Techniques and Tips

Top Artists All Know How to Paint This

Top Artists All Know How to Paint This


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How to Paint Texture 4 Different Ways

How does a beginning painter become a good painter? A good painter become a great one? It is all about understanding that paintings operate both optically and tactilely, and that the latter — paint textures — is a painter’s secret weapon.

What are the tactile components of a painting?

  • Surfaces.
  • Sheens.
  • Textures.

These qualities never get emphasized enough. Paint texture allows our eyes to “feel” a painting just as if we were drawing our fingers across its surface. The more we understand texture — or tactile variation — the more articulate a painting’s message.

If you ignore the tactile surface quality of your painting, it is the equivalent of thready whisper instead of a clear, gorgeous aria. You leave an incredibly sumptuous, sensual part of painting out of the conversation.

Don’t make that mistake. Incorporate paint texture into the equation of your paintings from now on. Here are four ways to start.

Thick Relief Paint Texture

High-relief texture in this van Gogh offers a dramatic tactile experience and is one way to attract attention to the surface.

With Tactile Materials

Unusual materials can add tactile interest. Here a painted image is overlaid with shattered glass, adding relief texture with reflective qualities.

Sheen Variation

Varying sheens using both gloss and matte in separate areas can also add surface interest. In this detail, glossy sheens contrast with matte areas using metal leaf, paint and glass beads.

Varying Paint Texture with Other Elements

This abstract background includes a variety of textures, providing contrast to the smoothly painted sofa.

Perfect Paintings, Every Time

Paint texture brings us one step closer to actualizing our own perfect paintings. And by perfect, I mean perfect for you — the individual artist. Nancy Reyner’s Perfect Paintings Collection is in lockstep with this idea: helping artists articulate what is “perfect” for them with exercises, techniques and crucial information geared toward letting you shine through your art.

Embrace the messy, creative tangle that is “art” and you are going to find your kind of perfection along the way. Enjoy!


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