How To Build Texture Into Your Paintings

Have you ever gone into your local art store and looked at all the Golden pots of product and wondered how you would use that product or what it would contribute to your repertoire of products to enhance your work?

I would often stand in front of all those products in awe and wonder what they were for. Yes I knew how to use some however there were many I did not – until this weekend – when I attended a workshop with Chris Cozen who is an artist and represents Golden products. The first workshop was “Mixed Media Madness and Makeovers” and the second workshop was “Contemporary Applications for OPEN Acrylics”. In these two days I learned so much and had so much fun. Chris is such a wealth of knowledge, very relaxed and supportive of wherever you are in your relationship to art and creating and I highly recommend doing any class she may be offering. I find the Golden products absolutely excellent and have been using them for years along with Holbein acrylics which I also love. What I find most exciting about Golden products is the huge range and choice of products from the heavy or liquid paints, the delicious Open acrylics and all their mediums, gels, pastes which allow the artist to create fantastic effects. However that huge choice can be a bit intimidating if you do not know how to use many of them. These workshops allow you to play, get inspired with ideas and learn new techniques – what joy!!

So with the painting above named “Pillars of the Earth” I started by

  • Using Viva kitchen paper damp (dipping it into my water) and squirting some liquid Carbon Black on the canvas and spreading all over to create a wash, then on top I used some heavy Anthraquinone Blue mixed with some heavy carbon black and made sure I covered all the sides of the canvas too – all products are Golden Acrylics and mediums. I let that dry.
  • I then used a 4″ hard rubber roller / brayer (purchased from art supply store) and put some Heavy Gel (Gloss) onto my palette and rolled the roller in that and then put two columns on the top and bottom of the canvas. I then used my palette knife to scrape out the shapes on the bottom, wiping it each time on a towel to get rid of excess and not put it back on the painting and to shape the sides of the columns to add some curvature movement.
  • I then took a piece of cheesecloth and some netting material (all provided by Chris) and used the Soft Gel Gloss to glue them to the canvas – scooping out with palette knife and flattening and scraping onto the cheesecloth. You may be able to see the materials, one is in the center and the netting is on the far right of the canvas – here is a closeup and I set that aside to dry. When you apply these gels they look opaque and they are dry when they turn clear. So that’s how I prepared my canvas. It was the next day that I then applied all my open colors on top, then used a special technique to give a burnished effect (another post soon – also learned in Chris’s class).
  • When dry I would apply a spray gloss varnish to protect and seal everything

This is only one technique for adding texture – there are many. Experiment and have fun.

I will be adding a series of posts covering some of the wonderful techniques that we experimented with in these workshops.

If you are interested in attending a workshop with Chris you can go to her website for details of her schedule. She also offers some classes online and has several books she has written with many techniques covered. Her site is

Here are a few photos from our workshop in Palm Desert, CA – the first photo is of Chris. Thank you Chris for your amazing workshop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *