Texture is used a lot in particular in abstract art to make a painting less flat and have much more depth and variety and even to create subtle meanings or suggestions. By adding texture to a painting you can have different colours showing through the painting from underneath creating a kind of air of mystery to your abstracts and to enable you to have more than just flat colours.
The most common and easily obtained substance for adding texture to a painting is gesso. You can use this to add brushstrokes and sometimes thicker texture but it is not conducive to really deep texture. There are also some other texture mediums that you can buy straight from the art shop but often these are expensive for a small pot that may not go too far on the canvas. Also, if you are using acrylics, you could save any left over paint and use this thickly underneath your painting to provide extra texture.
If you want to create your own texture then use my tips for creating the base of the textureand from there you can add various substances to vary the effect of the base of your paintings.
Some examples of what you can add are:
These are just a few examples and the options are pretty much endless. As long as you coat the substance in the texture to seal it (particularly if it is a foodstuff) then it will be fine, and will be well sealed once it is painted over. Try to choose additives that are not too big to start off with as even the smallest things, like sand, can create a noticable effect, then you can always move on to using things like nails, screws and other larger things if you want to be experimental.
Try using the added materials just in one area of the painting or use the rule of thirds to accentuate certain areas of the painting with the texture.
The options are pretty wide as to what you can use to add to your texture base. It just needs to be a substance that won’t degrade in time. Generally if you coat it with the texture and then paint over it most things will be sealed in to the painting and so will not degrade. So, experiment, have fun, and see what you can create.