Including a gradation in a shape is a great way to attract and hold our viewers attention. Gradations are the gradual change of value from light to dark over a distance. A shape or element of your painting that is made with a single value can be boring and monotonous. A shape with a gradation however, is much more interesting and can lead the viewer’s eye. Take this blue shape; it’s pretty flat and uninteresting. The one on the right with a smooth gradation is much more appealing. Next, the piece below is from my variation series. There is a gradual gradation from the bottom of the piece to the horizon and likewise a slight gradation in the sky from the top to the horizon. This technique, draws my viewer right to the focal point of the composition and then keeps my viewer’s eyes circulating in the piece.

Once you start to use this in your work, you’ll start to see lots and lots of painters using it. One artist who employs this technique with great skill is Richard Schmid whose work is shown here is spectacular and I very much admire!

With Warmest Regards,

Painting Minilessons
with Marla Baggetta

These “mini-lessons” grew out of my blog. I love sharing my experience behind the easel, so these are free. I write a new one every two or three weeks, so please feel free to share with artist friends.

​These lessons are mostly written text with graphics…short but useful tidbits from the foundations of painting that touch on subjects such as aerial perspective, simultaneous contrast or using negative spaces. I guide you through different aspects of painting and art that will get you comfortable with using pastels. You’ll gain confidence to attempt work that you might have otherwise been timid about.

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