Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Colour Files: Hooker's Green

My colour resource library.
Today I purchased the last watercolour pan of hooker's green at Wallack's. Watercolour pans are growing increasingly difficult to find in Ottawa.

I have never owned hooker's green. I actually prefer to mix my own greens (usually with a cool blue and a cool yellow). I do carry a sap green  (PY139, PG36, PR101) and a viridian hue (PG7) in my portable travel palette.

I have read that some watercolourists refer to hooker's green as a convenience green.

Hooker's Green (PG36, PY110)
For the seminal "low-down" on ALL watercolour greens, the website "Handprint" is the place to go!

On the Handprint website I learned that hooker's green:
  • makes more natural foliage than permanent green 
  • was the preferred green paint among 19th century landscape and botanical painters.
  • was originally devised  for botanical illustration by the famous Victorian botanist, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, director of the Kew Gardens (London, UK) 
  • was a mixture of iron blue (PB27) and genuine gamboge (NY24)
  • To reproduce the historical color, you would have to use iron blue with either anthrapyrimidine yellow (PY108) or nickel azomethine yellow (PY150) as a gamboge substitute. 
The Windsor and Newton Hookers Green that I bought is a mixture of pigments number PG36 and PY110, i.e. pthalo green and isoindolinone yellow and I couldn't wait to paint with it!

In my first try, I decided to use only two complimentary colours: permanent rose (PV19) and hookers green (PG36, PY110) and I decided it would be fun to paint a picture of botanist, painter Joseph Hooker (circa 1877) for whom the colour "hooker's green" was named.. 

Permanent rose and hooker's green make a beautiful grey.

permanent rose (PV19)
+ hookers green (PG36, PY110)
Below is a really quick sketch on multi-media paper. It was readily apparent that hookers green is great for glazing! I tried glazing permanent rose over hookers green and vice versa. I then tried mixing it to make a beautiful grey.

Art journal sketch of  Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
using only hooker's green and permanent rose
Joseph Hooker (seated, far left) and on the ground next to him, Asa Gray
– 2 of the first 3 men to whom Darwin revealed
his theory of evolution by natural selection
(July, 1877 U.S. Geological Survey at La Veta Pass, CO)
Hookers green properties:
  • Transparent: because of the transparency, is wonderful for glazing.
  • It's a staining colour
  • Permanence is A (Permanent)
  • Lighfastness ASTM I
I am looking forward to adding hooker's green to my palette and using it in my future landscapes and still life paintings.

On my shopping trip today, I also bought Winsor blue (green shade) PB15 (transparent) and Winsor red PR254 (staining) ...... but more about that later.

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