Texture is such a key component in mixed-media art; it’s often what gives a piece its wow factor. Creating textured art isn’t always a laborious process, as the 2017 Art Lessons: Texture Adventures prove. You can achieve visual and physical texture in a few quick steps, and incorporate the techniques in every type of project, including stitch, collage, and art journaling. Tons of ideas and projects for textured art are available now in one download: Art Lessons: 2017, The Texture Adventure Series Collector’s Edition. This 12-part series is perfect for artists of all levels, and it will be your stalwart companion as you explore paint, mediums, stitching, creating patterns, and more.
As proof that texture can be created in no time, here are five quick techniques for putting more oomph into your artwork. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill methods, mind you—you must try them yourself!
1. It’s 5:00 somewhere: When alcohol meets acrylic paint, amazing things happen to produce textured art. In Art Lesson Vol. 3: Venetian Plaster Party by Sandra Duran Wilson, an underpainting is created by spreading diluted acrylic paint on an Ampersand Encausticbord. While the paint is still wet, the surface of the board is sprayed with 70% rubbing alcohol, which, as Sandra explains, changes the viscosity of the paint and moves it away from the drops of alcohol, creating a gorgeous mottled surface and lots of visual texture.
Although she builds on that early layer, that dappled design doesn’t diminish.
This technique is also incorporated in Sandrine Pelissier’s Art Lesson Vol. 1: Custom Sketchbook with Spirograph Designs, to create visual texture on a painted sketchbook cover. Try this simple alcohol and paint trick for an incredibly easy way to create freeform patterns.
2. Tale of the tape: Time to excavate your junk drawer for that roll of duct tape—you’re going to need it for your next piece of textured art. Katie Blaine incorporates duct tape in Art Lesson Vol. 6: Texture Techniques on Black, and if you didn’t know that’s what created the cool, grungy surface, you’d likely never guess. To begin the piece on canvas, she recommends tearing the tape into pieces of varying lengths (no more than 6″ long), and letting the strips wrinkle and overlap as they’re placed on the edges. The resulting wrinkles and uneven edges are the starting points for lots of texture; light molding paste is layered on after that, then black gesso.
After adding collage, oil pastels, paint, and more, the resulting mixed-media artwork is a strong, eye-catching piece with lots of attitude. It’s no wonder that Katie was inspired by New York City at night.
3. The write stuff: Handwriting is frequently a part of art journal pages and collage, but it’s usually not thought of as a textural element. Deborah Boschert shows us that handwriting can indeed be an element in textured art in Art Lessons Vol. 12: Expressive Surface Design. Her fabric collage includes several printing methods, one of which is writing on fabric. “Script is a beautifully graphic element to add to the fabric,” she says. “Because each artist’s handwriting is unique, the design is immediately one of a kind.” Deborah recommends using your own handwriting, but altering it so it’s illegible: “This encourages the viewer to take in the overall impact of the fabric collage, rather than trying to decipher the text.”
In the lesson, she offers tips for how to do this, and for how to incorporate it in a beautiful collage, like “Flouring Framework 2”:
4. Bubbling up: Tyvek is one of those familiar/unfamiliar mixed-media art materials. Often used for envelopes, the manufactured material is also an artist’s best friend, since it’s super strong and can be manipulated in so many ways. Sandra Duran Wilson shows us how in Art Lessons Vol. 4: Real and Implied Texture. To create an abstract floral still life, she uses painted Tyvek, but alters it using heat. For one method she creates holes, and for another, the material shrinks and creates a bubble-like texture.
In just a few seconds, elements for amazing textured art are created and ready to use; check out Sandra’s gorgeous piece!
5. The big reveal: Most of us think of spray paint as a flat color medium, but Nathalie Kalbach takes it to another level in Art Lessons Vol. 10: Tactile Art Inspired by Street Art. She reveals several texture techniques using spray paint, one of which involves using deli paper or aluminum foil. After one color of paint is sprayed and left to dry, a contrasting color is sprayed on top. While that layer is still wet, Nathalie presses the paper into the paint, twisting it; this adds textures and pattern, lifting the wet paint to allow the first color to show through.
Her spray paint techniques are perfect for textured art, as you can see in this piece, “Watertower”: