Tonal gradation with circles

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grad ton cerchi

A tonal gradation is defined as value steps going from light to dark. In this exercise the students of Grade 7, have painted the tonal gradation of a color of their choice, showing the steps in strips of colors. This instructional painting was made less boring with a little trick: we cut out two circle from the painting and then we pasted them on a black cardboard, leaving a small strip of black shadow under the circles, in order to make them seem in relief!









grad cerchi1

grad cerchi2


Matisse on the cabinet!

A wall with graffiti


10 thoughts on “Tonal gradation with circles”

    • Thanks Julie! Of course this exercise is suitable even for primary school! Thank you for the comment 🙂

  1. Yes I love the look of this. I plan to thrill my grade 5s with it as they launch into an outer space theme. It covers art theory as well as lending itself to a ‘spacey’ look.

  2. Good morning, I love this idea-simple yet a strong lesson of graduation and color mixing is instilled. Did the children use an exacto knife (a small blade) to cut out the circles?

    • Hi Claudia!They are grade 6th students, so they are able to use a cutter or a small blade. With smaller children could be dangerous to use cutters, what do you think? It’ possible to do a little cut with an exacto knife, afterwards they can use scissors starting from the first little cut.:)

      • Yes, excellent idea. The first cut with a blade and then take scissors to it. Many thanks. I would do this with 7th graders, many of whom are skilled but cutting a clean circle (any curve) with a blade is challenging.

        I’m writing from NJ, USA. The internet is a wonderful, cool, tool to connect with others. I admire your work and what you do with the students.
        Thanks for responding,

          • No relatives in Italy but have traveled throughout.
            I’ve had success with your vessels (glasses) project done in colored pencils. A variety of shaded glasses are then arranged on a background of black and white paper. When you line up 60 of them it’s stunning. It’s a good lesson to teach elliptical shapes, observational drawing, shading and composition. Thanks for inspiring art teachers across the sea!

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