If you are applying a heavy texture to your canvas then the best way of applying this – whether you want the texture to be quite smooth or very rough – is to use a cake slice. This one is almost the exact one that I use and you need a very sturdy one so that the handle does not bend (I did have a cheap one but the handle kept bending to the point where it broke) under the pressure of the texture.
Scoop the texture up as if you are going to ice a cake, and apply it in a similar way. You can use this cake slice to apply a lot of texture at once – although if you apply too much it is likely to crack and take a while to dry – or you can just scrape some texture on using the edge – this can give you a dappled effect like clouds for example.
Here is a cut out from a painting where I have just applied some light texture by scraping the cake slice over the canvas before painting and leaving to dry overnight.
Paint was then applied in both straight format from the pot, as a glaze and by dry brushing on top of the light texture.
When painting over texture, in particular texture that is heavy, I often use large brushes to apply at least the first couple of coats. I guess this might be because I create large abstract paintings and so you need large brushes to cover the whole painting.
The brushes that I use are not expensive ones as large artist brushes can be very expensive. So instead of using artist brushes I often use ones that are actually designed for DIY. As long as you keep an eye on any stray hairs that may come out of the brush then these cheap brushes can be really good. Remember in particular with acrylic paints that you need to keep the brushes washed so that the acrylic paint does not dry out as it can do quite quickly.
With my large abstract paintings I will use a number of different coats of paint from neat paint straight out of the pot, to heavily watered down paint and often I also use dry brushing with big brushes to add highlights to the texture.
So you can find below an example of the types of brushes I use – you can get plenty of brushes like this and I have a whole stack to choose from so that I still have a dry one available for when I need to do the dry brushing.