Texture is perceived by touch, for example, when we feel the bark of a tree. It is an important element in the image language. Textures can create an invisible sensation on a painted canvas. Characteristic of a surface is that it has texture. We feel it if we touch it with our skin, hand. An artist tries to create the suggestion of a “visual texture” that we perceive with our eyes, this is the appearance of a texture.
Visual textures suggest feel sensations such as softness, roughness, hardness. In this way it intervenes in our perception and feelings that creates a work of art. The artist can use texture as expression to influence the contents of the image or to convey certain ideas or feelings. With texture we can enrich the expressiveness of a plane. It is not the same white background, or the insinuation of a plant texture on the same surface. Texture can also determine the composition of an image.
There are two ways to make them work
1. Visual texture (or graphic textures)
The visual texture is to make it with painting, drawing or picture of a texture, through graphical means. This we notice only through our eyes. We want to create the illusion to make relief, create volumes. We create areas of light and dark. Painting, drawing or photograph work with two dimensions. When making textures, a three-dimensional effect appears, so that we experience the thrill of real objects.
2. Tangible texture
On a support, canvas or paper, you can apply real textures. You can use paper, sand, and many other materials, working with the thickness of the paint, applied with a spatula or brush, or, for example rope, these are all surfaces with real feel sensation. I use both. In many of my works, I stick paper, rope, pieces of paper that I combine on the surface with pasta. I also use graphic textures, especially inspired by organic, free, not geometric shapes.
What shapes, lines, structures do we need to use these textures? The observation of natural textures is a strong and rich inspiration, the skin of a crocodile or the wing of a butterfly. For me, these are mainly plants. These are full of elements to observe. It is important to get close, to look at the detail and to search for their shape and texture. Forget the color and try to see all this black and white … Also artificial textures, created by man are interesting surfaces like bricks, silk, velvet, porcelain …
The texture affects emotions and gives a personal response, attraction or rejection. A smooth, uniform texture can give a nice sense of calm, a rough, irregular, geometric structure can give us a dynamic rhythm. The interior design texture plays a fundamental role. We are in physical contact with the space where we live or work. A bearskin pillow is not the same as a silk pillow. Textures can move us to the feeling of summer or winter.
When painting you can get this feeling that evoke textures in many ways:
– with shading
– color – gradation
– gradations of tone (light-dark)
– laying shapes together
– direction of the stroke change
– small or large areas of the stroke
– paint thickness
– scratches, abrasion
– splashing paint with a brush, brush or toothbrush
– use paste, sand, glue, varnish …
– slices of materials like cardboard, rope …
In the visual arts is less talked about texture than on color and shape. However, it is of essential importance. It is something that is present, and that excites our senses and we are taken, it enriches the artwork. Texture gives us an almost invisible feeling.
Illustration and photos: Ángeles Nieto