22.9.08

Adding Physical Texture to Oil Paintings


A few students and peers recently asked about different options to create *physical* texture in your 2d visual art. Of course, the most obvious option is the use of a palette knife but there are many more. You can build up a foundation before painting (modeling) or mix products with your paint (aggregate). A few are included here with a few links to help you start your research:

- fullers earth
- Light modeling paste (use for acrylic when weight is a factor)
- Ground Glass (Venitians added glass when grinding/mixing pigments technique)
- Resin Sand (alkyds contain resins - like with like)
- Natural Sand / Fine Sand (make sure it's clean)
- Black lava to give sparkle to transparent colors
- Liquitex makes a fibrous gel that creates a fiber effect when it dries
- polyfilla to thicken paint
- Plaster (Fresco) or Venetian Plaster
- Sawdust on wood foundation
- Paper Mache or cloth bound to bear cloth
- Encaustic (mixed with pigment)

Each of these can be an entire art form in it's on right and might be worth researching or taking classes in a given medium that you love.

The most important thing to keep in mind is cohesiveness. Like sticks to like but unlike products (or laying medium in between coats or trying to lay a slick synthetic product over an oil based product) can create a weak bond that will cause peeling and other problems later. Basically, read each product to understand how it bonds. I don't allow many of these products in my studio and suggest researching their health and environmental attributes.

On a Funny Note: If you know me personally, ask me the next time you see me what my father taught us to mix in order to make projects glow in the dark.