A Compact Guide to Monochromatic Art

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Monochromatic art and painting has been a vital component of avant-garde visual art throughout the 20th century and in the 21st century too. One color is explored, and its value is changed across the surface. This art is widely used for expressing emotions, intentions, and meanings. It is a quite durable idiom in contemporary art.

History of the monochromatic art

The monochromatic abstract painting also began in the early 20th century in Moscow. This method of painting originated from the early 20th century.  In order to come at the precise shade of canvas in a single color, the artist of monochromatic paintings uses the same Spanish painting techniques starting from Velasquez to Picasso.

Now computer technology is also used for toning up the painting and to reach to the color pixel that one desires. Layers of oil and wax are applied by scraping and repainting the canvas until the right combination and effects are achieved.

Understanding the monochromatic art

When people see a painting, they think that the painter has used variety of colors just to make the painting good and trendy.  However, that is not the reality, as master pieces can be created by using a single color too.

Monochromatic art is the art that is done with a single color. The painter can use oil, gouache, acrylic, watercolor, pastels, and ink too for making a stunning piece of artwork. Creating monochromatic art can be a real challenge especially the selection of base color can be challenging. When the painter is done with the art, the audience will not find anything appealing than this.

Sepia painting is one type of monochromatic art. Sepia is also a popular camera featured color, which is used to add an antique touch to the photo. The color opposite the color wheel is selected for darkening the picture. A little bit of blue color is added to the sepia tone. The colors even range up to black. This type of painting requires a lot of practice.

Hues of simple colors are changed by adding white or dark effects. The palette is set when the main color kept in the middle of the hues. Three hues in different directions are used for reaching the desired color range. Duplication of the hues is not easy. You might run out of the actual color before you are done with the painting. Keep it simple is the rule that you should follow.

Examples of monochromatic art

Some of the examples of monochromatic art are as follows:

Blue period by Pablo Picasso

Picasso the famous painter was also known for making the monochromatic paintings. During the blue period, he made the monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and bluish green. This painting work was done in Paris. They are known to be his most popular works. He had difficulty in selling those paintings during that time but now they are considered to be the master pieces.


The blue period work reflected his own experience of instability and poverty. He used beggars, street urchins, old, blind, and frail people in his paintings. His first painting series was influenced by his friend’s suicide.

The old guitarist is one of the important paintings of Picasso in the series of monochromatic paintings. The blue color of the painting reflected his depressed state of mind.

Expressive paintings by Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter was another famous monochromatic painter. He used to make realistic paintings. His way of painting used to overshadow the abstract as well as monochrome works. Like Picasso, his paintings also seem to have some emotional connection.

Expressive paintings by Gerhard Richter

There was a kind of ironic pessimism in his work that made him famous in the late 1980s. The grey paintings of monochromatic art had real expressive gestures.

Lucio Fontana’s artwork

Lucio Fontana was another monochromatic painter. His work “an art for the space age” was one of the unique monochromatic works, which depicted the spatial concept with holes in the surface.


Each kind of artwork whether it is the monochromatic paintings or any other form of painting has its own meaning. Most of the paintings we see appear meaningless to us. On the other hand, when it comes to the artist, he uses the paints and picture to express his feelings, which no other person can understand.  Inspired by the monochromatic artwork, a number of monochromatic websites are also available.

Monochromatic paintings do not involve the use of many brushes. That is because overworking can ruin the painting. The monochromatic artwork is not easy to do and it’s not easy to understand as well. The concept of the painting is a vivid set of visions that the painter has in mind.


Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

Meet Vishal Gaikar, the tech wizard hailing from Pune, India, who's on a mission to decode the digital universe one blog post at a time. When he's not tinkering with gadgets or diving deep into the digital realm, you can find him concocting the perfect cup of chai or plotting his next adventure. Follow his tech escapades on Twitter and buckle up for a wild ride through the world of innovation and geekery!

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