Get crazy with paints and painting tools and create depth and texture in your art, starting with the palette knife. If you like the smooth look of prints over actual art, you won’t like these techniques at all. For those of you who are adventurous, brave and not afraid to get messy with your paint of choice, dive in and start creating art with real texture.
Paint of Choice for Textures
Acrylic paint – Most of these methods work for any tube paint, although they will dry the fastest with acrylics. Acrylics dry fast and let the artist build colors and layers, without ever worrying about muddying out the previous layer.
Even tube watercolor paint can be applied heavily and made to look textured, as long as you don’t water it down. It’s harder to use these paint texture techniques with pan watercolors.
Oils stay wet and let you play with the paint and texture without drying too quickly. This can be good or bad, depending on what you want to do with the final painting.
Tempera paint, poster paint and any thick paint can be used as well.
Tools for Adding Texture to Paintings
What tools can you use to add texture to your paintings? The simple answer is, anything you are willing to dip in paint an be used to apply paint and build texture. For beginners who tend to stick with brushes only, a solid palette knife is a must-have tool for building texture.
Palette Knife Lesson
Squeeze out a whole bunch of paint onto your painter’s palette. If you don’t have one, you can use a sheet of glass (tape off edges for safety), palette paper, paper plates or even a piece of cardboard.
Using only a palette knife, apply paint to the canvas. Wipe off the paint in between colors, unless you don’t mind the random color blending that will occur. Play with different wrist movements, angles and pressure, leaving a little or a lot of paint behind. Use the edge of the palette knife or the tip and explore the lines you can create.
There is no right or wrong, good or bad, only exploration and freedom. Keep going until you have explored the paint as far as you can take it. The result may be an abstract painting, a landscape with depth or just an example of experimental art. Use what you learned in your other paintings, and start incorporating palette knife work alongside your brushwork.