honey or any acidic binder additives. I've heard from other artists that metal interactions are also possible (paint tubes or the processing on metal rollers in paint making factories) which may cause Malachite to oxidize or harden. For Roman Szmal the paint is immediately poured into dry pans, not into metal tubes. In addition to honey, there may be other possible acidic binder additives or even brief exposure to chemicals in nearby paints at the factory that was enough to cause long term continual yellowing over time. Over the coarse of a year or more, bands of yellow layering developed throughout the paint. I had purchased an extra Kremer pigment malachite pan, which was stored in a sealed plastic bag for about 2 years away from other paints in my collection. It is completely yellowed and unusable at this time indicating problems started with a process at the factory/as a result of honey in the binder (not from anything within artist control). Malachite may experience a quicker hue shift due to high humidity/PH changes or acids carried in air pollution, with this issue being reported to me multiple times from artists living in "humid climates". It is not unusual for humidity to accelerate hue shifts and fading in other pigments as well. The pans continue to yellow over time... but once painted on paper there does not appear to be continual yellowing (swatch cards remain their initial pale cool green over the years). The act of painting on paper primarily removed humidity from the equation.
It is rated as "lightfast" because the color changes are a result of chemical interactions, not UV light fading. This problematic pigment was discontinued in Daniel Smith's paints many years ago, but is now offered by Roman Szmal, Paul Rubens, Kremer Pigments and small business handmade paint makers (such as Etsy PoemsAboutYou, SelahPaintCo, Oto Kano, Pigment Lab etc). It appears that each brand with drastic yellowing over time used honey in the binder (brands without honey only had hardening issues instead of yellowing). Paul Rubens is my only sample that has lasted several years without signs of discoloration and it's the only one made without honey in the binder. Malachite is a very weak / pale color, you can achieve similar looking hues that also granulate by diluting Cobalt Green watercolors heavily with water (see Winsor and Newton's PG50 below). Malachite as a stone or powder can be stable for many years (possibly several thousands) when in controlled environments protected from chemical interactions. No matter why it yellows, the likeliness of a color change is too great for those who desire stability in their paints.
PG50 Cobalt Titanate Green:
Lightfast, opaque, granulation texture varies by pigment particle size. Also see PB28 and PB36 for very similar hues, also made with mostly Cobalt and different trace minerals. PG50 can vary from deep green, teal to blue. It is a heavier pigment that has a tendency to gently granulate and settle in mixtures. It's great for making color separating mixtures with pink pigments, such as PV19 Quin Rose or PR233 Potter's Pink. In it's grassy green form, colors labeled as "Cobalt Green" are much more stable and easy to re-wet than the more rare PG19 variety.
NG2 Sap Green:
Amazonite Genuine: Lightfast mineral pigment. Daniel Smith offers this pigment in watercolor and it is otherwise rarely used in paint making.
Diopside Genuine: Lightfast mineral pigment. Daniel Smith offers this pigment in watercolor and it is otherwise rarely used in paint making. Can be easily replicated in mixtures using PG7, PBk11 and PBr11 (similarly to Green Apatite).
Fuchsite Genuine: Lightfast mineral pigment. Daniel Smith offers this pigment in watercolor and it is otherwise rarely used in paint making. Can be easily replicated using PG7 and Mica PW20.
Green Apatite Genuine: Lightfast mineral pigment. Daniel Smith offers this pigment in watercolor and it is otherwise rarely used in paint making. Can be easily replicated (I like to mix PBr11 and PBk11 first to make the granulating dark brown, then add in a green - I mix PY150 and PB15:3).
Jadeite Genuine: Lightfast mineral pigment. Daniel Smith offers this pigment in watercolor and it is otherwise rarely used in paint making. Very staining, performs like PG7/PBk11.
Kingman Green Turquoise: Rare, as far as I know only Daniel Smith turns this mineral into paint. Lightfast, granulating, weak mixer. Mined near Kingman Arizona USA.
Serpentine Genuine: Lightfast mineral pigment. Daniel Smith offers this pigment in watercolor and it is otherwise rarely used in paint making.
Easily replicated by more common pigments. You can use PY150, PB15:3 and PBr11 as demonstrated in the video above.
Zoisite Genuine: This mineral is rarely used in paint making, Daniel Smith has the only commercially available watercolor I found. Heavily granulating deep near-black green.
Swatch card template available for download here, or get the rubber stamp here. Swatch cards were painted on Legion Black or Arches Cold Press 100% cotton watercolor paper. Paper and brushes are available at Jackson's or Amazon here:
I buy most of my art supplies at Blick or Jackson's art materials.
I use affiliate links only to stores I have personally shopped with. When available I'll include multiple reputable stores so you can compare and decide where you'd like to shop. Dick Blick ("DB" links below) is a large art supply chain store here in the USA that ships worldwide. Jackson's ("Jack" links below) is a great UK based art supply store which also ships worldwide, but carries some harder to find European products with quick low cost shipping to the USA. Amazon USA ("Ama" links below) often offers unique brands, including small business and Chinese off brand watercolor sets, that can not be found anywhere else. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Arches 100% cotton cold press 140# watercolor paper is one of the most durable surfaces for technical pen, scrubbing and lifting. It's surface sizing (coating) and texture is a good middle ground compared to the extremes of different brands. Due to these traits, and it being around for long enough to be the most commonly recommended paper for professionals, all of my swatches are done on this paper for consistency. Only white (and mica paints that do not show up on white) use the Legion Black paper instead. I buy my arches paper at Blick, and if you are in the USA this is likely the most affordable place to buy it:https://shrsl.com/2765w
Daniel Smith watercolors -- available onDB,JackorAma.
Rosa Gallery is a small company from the Ukraine and can be hard to find. I found mine on Etsy for USA, ArtMiranda for Spain/Import.
Interested in other ways to help this project? Visit me at Kimberly Crick Art on YouTubeor Patreon. If you have supplies that you would like to donate, such as watercolor dot cards or samples from your company that you would like reviewed or displayed in this pigment directory, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form with details. Thank you :)