Sketch Tales #1 – Green Earth

Several years ago, I invested in Yarka watercolors made by St. Petersburg (a Russian company that markets the same paint under White Nights outside of the US). My attraction was that the colors were unusual -purported to be a match for colors used by the Old Masters. I fell in love with one of the greens . . .

The pan was un-named and the color is so lightly pigmented and granulating that what you see in a swatch here is the most saturation you can get. Not a match for my heavy handed style, but I use it whenever I need a mossy patina and some subtlety – like here on these Linen-Wrap pots, which are the subject of another Sketch-Tale.

I also used some on the leaves in this sketch because I was going for a light treatment with some pencil still in play. But I had to add shading with Green Apatite Genuine (PrimaTek color from Daniel Smith) because my Yarka green didn’t have enough value range to create form on its own.

I have always used it the Yarka green sparingly because I did not know if the pan could be replaced. Finally, I went looking and Dick Blick sells the Yarka colors in full pans. And the color had a name – Green Earth.

I clicked on the product number as I always do to see a swatch and it had a different name . . .

So, then I had to look up Glauconite . . .d

When I looked closely at the sample . . .

I REALLY loved the color, and some kind of bell started ringing in the back of my mind. Why was this so familiar?

Because I use it in my garden! That’s why.

But, it’s not called Green Earth, it’s called Green Sand, which is close enough.

I love how these little circles come around when you just follow where your nose leads you. Especially when they make different parts of your life pair up. I had never looked closely at the ingredient of Green Sand, and had never researched the name of my favorite green watercolor. Every day has learning of some kind. You just have to be there for it.



  1. Love, love, love this sketch tale! Magic IS a circle. Thank you, Jessica.

  2. Great story! I think this kind of event is called “synchronicity”! When it happens, it makes me marvel at how everything is related.

  3. I love when connections show up like this. That circle, for now, is completed. Who knows what an open, curious mind will lead you to next.

  4. Wonderful story! And I’m so glad you’re going back to your blogging. I never know what I’m going to pick up from you… I really love the textural element in your potted plant painting. Is that the PrimaTek or the Glauconite?

  5. All the green on the pots is the Glauconite. The sparse pigmentation allows a glaze effect even when applied wet-on-wet as this was. Full pans at Blick are about $7.

  6. Nothing shows you truly love a color than having it show up on more than your palette! In your garden is a surprise but it sure validates that you really do like it!

  7. What a great story with pictures! And what a lovely green. It brings to mind other gentle greens of New Mexico vegetation. Looking out my window at all of the vibrant greens of Florida, I wondered if I could find a “Green Earth” tone on any of the local vegetation. Yes! .. an airplane that is common on all of my he deciduous trees, a vine that lives on my Bottlebrush tree, and one of the palm trees. I can wait to show this green to my botany watercolor teacher.

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