Sunday, November 22, 2009


Gradation is a series of gradual successive changes. In any shape you can gradually go from:
-warm to cool
-smooth to rough
-light to dark
In successive shapes, you can also go gradually from
-large to small.

The opposite of gradation is conflict. Juxtaposing a very dark and a very light or any color next to its complement will attract attention because of the extremes. Gradation deals with extremes but goes from one to the other gradually which is more subtle and less demanding.
The greatest conflicts usually occur near or at the focal point. Getting there gradually will lead the eye and provide relief from the conflict.

In "Port St. Joe Marina" for example, look at the value and temperature changes in the arches that lead to the center of the painting. Also look at the value changes in the negative shapes in the background. Most of the sudden changes or conflicts occur at or near the boat. Gradation is soothing but not monotonous, whereas conflict provides tension. You need a mix of both with one dominant.

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