Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Monochromatic, Not Monotonous

Well, I had my students work on a monochromatic painting awhile back. They grumbled heavily!! A monochromatic color scheme is derived from a single base hue (color) with the use of that hue's shades, tones, and tints. If a student wanted to use one other hue, I allowed it if they felt the painting would only work well with the other hue included.

I don't tend to assign my students something that I won't do myself. Oh, okay, I do have them do things that I don't do... sometimes. In this case, however, I was determined make a monochromatic painting to show them. I tend to paint with quite a lot of color, so this painting was a challenge for me. That said, if an artist wants to create a mood, monochromatic work is a great way to go. The painting that I have included has a much more somber mood than what I would usually complete.

The inspiration for this painting was a stormy sky over the Baltic Sea last August. August is a month of warmth. Not so much in the Baltic Sea. The chilly wind was whipping. The storm clouds were ominous. That was the mood that I wanted to evoke. A monochromatic color scheme, with a tiny amount of the complimentary color, seemed the perfect way to go. Because I am inherently a positive person, there is a glimmer of light that conveys hope.

Here are some progression photographs of the painting. I began with a monochromatic watercolor under painting, and then added pastel to complete the piece.

The monochromatic watercolor under painting. You can see the pastels on the tray as I begin adding pastels to the painting.

Notice the orange pastel on the far right of my tray and the addition of orange to the painting.

A bit more pastel added for the clouds

The orange has been toned down, the water rendered, and the painting complete
Stormy Skies, "11.5 x 19 inches, Pastel © Lynn Goldstein


  1. Wow, I love working with monochomatic colors; Easier for me to see the light. Beautiful work, hope it inspires you to continue trying new things :)

  2. Thanks! I am never at a loss for trying new things! That's actually a good problem to have. Had the students work on several different color schemes during the session. Everyone grumbled, but then loved it.