6 Rules That Will Help You Make A Monochromatic Watercolour

Can you make a great watercolor painting with just 1 color?

In an article I wrote for Exempla Vitae called Rocks Like Candy I talked about the lack of understanding that I had of watercolor painting early on in college.

“When I took the painting back to my guiding professor, he reprimanded me for not following the rules of which I should have already known. It was clear to me that I had only just been introduced to these concepts and, though I should have known better, none of them had stuck just, yet.”

Looking back I can see how a more integrated art education would have benefited me tremendously. I did not put 2 and 2 together until many years after college.

What is an integrated art education?

When I talk about integrated arts I am referring to how arts are used in other professions, disciplines, and or art fields.

Integrating knowledge sets helps the student learn more than just one skill set. I often look at my art education and note how much I learned about putting together a painting from my black and white photography class.

Well, there is some middle ground between black and white photography and watercolor painting that is good for artists to explore and keep abreast of.

It is called a monochromatic study.

The pines on the hill200

There are simple rules that must be in place for this to be an effective way of practicing your watercolor painting skills.

  • Limit your palette to one color -red, blue, or brown.
  • Make sure that you are working small. The image here is 4.5″x3″. You can work smaller if you want.
  • Do not let the detail bog you down.
  • Use this as an excuse to try new techniques.
  • Use 1 or 2 brushes and no more.
  • Treat your underdrawing like you would a serious painting. If you skimp on any aspect of the composition it will be hard to paint.

For all of you who would love to try watercolor painting, but are afraid to screw up try this low commitment technique. Let me know how it turns out.


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