January 23, 2018
  • How to get texture into your art.

Applying Paint to Texture

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Texture applied to the canvas

Once you have made your texture and have applied it to the canvas, it is advisable to leave the texture to dry overnight so that all of the thickest parts of the texture have dried out.

If you have created the texture using my texture recipe then you can apply this to the canvas really thickly and it will not reduce or shrink back too much.

In some cases it might be necessary to leave the texture to dry for longer than 12 hours but this is really only if you have applied it extremely thickly. (I usually just leave it overnight).

Make Marks and Patterns

The more patterns and marks you make in the texture, the wider the variety of paint effects you can use to apply the paint on the texture.

Pick any household implements to use to make marks in the texture, like forks, spoons, sticks etc.

Apply Many Coats

I can’t stress too much how much better the painting looks when you apply many layers of paint.

To start off with I always apply a watered down coat of a neutral colour to the textured base.

Use about 1 part paint to 1 part water and make sure that you cover the whole canvas and get into all the cracks in the texture. Let this initial coat dry before adding any further paint layers on.

When applying paint to texture, the paint has a different translucence than it does purely on the canvas and you can get more vibrant colour effects if all the texture is initially covered.

One thing I recommend that you do before creating a painting with heavy texture is to create a trial piece on a small canvas, perhaps marked out into squares with different types of texture in each – perhaps some scraped marks, some added swirls, some deliberate cracks etc.

Apply Paint in Different Ways

Try applying paint in different ways to the texture and in many layers. Some examples of ways of applying paint to texture are:

  1. Apply the paint straight from the tube/bottle(i.e. in its original consistency) but leave it for about 30 seconds before wiping some of it off with a cloth or tissue. This enables some of the paint below to show through.
  2. Use a very watered down version of the paint to create a glaze – this can be quite useful to apply over the top of your colour and will show in the cracks of the texture particularly if you use a dark colour. You can just do this in some areas where there is deeper texture or else apply it all over the painting. You can also rub some of this off with a cloth to get different effects.
  3. Use some dry-brushing on the textured surface so that it only covers some of the higher texture. Make sure you really don’t have much paint on your brush and that the brush is completely dry before you use it. This is quite a good thing to do as a last layer and I often use white, silver or gold to do this.
Use these techniques in lots of layers and it will enable you to build up a texture painting with different colours showing through.
Keep wiping back the paint as you put it on to get an ‘aged’ kind of effect.

What to Use to Apply the Paint

I don’t often use brushes to apply paint! You can use an ordinary kitchen sponge to apply paint to the texture and also use a damp sponge to wipe away some of the paint. Try also using the green scourer side of the sponge to scrub back some of the paint.
Also, once you have painted all of your layers, you could add some gold or silver powder by rubbing small amounts either onto raised areas of the painting, or into cracks.
In this textured painting I rubbed silver powder into certain areas at the end.

Comments List

Jane MacNeilNovember 6, 2016 10:58 am / Reply

Can you tint or color your homemade texture paste with acrylic paint and paint similar to impasto paintings?

    adminNovember 6, 2016 2:03 pm / Reply

    Yes you can although you will only end up with pastel colours because of the nature of the texture.

AngelaJanuary 24, 2016 2:25 am / Reply

Could you add food coloring to the texture before you apply to the canvas?

    adminJanuary 24, 2016 8:55 am / Reply

    I'm not sure if food colouring might have some kind of shelf life to it. You could add paint to it which is something I have done in the past but because the texture is white it does tend to end up pastel coloured.

    Elizabeth FreedmanJune 16, 2016 7:15 am / Reply

    Do I have to use your recipe, i.e. a homemade one, or can any of the textures on the market okay? I love this process and can't wait to try it! Also, what type of canvas or board should be used? Thank you

      adminJune 16, 2016 8:00 am / Reply

      Hi Elizabeth, you can use any kind of texture for this. I just find my recipe gives a thicker base which works really well with lots of layers of paint but any of the others are fine too. You can use it on a standard stretched canvas or on a canvas board. In fact you can use it on primed wood too and probably a bunch of other surfaces I haven't even thought of. I think the key with this kind of stuff is just to experiment and almost think that there are no rules!

biancaNovember 16, 2015 12:06 am / Reply

can you create a texture as your background and then do a image transfer into it then paint it?

    adminNovember 25, 2015 10:15 am / Reply

    With this texture you can just use it as your medium for doing what you would normally do with a canvas or a board so I would think you can do whatever you like before painting it. Feel free to share any results if you try this.

Mary Mauro JardineSeptember 2, 2015 3:05 pm / Reply

Hello....I was hoping that you could let me know what the recipe is for your texture.....Thanks so much

    adminSeptember 2, 2015 3:59 pm / Reply

    Hi, yes you can find it here http://www.painting-texture.com/make-your-own-texture/ :-)

sheralJune 14, 2012 3:55 am / Reply

hi, thankyou sooomuch for sharing your art tips!! i have tried your recipe for texture and when i tried touse oil paint over it the texture completey absorbed the paint immediated and i was not even able to spred the paint over again. it this normal or did i go wrong somewhere. please let menknow what kind of paints you use. i used winsor newton oil paints mixed with liquin/linseed oil. please help coz i am craving to create my own painting:). thanks once again.

    adminJune 14, 2012 10:48 am / Reply

    Hi sheral and thanks for your comment. I mostly use this texture with acrylic paint but I have occasionally used it with oils. If I do then I will add a coat of acrylic on top of the texture before I start using the oil paint so that might help to stop it absorbing so much.

      GrahamOctober 21, 2015 9:41 am / Reply

      Some people seal the texture layer with gesso and then a clear colorless acrylic binder.

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