What is monochrome art?

What is monochrome art?

What is monochrome art? Blog post about monochrome colour & art by Claude & Leighton

Monochrome art describes a work of art that uses only one colour. Types of monochrome wall art include paintings, art prints, wall hangings and textiles.

Monochrome art is often a popular choice for interior design schemes, since it can add a touch of elegance to any room. A monochrome artwork often evokes a feeling of tranquillity or intensity, depending on the colour chosen by the artist. It can be used to create a feeling of depth and space, or to focus attention on a specific part of an artwork.

But what is a monochrome painting?

This is a common question. Generally, when most people hear the word monochrome, they automatically think of black and white art or design. There is often some confusion about whether monochrome can refer to something in another colour. The answer is that while a monochrome painting is a work of art that uses only one colour (a hue), this can be in the form of various shades and tints of any single colour, or variations of black and white.

A hue is a particular colour, a base colour. A shade is a darker variation of that colour, while a tint is lighter version of the colour. Shades and tints are generally achieved by adding white or black, enabling you to achieve many variations of that base hue colour. 

So let me clarify the above more simply. Say, for example, I decide to create a monochrome painting in blue. I set my palette up with some blue paint. And next to the blue, I add a squeeze of white paint and a drop of black paint. By mixing varying amounts of black with the blue paint, I can create darker shades of that particular blue hue. When I mix white with the blue, I create lighter blue tints. In basic terms, this is a monochromatic colour palette which will result in a monochromatic artwork.

In a world where so much is colourful and bright, a painting or an art print in just one colour can be quite arresting. It can be very simple and calming, and can create a feeling of stillness and tranquillity. You can use monochrome artwork to bring a sense of balance to a space, or to create dramatic impact.

Serene & beautiful monochrome abstract art

Using a monochrome colour palette is popular in art and design to create contrasts which make a statement and attract attention.

In this red monochrome abstract art, called Morning Red, white paint has been added to red to create variations of pink, and black has been added to the red to create gorgeous velvety dark burgundy tones.

These gorgeous variations of colour have been used to create a sense of increasing light and serenity.

Monochrome red & pink abstract art. Morning Red by Claude & Leighton.

Monochrome art in shades of grey

Technically, black & white together are not monochromatic, since black and white are shades not colours (all to do with the visible spectrum of light and colour, which is a discussion for another day 🤓). And a monochromatic palette is made from variations of one colour plus black and white. It would be more accurate to consider black and white compositions in terms of greyscale.

Monochrome botanical leaf art - Falling Leaves by Claude & Leighton

If you want to add a touch of nature and some botanical inspiration to a room, then our Falling Leaves art print above will add simple beauty to the wall.

Black & white monochrome art

Following on from the technicalities of monochrome colour above, where black and white are not strictly monochromatic, we're not going to get hung up on that. 😉 Because the reality is that black and white colour schemes, designs and art are all recognised, known as, and called "monochrome" by most people.

Paintings that use only black and white together can be intense, striking, statement pieces. They can be used to focus attention on a specific part of the artwork or to create a sense of depth and space.

This black and white monochrome abstract art, called Contemplation, is a good example of a striking and impactful piece which really draws attention.

Monochrome black & white abstract art - Contemplation by Claude & Leighton 

Monochromatic geometric design

Geometric shapes add intrigue and sophistication to a room. Monochromatic geometric art is a popular choice by interior designers to add a stylish finishing touch to both offices and home interiors.

Our blue and black geometric stained glass design art print looks fabulous and adds focus in this blue interiors scheme.

Blue & black monochrome geometric stained glass art print by Claude & Leighton

Monochrome art is classic & timeless

Monochrome will always be considered as timeless and classic for several reasons. Minimalist and elegant simplicity is very appealing and is easy to live with. And since we all associate the idea of monochrome with black and white, this is a recognisable classic colour combination which has been around forever and never looks old. It gives a reassuring sense of style that you can't get wrong.

But it's not all about black and white, and our blue Ginkgo leaves botanical wall art prints demonstrate the elegant simplicity of monochrome art perfectly.

 Monochrome blue botanical art prints - Blue Ginkgo Leaves by Claude & Leighton

That timeless and minimalist quality makes monochrome art a popular choice for offices, as well as for home decor.

In conclusion, monochrome paintings and wall art prints will add a touch of eye-catching elegance to any room.

As always, I hope you found this useful and inspirational to help you choose art for your own spaces? Do share your comments below.

Best wishes,

Jayne Leighton Herd
Artist & Designer 


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Jayne Leighton Herd

Jayne Leighton Herd is a British professional artist and designer. She has been successfully selling her original abstract and landscape paintings for over 17 years. She co-founded Claude & Leighton in 2020 with her husband Laurent, as an online art destination for fine art print reproductions of her original art, her figurative work, and her original digital artwork. Jayne regularly writes blog posts and articles to share her knowledge and experience of art and working with colour, and to help and inspire people to bring art, colour and design into their homes and offices.

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