Green Earth, Prussian Blue and Burnt Umber: Making your own paints

green earth, prussian,
green earth, prussian blue, burnt umber

Green Earth Terre Verte Pg23  watercolour paint

Green Earth, Prussian Blue and Burnt Umber  combine well together  for many landscape paintings with a focused theme of  cool, calm and peaceful.    Additional pigments  +  Cobalt, Ultramarine & Manganese will feature in a future upcoming post on water.

Green Earth also known as Terre Verte  Pg23  and is a lovely soft, delicate mossy green that blends beautifully into the landscape in a gentle and harmonious fashion. Green Earth is one of pigments with the lesser amount of toxicity levels.

Prussian Blue pb27 Watercolour paint

Prussian Blue Pb27 is a deep velvety near black blue at full tonal mass, but can be lightened to a delicate tint quite easily with water.

Prussian Pb27  has many names –  Antwerp blue, Berlin blue, Midnight blue are a few. Vincent Van Gogh used the intense dark Prussian blue for his famous oil painting Starry Night.  Prussian does have a moderate level of toxicity.

Burnt Umber PBr7  watercolour paint

Burnt Umber PBr7 is a rich dark powerful chocolate brown providing granulating effects in watercolours when used wet in wet.   This Brown is a cool brown unlike burnt sienna which is a much warmer,  near terracotta brown.

Burnt Umber carries a moderate amount of toxicity as well as it has manganese in it. Burnt Umber mixed with Prussian creates a soft muted grey-green that drifts back into the distance nicely.  Mixed with Terre Verte, sparingly, can create a delicate olive brown green.

I selected these 3 pigments to make my paints as these were the least toxic pigments I have on hand. The 3 also are a very nice triad colour scheme, they blend well together and complement each other as well. All are cool versions and combined, provide a Cool dominance.   Perfect for a “zen”  theme filled with neutrals, serenity and calm.

Another fantastic triad to try with burnt umber,  includes cobalt violet pv14 and indanthrone blue pb60 for a lovely cool colour palette.

cobalt violet art spectrum, daniel smith watercolours
Cobalt Violet Pv14 and watercolour Paints

Before you plan to make your own paints, make sure

  • 1. you wear a safety mask
  • 2. are in a very well ventilated large studio
  • 3. wear gloves
  • 4. do not drink or eat while in the studio with the pigments

Process of making the paints

The process I used next – was to  lay out 1/2 tsp of  pigment onto a dampened plate.  Close the pigment jar lid.

I  chose Gum Arabic   for a Watercolour paint for the simple reason its less toxic than oils or acrylic binders. They work well with egg yolks as well.

Add 2-3 drops of   Gum Arabic.

daniel smith gum arabic
Gum Arabic Daniel Smith


Add 5-6 brush loads of distilled water.  Mix with palette knife until the paste is fine and smooth.  Keep the spray mister away from this process.   The pigment particles are microscopic and a spray mister will just blast them around into the air.

After the 3 pigments are mixed and ready,   have a play and see what you create.

These colours are ideal for foliage, leaves, trees, nature, rocks, feathers.etc.  Landscapes and the natural environment.   Just have a bit of fun with them!

making your own paints
making your own paints

In the above sample of  colours:

Terre Verte Pg23    is   far left

Prussian Blue  Pb27    is  centre

Burnt Umber PBr7   is   right