Mixing Dark Greens/Perylene Green Alternatives

A few months ago I mixed up some bright greens with my various greens/blues and yellows. This time, I decided to try intentionally to mix dark greens, using either dark blues with yellows, or phthalo greens with reds to mute them.

Dark green mixes

Single Pigment Dark Green (Perylene Green)

Perylene Green, in the upper right, is the only single-pigment dark green that I’m aware of. This is essentially the color we’ll be comparing everytinh else to. This is a nice deep atmospheric shadow green, and I can see it being used for pines. I do find it a bit dull, and I struggle to consistently get that super-dark color in actual paintings due to its drying shift, so I wouldn’t mind a replacement if we can find a good one!

Blues & Yellows

In the main table, I combined dark blues with yellows. The columns are my yellows:

  • Schmincke Horadam – Aureolin Hue (PY151, aka Azo Yellow)
  • Mission Gold – Green Gold (PY150, aka Nickel Azo Yellow)
  • Daniel Smith – Quinacridone Gold (PY150/PO48)
  • Daniel Smith – Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7)

The rows are my dark blues:

  • Winsor & Newton – Winsor Blue Green Shade (PB15:3)
  • Da Vinci – Prussian Blue (PB27)
  • Da Vinci – Cobalt Blue (PB28)
  • Holbein – Ultramarine Deep (PB29)
  • Daniel Smith – Indanthrone Blue (PB60)
  • Holbein – Indigo
  • Winsor & Newton – Payne’s Gray

In these particular mixes, my favorite dark greens that were easy to get dark were:

  1. Prussian Blue + Quin Gold: Super-dark and cool green to a light and bright yellow-green, a really nice range of pine greens that range from shaded to sunny. Lightly textured.
  2. Ultramarine Deep + Aureolin Hue: A classy muted gray-green. Lightly textured.
  3. Indanthrone Blue + Green Gold: Somewhere between those, a version of a gray-green that’s a bit more yellow-toned and very piney. Lightly textured.
  4. Indigo + Green Gold: Very dark in the shadows to yellowy in the light, with a yellow-green color. Very smooth.
  5. Payne’s Gray + Green Gold: A very muted Undersea Green type color, but smooth.

I really liked Phthalo Blue plus either Aureolin or Green Gold for cool greens, but they didn’t get dark enough for my pine green use case. All of the mixes with MANS were quite light, but some were interesting.

Green Gold (PY150, aka Nickel Azo Yellow) was a general winner when it came to mixing great greens, although Quin Gold also works – it just tended to be more muted and I wasn’t as consistently able to get a dark tone, although I think I could if I tried.

None of these really come super-close to the hue of Perylene Green. Perhaps Indigo + Quin Gold or Payne’s Gray + Aureolin are closest in midtone though they both have a yellower quality.

Phthalo Green + Reds

Another way of making a dark green is to start with Phthalo Green, and add red to mute it. In the column on the right, I added to Winsor Green Blue Shade (PG7):

  1. Winsor & Newton – Scarlet Lake (PR188)
  2. Da Vinci – Indian Red (PR101)
  3. Daniel Smith – Perylene Red (PR178)
  4. Da Vinci – Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19)

These mixes have a different quality than the blue/green mixes; instead of tending toward olive and brown and yellow, they tend toward gray or else retain that blue-green color of Phthalo Green Blue Shade. Adding both Scarlet Lake and Indian Red are good ways to retain the overall hue of PGBS while making it dark, near black. Perylene Red and Alizarin Crimson distinctly gray out the color, with the cool Alizarin Crimson mix looking closest to Perylene Green in my eyes.


There are many options for dark, muted green.

Using single-pigment Perylene Green is an option, though not one I find particularly flexible.

Starting with Indigo and adding a bit of a transparent yellow is a good one. (Or Prussian Blue, to make a deep green that is still bright.) This is a good option for a mix of colors that range from cool to warm, shadowy to sunlit, with olives and sap greens in the middle.

Starting with Phthalo Green and adding red can also a great way to make a shadowy, cool, dark green if you want to keep it firmly in a blue-green to gray space without getting yellow at all.

Doing this exercise has made me realize that Green Gold (PY150) is a green-mixing hero! I think it’s because it’s so transparent, it allows the dark blues to get and stay really dark.