A successful watercolor painting starts with an effective background. Gradation wash is one of the watercolor techniques every painter should add to their artwork. It adds depth and interest to an otherwise flat area in your painting. Below is a new watercolor video demonstrating 3 colors in the shallow water at the beach. Also called a variegated wash that changes from one color to another.

This watercolor background can be used for all subject matter. Landscapes, seascapes, florals and still life paintings can be painted using gradation. Follow along and leave any questions or comments below.

For the seagull painting shown here I used masking fluid for the white areas on the birds. You can also paint around any lighter areas to save the white of the paper. A broken glaze is also shown in the video tutorial for the wave ripples. Try this technique on dry paper like I did and then try on wet paper. Sometimes it is easier to control a larger painting with a wet into wet wash.

Colors used in Seagulls in the Shallows

  • winsor blue or pthalo blue
  • ultramarine blue
  • permanent rose
  • raw sienna
  • Winsor & Newton burnt sienna

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