Painting Texture

There is something called Painterliness. This describes a painting done in a style that celebrates the medium used.

Use Mediums to create texture

There is something called Painterliness. This describes a painting done in a style that celebrates the medium used. Instead of hiding the brushstrokes of knife texture, we want to enhance it, even exaggerate it.

The viewer will often appreciate texture compared to the same painting that looks flat. Like the difference between watercolor texture versus impasto oil painting. Create texture with glazes or thick paint.

What is Texture

There are many many ways to create texture using paint. A way to cheat in an abstract form would be to lay on heavy layers of acrylic modeling paste with a palette or plaster knife. You can use plastic wrap with glaze to create a texture of even glue tissue paper to the surface before painting.

Example 1 Simple brushing of heavy acrylic gel or paste

Above and below are simple textures in acrylic modeling paste or heavy gel. Since these are water-based, you can paint anything over top, from watercolor to oil.

Ex 2 Knife application of paste
Ex 3 Dog in Paste

For non-purists, you can do your sketch in modeling paste and color it afterward.

Other Types of Textures

Ex 4 This is more craft than paint, but it is done with a stamp pushed into modeling paste.
Ex 5 Crumpled tissue or rice paper glued to canvas can create a fantastic base for special effects, especially in non-objective art.

Golden is the best product to use.

Conventional Paint Texture However is Best

Ex 6 The Master Texture Artist, Starry Night Vincent Van Gogh

The easiest way to add texture is to paint impasto, or thickly, using a TON of paint. Without a doubt, the master at this was Vincent Van Gogh. His style was painting outdoors in front of his scene and using as much thick oil paint as he could put on. He never mingled it and never smoothed it out.

Not many artists paint impasto in the studio. But many will do so when painting in Plein Air, which is a French term for painting outside. The reason for this is simple, especially if you are using acrylic. When outside, you have to contend with weather, wind, bugs, rain, and changing light. The slower you are, the more your light changes. (A camera comes in handy outside)

Plein Aire

Ex 7 Kyle Buckland painting en Plein Air

Before you dismiss this kind of painting outright, put it on your painting bucket list. Nothing is like the experience of painting outside in nature. It forces you to really see what you’re looking at. You appreciate the colors and forms and light much more first hand.

I still take pictures of my subject outside before during and after I paint. Mainly because If I run out of time or it rains, I can continue at home.

Texture Examples

Ex 8 Oil lends itself well to textured abstract art (From WorthPoint.com)
Ex 9 Old Man by Greg Cartmell artist. This is peak oil texture portraiture which springs to life because of the texture.

In conclusion, painting very thin on canvas looks like watercolor and worse, the weave of the canvas shows. I suppose to some, that is a plus. But to create a texture that invites the viewer to reach out and touch the painting, don’t scrimp on the paint. Your viewers will thank you.

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