I love having a variety of textures in my paintings. I have been using Golden and Liquitex water-based, texture-building mediums for a while now and I thought I would share a bit of my painting process. I used to paint in oils, but switched to acrylics about ten years ago for environmental and clean up reasons.
I always add a few more coats of gesso to my canvas, or if I am painting on a cradled board, raw canvas or masonite, I do 3-4 coats of thick gesso.
I like to use the thicker heavy bodied gesso better than the really runny type. I also like to buy it in large bulk containers because I use a lot of it. I use a funnel to pour in to smaller containers if I am painting on location or if I am traveling.
See how nice and thick it is on my palette? I use a large flat brush to put coats on my canvas or board. I usually have a section of my painting, the face or sky, that I want to have a really smooth surface, so I sand a little bit in between coats. Be sure you let the gesso completely dry before sanding or you will have a big wet mess. 😦 (A note about my palette: About a year ago I started using the 13″ x 16″ stay wet palette by Masterson. I absolutely love it! It keeps my paints wet between sessions and saves me money on paints. I bought it from my local art store. If you buy online, just be sure you are not getting the smaller size palette.)
I paint a smooth base coat over the canvas and then sketch in the face or any specific details of my painting. I don’t usually sketch in everything, just the main part that is coming from my sketch book. I also use the old fashioned transfer method I learned in art school. (Years ago!) I take a photo copy of my sketch and then I cover the back side of it with soft charcoal, lay it down over the primed canvas and then trace over the copied sketch. The soft charcoal transfers to the canvas and saves me having to draw it again.
Once I have a sketch, I start to block in some of the colors and I go over my features with pencils, pastels (spraying fixative or painting a clear gel to set the pastels) and thin coats of paint.
Then I begin to add thick texture and paint to sections of the canvas.
Once I have the design established I start to lay in some texture and color. I mix in some Golden gel medium (semi-gloss) with my acrylic paints to start building texture. I use the semi gloss gel mixed with paint early on in my paintings to build body and texture. It is semi-transparent, so I switch to the regular gel (glossy) when I am getting to the top layers so I get clear color and texture. I also use heavy molding paste, coarse molding paste and fiber molding paste (all by Golden) for building texture in my paintings. To get nice thick strokes and peaks of paint, I use a large brush and palette knife, trading off between the two as I paint. When I choose my paint brush, I always choose a brush one size larger than I think I want and it seems to work for me. I know, I try to trick myself! LOL But it works…
This shows the paint with the medium mixed into it. You can see a couple of streaks of the medium as I haven’t completely finished mixing it into the paint.
I wanted the wings to be smooth texture and to fade to the back so I used a large brush and smooth paint for this section of the painting.
I am starting to build the texture of the trees and forest. You can see the difference of texture between the wings and sky vs. the trees and forest. I think the difference in texture adds interest to the painting.
The section of the forest in the finished painting. You can see the shine from the final glaze I put over the paint (3 coats) and the nice peaks and valley of the strokes.
About 3/4 of the way finished, I will add more highlights, details in the hair and face of the fairy and I haven’t put the main trees in yet. I worked from dark to light on her hair.
Detail of her finished face. Can you see all the layers of colors in her hair. I pulled color from all over the canvas to tie her into her environment. I have loved clowns since I was a kid, so I seem to add a few clown like features to my fae faces.
Here is the finished painting again. I hope you enjoyed seeing my creative process.
Have a wonderful, creative day, Janell
9 thoughts on “Building Texture With Acrylics and Mediums While Painting”
Beautiful work, thanks for sharing your process. I haven’t painted with acrylics (except for underpaintings), this intrigues me.
Mary, Thank you.
I would like to say I love your blog and the wonderful and beautiful things you share as well as the inspiration and smiles you bring in doing so! Thank you for being you and I hope even if you do not accept awards you will accept the sentiment expressed as I honor you with one. There is no prize that comes with the award other than my appreciation and being grateful you are part of our world and making a difference by sharing in such a positive way…
I have posted the award and link to it here I hope you will accept it or at least the sentiment behind it! http://artisticlyxpressedthoughts.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/awards-and-shared-gifts/
I enjoyed seeing your process. I too like thick paint and usually use a knife, rarely a brush. But WC remains my true love! 😉
Very interesting process! Thanks for taking the time to shoot photos all through it so that we could see your process.
Thank you, Joe. You are so kind. Thank you for your service to our country. I enjoyed reading your blog.
I love your watercolors, the are so bright and colorful! Thanks for commenting.
Thank you! ♡
Thank you for visiting my blog and liking my newest post! I appreciate it.
Your direction for texture in painting is very clearly written. Your fairy/elf girl is very sweet. I love her little ears sticking out from her hair.
Painting on canvas, that doesn’t include a piece of crafted bag or rug, is an art-form I miss greatly. Unfortunately, my schedule hasn’t allowed for canvas painting. Until recently I was caring for my bedridden partner and I am still getting over her death. I am just barely blogging but I am trying to get beck into a groove I haven’t been in for the last 5 years.
I am happy to read your blog; it reminds me that I LOVE this type of art. You are talented. Thank you for being you! 🙂
Ta Ta for now,
Cathy the Bagg Lady
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