Terre Verte


When you walk into our shops, you might think we're selling plants over paints - especially in Bowling Green!

While we vow to remain your favorite art supply store first and foremost (and an aspiring greenhouse only in our spare time) we do love the way all those lil' green guys make our stores - and us - feel. The Depo Peopo are not the only ones inspired by everything green, as evidenced by Pantone's recent release of their Color of the Year...

Pantone describes Greenery (Color 15-0343) as symbolic of new beginnings, expanding on "a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.

Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront - it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality."

While Greenery doesn't exist as an exact, named shade or pigment, we've scoured our inventory to bring you some of our favorite greens; those that bring to mind secret gardens, spring peeking in, tree-canopied hikes, cherished houseplants, carefully curated conservatories, and grassy plains as far as the eye can see.


Terre verte (or green earth) and related tones have been used as a painting base for ages. Terre verte had been noted as used a tad less frequently than the other earth pigments due to its relative scarcity. The earthy green pigment came from two clay minerals, celadonite and glauconite, which occur naturally all over the world. These have a complex silicate structure containing aluminium, iron, magnesium and potassium ions, which when mixed together in perfect harmony, produces a lovely dull green, ideal for underpainting European flesh. (Source 2)

Underpainting, or the initial layer of paint applied to a ground, serves as a base for all other colors to follow. Most often monochromatic, underpaintings guide the color values to later be used in a painting. While there are several types of underpainting, such as grisaille, veneda, verdaccio, and morellone, today we’re zeroing in on verdaccio.

Verdaccio is the Italian term given for a mixture of black, white, and yellow pigments that result in a soft, greenish brown color. Verdaccio’s most popular use is to bring light and life to European fleshtones. This method can be traced back to the early Renaissance, when the artists of Italy would combine Mars Black and Yellow Ochre to efficiently establish shadows in the fleshtones in their fresco paintings.which originates from the Italian fresco painters of the early Renaissance. One of the most well-known evidences of this method can be seen at the Sistine Chapel, where Michaelangelo left architectural features in pure Verdaccio, but painted over the soft, greenish-gray for skintones and other details.

If you've ever wondered why the faces in an old painting have a greenish cast, it may not have been intended by the artist, nor had it perhaps always been that way. It may be that the thin, pinky-orange skin tone layer applied over top has faded over time - a symptom of age or, sometimes, a more fugitive pigment having been chosen before time or technology could appraise the artist to what his or her work would look like entering the next century. If the underpainting is showing through, that painting just might need a conservator to the rescue! (Source 3)


Modern paint companies make underpainting a bit more of a breeze. Ready-mixed greens can easily balance out the pink tones in Caucasian skin, and rather than mixing black and an ochre try your own simpler Verdaccio techniques using Terra Verte or a mixture of Chromium Oxide Green and Mars Black. 

About these colors plus a few others...

From Williamsburg, about their oil paint variation... "Green Earth is known by an assortment of names such as Stone Green, Verdetta, and Celadonite. Other names refer to the source of the native iron / magnesium colored clay, such as Bohemian, a high quality grade of pure green hue. It has been popular for centuries with many cultures. Native Americans also were fond of using Green Earth as a colorant. Since Medieval times it has been used as an underpainting color for flesh tones in portraits."

Golden fans loved their tried and true original Chromium Oxide Green so much that the company released a darker variation in early 2010. From the company upon it's release, "This new green is a darker and cooler version of the well known, very useful and long used green pigment. It fills a color space somewhere between Jenkins Green and Sap Green Hue, with very good opacity, and adds to a relatively small line up of inorganic greens. It is not quite as opaque as our standard Chromium Oxide Green, which is rated 1. It dries to a satin like finish."

"When comparing the French Terre Verte to the Italian Terre Verte, the first difference is that the Italian version is much more yellow and overall warmer. In locating a comparable color, French Terre Verte has an unexpected similarity to Cobalt Green. Its transparency, matte quality and subdued strength is a guarantee that this comparison only be made in hue. They both have similar pine tree color qualities. The transparency of Terre Verte in general is what makes this color so valuable in different palettes. It does lend itself to a landscape palette but more importantly, due to its transparent nature is very useful in imparting subtle tones to a portrait palette," notes Williamsburg. And... since the science nerd in all of us is just dying to know, we should share that they also explained the pigment as a "natural ferrous silicate containing magnesium and aluminum potassium silicates is a transparent bluish green that exhibits a slate like grit."

(Digging all these gritty details from Williamsburg and their parent company, Golden? While we didn't find a particular green to highlight in this bunch, if you love extensive color detail as much as we love Terre Verte you should check out this article on the company's other excellent earthtone selections!)


Green underpainting isn't limited merely to painters. Try utilizing Verdaccio techniques with colored pencil! One great example to check out next time you're in our shop is the cover art for the Strathmore 400 Series Colored Pencil pad. The original work was created by Brian Scott, a UK based artist who first tried oils and acrylics but didn’t feel successful with them. Eventually finding colored pencils as his niche, the artist like that pencils are much tidier and require less space.

Where does Verdaccio come in? Well, from Strathmore we learned, "Once he (Brian Scott) started to use colored pencil, he was challenged to make his pencil work look more like an oil painting rather than a traditional drawing..." Check out what appears to be an incredibly clear example of green (our newest not-a-word word) underpenciling - the skin and undereye area of the subject in Brian's work.

Get the look in your own work with Faber-Castell's Polychromos pencils. We recommend trying their Chromium Oxide Green, Permanent Green Olive, and Olive Green Yellowish shades and then choosing a favorite based on your own style and artwork subject.


We love green across the medium lines. Here are some inks we're going gaga for...

Noodler's Army Green Ink: If you love reading about color - especially the history behind how and why any given art supply company chooses the colors and names that they do - you could spend a lil' time (like... a week-ish... or something...) sifting through all the fascinating details behind Noodler's inks. We love Army Green for it's yellowish green hue reminiscent of fatigues, but found a cool Toledo-based tidbit when doing our research... The company's GI Green color, part of their V-Mail (victory mail) series, was originally based on the color of Willy's Jeeps! Sorry to say it's now reformulated and less true to the historic accuracy of the “government issue green”, but it's Noodler's hope that this new color is easier to use in modern applications. Another reason? This ink has a huge British following, and the new color recipe produces a shade reminiscent of British racing green (though still in line with certain darker green jungle and hedgerow campaign uniforms). (Source 4)

FW Ink's Olive Green: Check out that lovely, quite opaque olive color of the FW Ink droplets above. This product is liquid acrylic and thus has excellent permanence ratings and adheres to many surfaces - paper, wood, ceramics, leather and more. You might even try a wash of it on your next canvas as an underpainting, eh?


Oooh ooh ooh, we just love plants in pastel. Don't you?

(Before we go on... can we just pause to check out how much pastel pops on this black velour paper, available in our BG shop? It's as fun as velvet Elvis, but less "All Shook Up" and more all succulents!)

Want to color in your own outdoor scene, but don't know where to start? Mary Jane Erard is the Depo's premiere pastel teacher, and much of her work centers on the lovely green stems popping out of the ground. Whether it's lush lavender fields or tempting tulips, much of what's green can be brought to life through pastel.

Typically Mary Jane keeps her teaching in the classroom, but this summer she'll take pastels to the park! The new Middlegrounds Metropark, which opened just last fall, is quickly becoming the go-to happy place for all of us downtown and now? The go-to art place too!

Located just a quick 15 minute walk from our St. Clair shop, Middlegrounds includes sparkling river frontage and 28 acres of greenspace including over a mile of walking and bike paths that meander along the Maumee. Sound like the perfect place to play with pastels? We thought so! 

So... why not sign up for Plein Air (in soft OR oil pastels) right down at Middlegrounds?


We love the use of greens of all kinds in the Toy Tableaux oil paintings by Aaron Pickens, on display now through April 30th in our BG shop.

Admiring his work and would love to paint with Aaron? Well, we've got another avenue to get y'all out into the big, green open! Take a Plein Air Painting class led by the artist in BG this summer. They'll be offered the second Friday in June, July, and August. You can sign up for just one at $50 each, or save $15 by committing to the full summer (3 classes) at $135. Details here, and stay tuned in the coming weeks for another email detailing even more fun outdoor workshop plans!

(Both the image above and below are original works by Aaron. Check out the dinos on top on display in our shop right now!)


One exhibit comes down and another arises. Once Aaron's Toy Tableaux show is de-installed, we'll be introducing the fab florals by painter Kati Kleimola for the months of May & June in BG.

Along with her solo show, Kati will be teaching a handful of classes for us. The first of those listed is for little hands in particular! Kati will lead kiddos ages 7-12 through creating with color - green among it! The image above is our promo for Mixed Media Flowers class. During the two-hour class, students will create a beautiful floral painting with basic flower shapes, adding oil pastels, watercolor, acrylic paint and cut paper. All supplies are included in your student's registration.  

With limited space in this super fun course, we advise you sign your little artist up today! And stay tuned - Kati's painting class for adults will be listed super soon.

Check our sneak peek image for Kati's exhibit below. After that? Get outta your computer and wander off to explore that great, (slowly but surely becoming) green earth!

Reference List

  1. Image Source for Sistine Chapel: Dennis Jarvis via Flickr.
  2. A History of Pigment Use in Western Art Part 1, Originally titled "A Colour Chemist's History of Western Art", published in Review of Progress in Coloration, Millennium Issue, Vol. 29, 1999, pp 43-64, Society of Dyers and Colourists, Bradford, UK, http://www.pcimag.com/articles/86476-a-history-of-pigment-use-in-western-art-part-1
  3. Why Are Some Icons and Gothic Faces Green?, The Way of Beauty, David Clayton, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, http://thewayofbeauty.org/2012/01/why-are-some-icons-and-gothic-faces-green/
  4. Source for Noodler’s Ink Info: http://noodlersink.com/whats-new/reformulated-gi-green/
  5. Image source for Middlegrounds Metropark: https://metroparkstoledo.com/explore-your-parks/middlegrounds