I took a lovely daytrip up to Marin County (just north of San Francisco) for a drawing/painting date with my friend Kat. Kat took me to China Camp State Park where a short walk up a dirt path opened up to views of gorgeous rolling hills and eucalyptus trees.
I had a great day - it's rare that I make two paintings I am happy with in one day.
I have been having so much fun investigating all the "greens" of nature. I am discovering there is not much true green at all. Everything is fundamentally a cool blue or a warm brown, and only tinged slightly green. A little green goes a long way. I think every beginning landscape painter knows that horrible feeling when you try to emulate all the lovely grass and trees with vibrant greens and yellows right from the tube and YUCK, it just doesn't look right.
I've been using mainly cobalt blue, cad light green, mars red (which is a lovely rich red brown) and raw sienna (which acts like a brown-ey yellow ochre, I like it better than ochre). And a lot of titanium white.
These seem to act like perfect mixing primaries, especially for outdoors. The Mars red is red enough act as a compliment to the greens (so if a puddle of paint is too green, I mix in a tiny dab of Mars red to cancel the color and make it more neutral). The burnt sienna acts like a dark yellow and helps warm up my greens if I need to paint some sunlight areas (cad green with some burnt sienna with a ton of white). The cobalt blue and the sienna make a lovely dark shadow, and if I then add white I can get a nice subtle neutral gray, warm or cool depending on the ratio of blue to brown.
These are my main colors, but I also mix in a little magenta and ultramarine blue for the coolest and darkest violet shadows.