I recently wrote a blog post for the Oil Painters of America (OPA) discussing the various ways that using gradation can play into how we shape our work.
"One of the more overlooked technical devices in creating a painting with sophisticated interest, is gradation. Although it is easy to think of gradation in terms of color or value, by extending your gradation vocabulary in all aspects of the work you can add interest, excitement, passive and active passages, elicit specific responses from viewers of the art, and produce paintings that invoke mood, time, and feeling in a more calculated way."
Shape, Line, Edge & Texture
"When it comes to shapes, gradation suggests a hierarchy of importance in the different areas of the piece. Some areas of this piece are still very simple, large masses; similar in color and/or value, allowing the viewer’s eye to have “rest.”
This is just a small portion, to read the entire post, visit OPA.