Color Schemes

Watercolor Schemes Monochromatic

Watercolor schemes – Monochromatic is a color scheme using only one color in a range of tonal values that are light, medium and dark in a painting composition. Black, Neutral Tint or Payne’s Gray may also be added to darken the color and range of values. And, white space may also be planned for the composition by leaving areas of the watercolor paper unpainted.

A range of tonal values are achieved by adding more water to the watercolor paint to lighten it in stages.

Monochromatic Composition

To be effective, a monochromatic color scheme requires a lot of planning to add variety while working with only one color.

  • Plan a source of light
  • Plan a focal point
  • Plan white areas
  • Plan dark value areas
  • Plan middle value areas
  • Plan light value areas, and
  • Plan highlights

Value Scale

A gray scale or value finder is a helpful tool to use for showing the transitions between white to black in measuring the values of the subject and for planning the visual direction of a composition.

In watercolor painting, work from light to dark by painting the lightest values first. Middle values are added next. The final, darker tones are added last.

Painting a light value adjacent to a dark value at the focal point of the composition draws the viewers eye to that area of the painting.


To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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