Picasso’s One Color Paintings

Pablo Picasso was one of the most famous painters of the 1900’s.  He is most famous for his cubism, but before he painted in that style he went through his “blue period.” He focused on painting images that were lonely or sad, and he used the color blue to help express those emotions.  Click here to check out PabloPicasso.org and view the self portrait he painted during his blue period. Everything in the portrait is a various shade of blue.  Even his skin has a blue tint to it.  His colors make the portrait seem sullen and forlorn.

Gather some paper, crayons, paintbrushes, and various shades of paint.

Art supplies

Choose a color that you want to have as the focus for your picture.  Gather all the crayons of that one hue that you can find.


Draw a picture using a variety of shades of that one color.


When you’re done drawing, paint over the whole thing using watercolor paints.  You can mix paints and play with the amount of water to make it either lighter or darker as you go.  You can even mix several hues together to get even more shades and varieties within a hue. For example, gray blue, powder blue, navy, royal blue, aqua, and violet blue are all very different blues.


When your one color picture is completely covered with paints, let it dry.  You may even want to mount it on a sheet of matching card stock or construction paper to carry the tone of the painting even further.

Here’s a turquoise turtle:


A purple tiger:


And a blue owl:

It’s fun to see the different feel that comes from a solid color scheme like this.  Try it!

Additional Layers:

  • Picasso’s full name was Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso. . . say that three times fast! He was named for a series of saints and various relatives to honor them. Find out why you were given your name and whether it has any special significance.
  • Early on Picasso did extraordinary realist paintings, but in his later years he began painting very abstractly. Compare some of his early work with what he painted later. Which do you like better? Why? (He became most famous for his abstract work, but much of art is a matter of taste. Your opinion is just as valid as someone else’s!)
  • Besides his “blue period” he also had a rose period in which he used warmer colors.  Did you notice that the tone and emotions in your paintings differed depending on whether you used warm or cool colors?
  • As you’re painting over the crayon picture, you can also talk about how you are making a wax resist painting.  The wax of the crayon resists the watercolor paints and won’t really stick there.

More From Layers of Learning

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