How to Paint a Monochromatic Landscape Painting: Art Inspiration!

how to paint a monochromatic painting

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Don’t have anything you want to paint? Or, maybe, you’re interested in landscapes but you’re a bit too timid to start with a full-blown painting.

Whichever the case, monochromatic landscape paintings are the best choice for you!

Monochromatic paintings can be done quickly and easily in your favorite color. Allowing you to enjoy the art of painting landscapes without the usual heavy mental burden.

If you want to learn how to paint a monochromatic landscape painting, have a look below!

How to Paint Monochromatic Landscapes?

If you want to learn how to paint landscapes in monochromatic colors, it’s best to follow a tutorial. The process looks simple, but it involves more than you’d think!

monochromatic landscapes

Have a long look at the image above and take note of all the different shades of grey is used in order to make up a complete photograph and you’ll know just how difficult it is.

Of course, by learning how to paint monochromatic landscapes from someone with experience, you can better exercise your knowledge skills on value and the saturation of a hue. As for what that means, take a look at the prepared step-by-step art tutorial below to learn more:

Monochromatic Landscape Paintings | Step-by-Step!

The art tutorial below will be referencing PearFleur’s “How to Paint with One Color!” monochromatic landscape art video on YouTube. You can watch the video as you follow the step-by-step tutorial to deepen your understanding of monochromatic painting!

Step 1. Choose a Base Hue for Your Painting

choose a base hue for your painting
(Image Source)

The first step in creating monochromatic art is to choose a color.

In PearFleur’s video, the color chosen is Mijello Mission’s “Greenish Blue (W609)” which is on sale as a separate shade and is not included in their more popular sets. The shade is nice and rich, creating a wide range of values with clear darks and lights.

If you don’t have this color or any color similar to it, you don’t have to be too concerned. Any paint will work. However, it’s best to pick a hue that is a little darker so that you can create appropriate depth in your monochromatic landscape.

monochromatic painting

Note! PearFleur is using watercolor paint, so she only needed one color — which can be desaturated with plain water. If you’re painting with a medium like oils, you’ll need at least two colors to control the tint of the hue. For example, black and white. Black is the main ‘color’ and white is used to change its tone.

Step 2. Establish Painting Tonal Range

If this is the first time you’ve ever painted a monochromatic painting, the first thing you should do after choosing your color is to establish a tonal range.

What is a tonal range? To keep it simple, it’s the difference between the maximum (highlights) and minimum (shadows) amount of light reflected from a subject.

establish painting tonal range

In the image above, you can see the tonal range map created by PearFleur using the single shade “Greenish Blue” and some water. It’s a bit troublesome to do this, and you don’t need to follow her and do it in such a big way. But if you want to create a more detailed landscape, having a map like this is great as it can serve as a reference.

Step 3. Pick a Reference Image for Your Art

pick a reference image for your art

When painting a regular landscape painting, it’s actually better to paint directly on the spot (plein-air) so that you can get the atmosphere of the scene just right.

But, for painting monochromatic landscapes, we still recommend finding a reference image.

monochromatic art

With a reference image prepared, you can edit the photo to be black and white to get your values right (as shown in the image to the left). Or, if you want to be even more advanced, you can edit the photo to mimic your desired color scheme (as is shown in the image to the right.)

Step 4. Sketch Your Landscape Art

If your landscape has prominent structures, it’s best to do a sketch beforehand, like Kalliopi Lyviaki’s monochromatic watercolor painting tutorial.

Otherwise, if your subject is composed of natural elements — for example, trees, mountains, rivers, grass, etc. — you can skip the sketch and be more free and easy as you paint.

Step 5. Work on the Art Background

work on the art background

For monochromatic landscapes, it’s best to start with the background. Here, PearFleur used a highly diluted wash in order to paint the sky, the mountains, trees, and shrubs in the distance.

This complies with the general art perspective rule that “distant objects go out-of-focus and are low in saturation.”

Step 6. Painting the Art Middleground

The closer you get, the darker the tones become. This is how to paint a monochromatic landscape with accurate values!

painting the art middle ground

For the middle-ground, use more paint and less water to create mid-tones.

Step 7. Painting the Art Foreground

Finally, we get to the art elements in the landscape that is closest to the viewer.

In PearFleur’s painting of a streetside, aside from the road, the element closest to the viewer is a figure riding a bicycle. As can be seen in the image, it was painted in the darkest shades, allowing it to stand out from the background and middle-ground.

painting the art foreground

Step 8. Add Finishing Touches to Your Art

With the layers of the landscape completed, it’s time to add the finishing touches to your art.

In this painting, because there’s no tall tree to act as a solid structure, the background looks a little bit empty. As such, a telephone pole and telephone wires were painted on to bring the whole painting together.

adding finishing touches to your art

Things You Should Know Before Painting Monochromatic Landscape Paintings

Now that we’ve gone over the general process required for painting monochromatic paintings, let’s talk about some tips and tricks you should know before moving forward:

    • Plan Your Art Composition Carefully! Although painting a monochromatic landscape is meant to be a simple art exercise, you shouldn’t forget about composition when working on it. Just like the last step in the previous tutorial. You can add a tree or trees to your painting at any time so long as you think it is helpful to your composition.
    • Don’t Fuss About the Painting Details! Painting landscapes is meant to be a very free and natural thing. You look at the trees in the distance, or a particularly prominent tree closeby, whichever the case may be, try not to fuss about the details. A tree is a tree, you don’t have to copy the exact same tree in your art for it to be considered successful.
    • Use Color in Your Art Appropriately! Although you can use any color for your monochromatic painting, it’s still best to pick one that suits the mood of your art composition.
    • Consider Creating Art Outdoors! Outdoor painting, or plein air painting, is a great way to exercise your observation skills as well as landscape painting skills. Don’t hesitate to try it if you have the chance!

monochromatic landscape

Final Thoughts: Painting Monochromatic Landscapes

Painting monochromatic landscapes is an easy way to exercise your art skills!

Why not try it out today? Of course, if you want to take your art to the next level, you can consider some of the more advanced art courses that are available for sale online.

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