Arts & Crafts / Be Creative!

Monochromatic Studies

I’ve written before about how much fun it is it play with paints in the company of friends, and a recent “Art Night” in the home and studio of Terrell Powell and Patricia Phifer was the usual good medicine–and another chance to try my hand at some badge work.


Both of these badges ask scouts to explore the challenges and opportunities that come from monochromatic painting, and I’ve been putting this one off mostly because it felt like it just had to be a total bore. How on earth can you paint a pot of flowers with one color? Or a sky, or ocean, or dog, or…..

Le Guitariste – Picasso

Of course, there are monochromatic (or mostly monochromatic) masterpieces. Just Google “Picasso blue period” or look at Le Guitarist from his cubist period. It blows my mind.

I’m no Picasso, and my efforts won’t be hanging in the Louvre. But I did take the opportunity to try two different monochromatic studies, one of which I actually kinda sorta enjoy looking at.

This study in odd little flowers  was painted with cadmium yellow  on a chunk of black tar paper. Shades, of course, were made by mixing yellow with black or white; it turns out that mixing black and yellow made a pretty curious puke-y green that somehow worked, but I guess that’s part of the point of working monochromatically–you’re always going to have a color that can trace its lineage back to your original pigment, aren’t you?

Here is it, for your viewing pleasure. Those black lines aren’t painted black; after paint was applied, I used the business end of a hefty nail to carve into the black tar paper, revealing the lines– a fun technique, but my wrist ached for days afterwards. As for the yellow, it’s waaaay down on my list of preferred colors, but I just can’t hate this goofy thing!

I feel a little less enthusiastic about my next study however, even though I used one of my favorite colors, cerulean blue.

Painted on a 6″x12″ canvas. I was going for one of those rough nighttime seas. But you could probably tell that. 😉

So that was art night. In the next post, I’m going to share some of Terry Powell’s work with you. One look and you’ll know why it’s just painful to limit yourself to just one color when you’re in his company.


One thought on “Monochromatic Studies

  1. Pingback: A Little Perspective: More Drawing & Painting | The Big Scout Project

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