Varying Degrees of Verdigris – An Assortment of Greens – Classic Color Series


The color verdigris comes from malachite, which is the oldest known green pigment having been used since antiquity. The mineral was crushed and ground, and used by the Egyptians as paint, jewelry, and eye shadow. In Egypt the floors of the temple were painted with green Malachite pigment. The Greeks introduced Verdigris, Basic Copper Acetate, as one of the first artificial pigments….

Naturally Occurring and Applied Patinas

When copper, brass and bronze are exposed to air and seawater for a long period of time, a green/blue powder forms a Verdigris Patina. Climate holds the paint brush during this naturally occurring phenomena, and Weather Conditions are the artists who render this beautiful, natural affect.

In clean air, rural environments, Verdigris takes many years to develop, where in damp, coastal, marine, environments, the patina layers develop faster.

Artificially applied Verdigris patinas are created by architects, artists, and designers today. Sulfur and oxide compound solution is applied to the metal, and then according to what the weather is doing, the surfaces are strategically placed, and the results of the patina depends on what is exposed and where.

Verdigris Pigment

During the Middle Ages Verdigris powder was scraped off of hanging copper plates suspended over hot vinegar in sealed in pots. From the 15th to the 17th C, Flemish Primitive, Jan Van Eyke (1390-1441), and Dutch Rennaissance Master, Jan Vermeer (1632-1675) perfected Verdigris oil paint, developing  it into a purely, lightfast, painting medium.

A transparent green glaze was also created by these masters, by dissolving copper salts into Venice turpentine. The glazes were built up in layers of transparent color that remained stable and splendid.

In the  eighteenth- century in southern France, women stacked plates of copper in clay pots filled with distilled wine. This facilitated the oxidation process between copper and wine to be used as green colorant and household fungicide.

The early nineteenth century brought other  methods for obtaining Verdigris, that is by reacting copper sulfate solution with other solutions leaving copper acetate in the solution; our green colorant!  Yet, this was an unstable and degraded Verdigris and it aged to dark brown or black over time, a common sight in 19th century paintings in museums today.

Verdigris faded from the scene and was gradually replaced  by new, more stable green pigments. Artists turned to a new generation of greens;  Cobalt Green, Emerald Green, and Viridian.

Warm-Degrees of Verdigris

Warm-Verdigris, leans towards yellow on the color wheel, and is a color that advances forward to the eye. Warm-Verdigris can create activity for cooking and other household projects. It is the color of foliage, plants and Momma Nature herself, and depending on a particular value and saturation, this is a color that can arouse growth, hope, and an awareness of the natural world.

In Ardolfini Wedding by Jan Van Eyke, the green gown is made up of the Verdigris glazing techniques discussed earlier in Verdigris Pigment. The Verdigris is mixed here with the same few pigments used by 15th century artists: lead white, lead tin yellow and yellow ocher, making the Warm-Verdigris gown a brilliant and luminous green. Kitchen or Creative Studio Pond Ripple, C2, BD-82

Warmer-Degrees of Verdigris

Leonardo da Vinci declared that green represented water!!…..and Warmer-Verdigris’ has the expansive quality of the blue-green waters of the southern Mediterranean! This color will make a bold statement, while remaining tranquil and inspiring.

Warmer-Verdigris has the sense of warm sunny days, new growth, and sunlight filtering through the trees. It is ideal for environments meant for reading and relaxing, playing music, or to have a lively conversation. Sun Room, Living Room, and Daylight Rooms Fauquier Spring, C2, BD- 19

Blue-Green Verdigris

The color Blue-Green symbolized the sky and the divine to the Egyptians. “Since verdant spring triumphs over barren winter” Blue- Green Verdigris can bring forth hope, life and seasonal renewal. This Verdigris may sooth the nerves, and help us sustain healthy heart action. It’s healing influence can be felt when the room is painted in Blue-Green Verdigris, and it creates a healthful and rejuvenating environment. Bathroom or Spa Aspen, C2, 4192


Depending on the climate and natural weather conditions some Verdigris’ are “bluer” than others. I have experienced Blue- Verdigris to have a tranquilizing influence, and be an ideal bedroom color extraordinaire. When using, results are that of coolness, calmness, stillness, contemplation, and internal focus. Bedroom or Office Santorini Blue, BM, 1634

Sweet Spot of Verdigris

Seattle, in my humble color opinion, is a place where you find Verdigris at it’s absolute best! This particular Verdigris happens under cloudy-gray skies, has the perfect balance between blue and green, is light in color value, and medium in saturation. The “sweet spot” is somewhat neutral in tone, and at the same time it is enlivened and energetic. It inspires deliciously good cooking too! Yum! Kitchen walls or cabinets, and just about any other room in the house! Well Water, C2, BD- 18

Chlorophyll and The Life of Green

The leaf pigment Chlorophyll has trace elements that are similar to the hemoglobin of human blood. I have seen – photography of plant life with characteristics and behaviors similar to humans. I know, saying this is a little off the grid, yet, in a time-lapse movie sped up, plants were foraging for food, and sensing fear like humans do! It has also struck me, that in Alchemy, transparent green crystal symbolizes the “secret fire,” which represents the living spirit of substances.

Green foods include avocados, lettuce, parsley, peas, peppers, string beans, watercress, broccoli and celery. The chlorophyll in these foods offer human health benefits including aiding the colon cancer and acting as a dietary source for magnesium. The Green alkaline forming foods promote healthy ph levels and good bacteria, and help our guts to thrive! Green leaves are rich in chloroplasts, which deep down, have proteins containing molecules of dyes – this is where the color is found!! chlorophyll (green) and Carotenoids (yellow)!

Chlorophyll and The Life of Green

**How to Choose the Right Verdigris Wall Paint Color:

A. Look at a variety of Verdigris wall paint color choices, preferably real paint samples, fan these colors out altogether on a table, one next to the other. Narrow down your selections to choosing six Verdigris’ while in natural light. This is done within a concentrated time period of no more than 5 hours.

B. Spend some time observing these six colors throughout the day and into the night. What does it look like in the changing light? Which particular Verdigris do you suppose works well on a large-scale.

C. Do NOT skip this step: Paint large swatches of the three Verdigris you select, and pin them in place on the wall, move them around and live with them again over another night. Finally, only you know what the right Verdigris is for you!

Other green pigments for wall color inspiration are: Cobalt green, Copper resinate, Emerald green, Green earth, Malachite, Verdigris, Viridian. Look for these tones in good quality, latex wall paints.

Verdigris in Low Light

5 Steps to create color and lighting in a softly lit room

1. Have your room painted with Verdigris Color, Full Spectrum Latex Wall Paint
2. Carefully select room lighting fixtures
3. Wire each dimmer so that the light emitted can be adjusted from high to medium, to low light in the room. Each lighting fixture has its unique quality of light.
4. Use full spectrum light bulbs in your fixtures – incandescent, carbon filament, or LED, dimmable, adjust the quality of light in the room and be sure it is set to the ideal cast for you, of the Verdigris wall tone.
5. Remember to adjust your window treatments accordingly. Relax, the day is done!
Verdigris Captions
1. Malachite * Isis, Ancient Egyptian Goddess, the ideal mother and wife, and the patroness of nature and magic.
2. Copper Bluffs located on the west shore of Quadra Island, a short boat ride from Campbell River, BC * University of Toronto Mississauga Campus Instructional Centre, * prepatinated copper wall cladding *Oxidized copper door detail Wrigley Memorial at Santa Catalina Island, CA
3. * Oxidation * Verdigris * Verdigris Oil Paint
4. 1960s Fashion Pierre Cardin *Vintage Novels * The Arnolfini Portrait, Jan van Eyke, 1434*
4.b. Green Patina on copper roof detail SW 6723 Jardin Rough Paint
5. Giraffe Cigarette Case by CosmicFirefly on Etsy Blue-Green Verdigriis Yarn Robe a L’Anglaise, 1720-1780
6. Frost enhancing the details of this Statuette found in Bowring Park, St John’s, Newfoundland Nancy Braithwaite, Designer Grunspantrauschling Verdigris Argaric (Stropharia Aeruginosa)
7. Furniture Painting Techniques and Color Ideas, HGTV Comfortable armchair, Pottery Barn Pantone Color of the Month, May 2014, Farrow and Ball, Lichen #19
8. Plant cells with chloroplasts Modern Garden Design, Cow Hollow Historic Home- Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders Green Vegies
9. Patagonian Shelf Watercolor Wash 1950s Vintage Evening Gown
10. Farrow and Ball Savon Green * Ghent alter piece, Jan van Eyke, God the Father, 1432 Alessandro Guerani, Food-o-Grafia, Arles by Night