Copper-based pigments are common in works of art that show signs of decay on green and blue areas and are frequently associated with the degradation of organic substrates and/or media (drying oils, cellulose, etc.). The exact causes of degradation remain unknown. This prompted us to study possible starting and degradation products of one especially reactive copper pigment, verdigris (copper acetate), as well as pigments of the same family (salt and soap greens). Preparation of pigments using historical methods was followed by spectroscopic and crystallographic characterization using Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Synthesis of verdigris and verdigris-like pigments resulted in a mixture of starting polymorphs of verdigris, including neutral and basic verdigris. With accelerated aging, pigments degraded to a polymorph of basic verdigris when not affected by organic media, whereas pigments on cellulosic substrates showed oxidized copper species. With this study, we are beginning to understand verdigris starting materials and highlight the complex interactions between pigments and substrates that influence pigment degradation pathways.