Texture is an obvious and important element
in a painting. To save confusion it can be broken into
Physical Texture is the
texture you can actually feel with your hand. The build
up of paint, slipperiness of soft pastel, layering of
collage - all the things that change the nature of the
Visual Texture is the illusion of
physical texture, created with the materials you use.
Paint can be manipulated to give the impression of
texture, while the paper surface remains smooth and flat.
Traditional transparent watercolour makes
little use of physical texture other than the roughness
of the paper. Mixed media allows advantage to be taken of
physical as well as visual texture.
Understanding the difference between
physical and visual texture helps us take full advantage
of this element.
Things to consider
Texture is often something that finds its
way into a painting in an accidental sort of way,
particularly with mixed media. Lumps, bumps and scratches
pop up all over the place, often bearing no relationship
to the painting. Make it a habit to question whether
these marks help the work or just add unnecessary
Some heavily textured watercolour papers can
have an overbearing effect on a painting. Always try and
relate this type of paper to your subject
Texture can have more impact through
variation and relief - contrasting rough, course areas
with orderly patterned areas and providing smooth areas
of relief will make a painting far more interesting than
an even, unrelieved texture running from edge to edge.
Remember - creating textures is easy, itís where and how
you place them that makes the difference between a good painting and an