Color Spotlight: Rich Green Gold (PY129)

Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold: Gradient, opacity and glazing tests, color mixes

A single pigment color made from copper, Rich Green Gold is a glowing, earthy greenish-yellow. Unmixed, it may read as green, but in mixes it functions more like a muted yellow.

Be careful: Daniel Smith has another color called “Green Gold” which is extremely different (a mix of yellows and Phthalo Green Yellow Shade).

Experiment Results

Gradient: Even lovely wash from a vibrant pear/avocado color to a pale green-toned yellow.

Opacity & Glazing: Very transparent, I didn’t see any hint of color on the black bar. Glazes gorgeously making a very deep brown-green way deeper than what I got from the wet on wet gradient.

Comparison to Other Brands

Da Vinci – Green Gold

Da Vinci – Green Gold

Looked very similar in initial paintout, though in practice I found this a bit more muted than Daniel Smith’s. My handwritten notes: “granulating-ish in masstone,” “nice handling.”

Qor

Qor – Green Gold (PY129)

Another high chroma version similar to Daniel Smith’s, perhaps with a bit more darks in the masstone. Like other Qor colors, I found it hard-edged and difficult to grade nicely.

See Also

Dr. Oto Kano has a Colossal Color Showdown of “Green Gold” options.

Color Mixes

Perylene Maroon

Perylene Maroon + Rich Green Gold
Daler Rowney Artist Perylene Maroon (PR179) + Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold (PY129) on Wonder Forest paper

Glowing range of earthy oranges, siennas, and even a Quin Gold-like gold.

Quin Rose

Quin Rose + Rich Green Gold
Da Vinci Red Rose Deep (PV19) + Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold (PY129) on a Wonder Forest sketchbook

I thought that a purpley-red and a yellowy-green might make a neutral (like gray), but I was totally wrong! A range of peachy colors, only slightly more muted than you’d get from a straight yellow – these could be good colors for portraits or Golden Hour landscapes.

This proves to me that RGG should be thought of as a gold more than as a green.

Indanthrone Blue

Rich Green Gold + Indanthrone Blue
Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold (PY129) + Daniel Smith Indanthrone Blue (PB60) in a Wonder Forest sketchbook

Greens that are muted but not dull. A very pasty mix with mostly Indanthrone Blue makes a nice Perylene Green clone.

Ultramarine Blue

Rich Green Gold + Ultramarine Blue
DS Rich Green Gold (PY129) + Holbein Ultramarine Deep (PB29) on Arches

Cobalt Blue

Rich Green Gold + Cobalt Blue
DS Rich Green Gold (PY129) + DV Cobalt Blue (PB28) on Arches

Phthalo Blue Green Shade

Rich Green Gold + Phthalo Blue
Daneil Smith Rich Green Gold (PY129) + Da Vinci Phthalo Blue (PB15:3) on a Wonder Forest sketchbook

Bold and vibrant greens, but still realistic for lush landscapes. The even/vibrant mix doesn’t look as unrealistic as an unmixed Phthalo Green but is still extremely bright and happy. You can tilt the mix toward a yellow-green or toward a turquoise.

Phthalo Turquoise

DS Rich Green Gold (PY129) + WN Phthalo Turquoise (PB16) on Canson XL

Even nicer greens than those with Phthalo Blue! Bright and intense but still suitable for a realistic landscape.

Cobalt Turquoise

Rich Green Gold + Cobalt Turquoise
Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold (PY129) + Schmincke Horadam Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) on Wonder Forest paper

Light and bright granulating yellow-green mixes that don’t get dark, and range from pear to mint.

Viridian

Viridian + Rich Green Gold
Winsor & Newton Viridian (PG18) + Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold

Great foliage colors! I was afraid that the mix of green + green would be too bright, but actually the muted goldness of the Rich Green Gold tempers the boldness of the Viridian nicely. I find this fairly similar to a mix of Quin Gold + Viridian.

You can see how dispersive RGG can be in the initial gradient attempt at the top. It ran into the Viridian in a similar way to Quin Gold or Nickel Azo Yellow would. I don’t find RGG to be as dispersive as PY150 generally, but it’s close.

What Others Say

 “Green gold” copper azomethine is a delightful and extremely useful category of pigment for all genres, but for landscape and botanical painting especially… Copper azomethine has a high tinting strength in mixtures, and can produce beautifully transparent and brilliant yellow greens when mixed with a green phthalocyanine, moody and luxurious sap greens when mixed with iron blue, and a gorgeous range of botanical tans and ochres, and portrait flesh tones, when mixed with quinacridone magenta. Copper azomethine is useful as a glazing pigment to mute or warm other colors; it works very well to brighten and shift to yellow all green pigments, even the cobalts. And if you are an avocate of the split “primary” palette, then copper azomethine is the perfect lightfast, transparent “cool yellow” pigment to pair with its lightfast, transparent “warm yellow” twin, nickel azomethine yellow (PY150).

Bruce MacEvoy, handprint.com

I always thought that it was a really unpleasant color on its own, so I admit that I never really gave it much of a shot at mixing although I have heard and have seen it be quite a valuable mixing color for a lot of artists.

Denise Soden, Color Spotlight: Green Gold

Conclusion

A super-glowing yellow-green. Painted into a green hillside color, it just makes it look so “the hills are alive!” However, without other greens or blues to deepen it, it may end up reading as yellow/gold rather than green.

February 8, 2022. Painted for Kolbie Blume’s Landscapes for Beginners mini-course.

In mixes, it functionally acts as a muted, earthy yellow, but has a distinct green cast. In behavior, it is a lot like Nickel Azo Yellow; it has that glowing quality from being totally transparent and having a high value range, and like NAY, it’s highly dispersive. Even more so than NAY, it pulls off the magic trick of making bold and intense greens that aren’t neon. Actually, the more RGG you add, the more muted they get, becoming avocado-toned.

What I love about this color is that it looks so bold and bright but it has the guardrails on: it is a landscape specialist and will mix realistic landscape colors, so you won’t end up painting a Nickelodeon slime green hillside. (If you want Nickelodeon slime, this one won’t get you there.)

My favorite mixes:

RGG takes on different uses in different seasons:

  • Spring: Nearly unmixed, or with a bit of Phthalo Green or light turquoise, for yellow-green buds.
  • Summer: Mixed with Phthalo Blue or Phthalo Turquoise for deep luscious leafy greens.
  • Autumn: Mutes brights into a range of autumnal tones.
  • Winter: In the Nature Spot Challenge, I discovered that in my area, it’s perfect for green lichen which stands out from tree bark under the white winter light.

On my palette? Yes! Though I waver between this and NAY since they’re similar.

Favorite version: Prefer Daniel Smith’s as it is more vibrant. Da Vinci’s is a bit more muted.

Alternatives: Nickel Azo Yellow is the most direct alternative transparent gold, and as a more middle yellow, it can be versatile. For more of a green (not a yellow), look for a ‘green gold’ that is mixed from Phthalo Green and a yellow (e.g. Daniel Smith’s Green Gold).

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