This activity is similar to building up color, but instead of working with plain water and different values of one color, we’ll be working with two colors and slowly transitioning from one to the other. It’s a great technique for painting skies and sunsets.
Be sure to use colors that are close together on the color wheel to create harmony; otherwise, your gradient will appear muddy. I used green and yellow; other good combinations are blue and purple, red and orange, or blue and green.
1. Mix two separate colors side by side. The paint should be neither too diluted nor too concentrated; aim for a 50/50 ratio of water to paint for each color.
2. Start painting your strip of color using pure yellow paint.
3. Clean your brush. Pick up just a little bit of green paint and mix it into your yellow mixture.
4. Pick up where you left off on your first brushstrokes. The transition from yellow to a slightly greener yellow should be soft and subtle. Try to avoid harsh changes in tone so the gradient doesn’t look choppy.
5. Little by little, keep adding a bit more green to your original yellow mix. In this exercise, the real work happens in the palette.
6. By the end of this paint strip, your original mix should completely transformed into pure green and you’ll have a beautiful gradient of color.
7. Try this as many times as you feel necessary and experiment with different color tones. You might get ideas for paintings by trying out different colors.