Texture Painting Basics

Whether you're an accomplished professional artist or you just want to create an easy piece of art to hang on the wall of your home, texture painting may be for you. Abstract paintings made in this way are very popular, and can look very complicated and sophisticated, despite being surprisingly easy to create. Texture painting or textured art is a type of art that has a distinctive three dimensional surface pattern. It can be created with modeling paste, wallpaper paste, texture mediums or heavy bodied paints, so shapes and groves can be formed in the surface. The technique of laying thick layers of paint on a surface is also known as impasto. Depending on the look you wish to achieve, you can add a raised image to a flat surface such as canvas, or add a thick layer and then scrape away lines or shapes.

Art Supplies for Creating Texture Art

The basic medium used for creating texture art is impasto medium. This is a heavy bodied paint that contains no pigment. It can be applied directly to a canvas to create surface texture, then normal acrylic paint applied over the top once the impasto medium is dry. Alternatively, normal acrylic paint can be mixed with the wet impasto medium, without decreasing the richness of the colour. Heavy body acrylics can be used in place of impasto medium, as they both retain shape and structure when applied thickly to a canvas. Alternatively, fluid acrylics are better suited to creating thin washes of colour, flat areas, or painting over the top of already dried texture.

Principal Professional 6 Piece Heavy Body Acrylic Set
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There are a variety of other substances available to artists who wish to add texture to their paintings. If you want to know how to create textured paint, take a look at some of the specialty mediums available from companies such as Liquitex, Golden, Jo Sonjas, Mont Marte and Derivan Matisse. Some commercial products have been produced to add body, extend volume of paint, hold knife or brush marks, or add particular textures to the paint itself. Companies such as Liquitex offer white opaque flakes effects medium, string gel, natural sand and glass beads. Iridescent medium adds a metallic or slightly glittery effect when mixed with normal paint, which can help to enhance texture. Crackle medium (also known as cracking medium) can be mixed with paint, and will separate into crackles as it dries, revealing the layer underneath.

Liquitex Professional Flexible Modeling Paste Medium, 8-oz
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Tools for Creating Texture Art

All sorts of tools can be used to make marks in a thick layer of paint. Traditional tools such as paintbrushes and palette knives are popular. However, many of the tools that texture artists employ are not originally intended for making marks in paint. Combs, skewers, children’s toys, cutlery, lids, rubber stamps and other tools can be dragged through or pushed into the layer of paint to make different types of marks and shapes. Fabric such as mesh or burlap can be pressed into a wet surface to add a crosshatch texture.

How to Use Acrylic Paint Skins

Acrylic paint skins are layers of dried acrylic paint, which has formed a plastic-like blob or shape. They can be made by applying layers of acrylic paint to a surface such as a palette, then peeling the layer away once it is dry. These skins can be adhered to a surface using glue or more paint in order to add shapes or textures to the artwork. This is easier to achieve with heavy body acrylics, as these will retain more shape while drying than fluid acrylics, which will rest in flat pools.

Pro-Art Golden Crackle Paste, 8-Ounce
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