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Color mix from blue sky to orange sunset horizon

I'm new to oil painting with four paintings under my belt.  Trying to paint one of my photo of sunset over the ocean.  I want to paint a realistic sky that has a blue sky blend into the deep orange sunset over the horizon.  My problem is that when the blue color blend with yellow it creates a "greenish" color, which is not the color of the sunset.  The photo shows the sunset is a deep orange to light yellow blend to light blue and then to dark blue. No problem with mixing orange to yellow and light blue to dark blue.  Base on the color wheel blue mix yellow is green but that is not what I see in nature.  Any suggestions how to mix the yellow to blue transition and remain without a greenish color.


  • DLau


    I think you will just have to mix the transition value/s to place between the dry blue and yellow.

  • Don't blend and the problem will disappear. Just mix the values/colours you see and lay them in where they are meant to go and then leave them alone.  :)
  • Several of the Earth pigments dont mix-green in contact with blue pigments, they desaturate instead.  Good for warm and cool cloud-forms.
  • Wait for it to be touch dry then bring on the blue like @dencal says or don't blend like @tassiegut says. They are both right. The first requires patience the second requires skill. Which do have more of?
  • Kind of been there with this one.  I used the blue color of the sky and gradually lightened it up before transitioning to the yellow/orange in the sunset.  I used lighter yellow/orange tones where it meets the blue and went darker and brighter as the light goes down toward the horizon.  Started out just blending and got that green color.  When that happend, I promptly smacked my forehead and said to myself, "What an idiot. Of course blue and yellow make green." LOL.  Lesson learned the hard way.  But this is the final version. 

  • edited July 23
    You got it right in the end. Well done!  :)
  • Thanks guys !   This is very helpful.  Don't blend and let the paint dry.
  • Hi @DLau , I am also new to oil painting and just recently had the same exact problem. I blended the sky into green by accident and had to start over. The key learning experience for me was just simply not to mix blue and yellow on the painting. You can do it! Hope this helps.
  • First thing is you don't blend. Keep the two color groups seperate. When all the canvas is covered and more or less all the things are in place then take slight amount of white and red and blend the edges of yellow and blue. That'll kill the greenish tinge. But this transition area should be very thin.
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