How To Paint A Graded Wash In Watercolor

An Essential Basic Watercolor Painting Technique

Graded Wash

The Graded Wash should be an essential part of your watercolor painting repetroie.  Pratice until it becomes second-nature!

Graded washes are all based on the Wet-In-Wet watercolor painting technique.  In this case the color, or colors, are worked into the wet wash to create graded – or gradual – changes from one thing to something else. The gradual change can reflect a change in any of the aspects of color – huevaluechroma, or temperature – or any combination of two or more! Sounds complicated – but it’s not!

These washes create beautiful and expressive passages in your painting. Even better, they are without peer when it comes to representing the subtle effects of shifting light that occur all around us in the natural world.

As a compositional tool, graded washes can help move the eye and help highlight and create a focal point.

What You’ll Need:

  • Brushes – one large round
  • Paint – Ultramarine Blue, Raw Sienna or any two colors you’d like to work with
  • Paper – one sheet of watercolor paper, about 7″ x 10″ – Arches 140lb Cold Press paper is recommended.

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Basic Watercolor Painting Techniques