In past articles we have looked at Texture Techniques using collage and Gesso with watercolor washes to create physical textures in our paintings. This article will focus on creating visual texture. Visual texture is the illusion of texture brought about by the manipulation of paint. Physical texture is the three dimensional build up of the paper surface to physically alter its texture. Physical texture you can actually run your hand over and feel. Visual texture can only be seen, not felt.
Brushes: 1″ flat, 1/4″ Flat, #2 liner or rigger, Old 1/2″ Bristle Brush
Paper: 1/4 sheet 300gsm Cold Press
Watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Indigo, Alizarin Crimson
Other: Water spray bottle, White Gouache, Brown Pastel Pencil, Burnt Sienna Ink and pen
Square brushes are great for geometric shapes. The rigger or liner brush will be used for the fine lines of detail. The old bristle brush gives those loose random marks that put life into the painting. We will also use some ink lines to add to the texture.
Being such a simple subject there is no need to rearrange things with thumbnail sketches. We can draw straight onto our paper with a brown pastel pencil. There is no need for too much detail a few simple outlines, but be careful where you place things. Avoid lines through the centre of your painting and try not to cut shapes in half.
Start by mixing up some Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna and a little Indigo. We want a dirty yellow/grey – slop it on roughly then, while it is wet, vary the mixture on your palette slightly and drop some of this into the wash.
Add some color
The big door is a mixture of Alizarin Crimson and Quinacridone Gold. Put it in after the first wash has dried. While the door is still wet the shadow on the left can be dropped in with a mixture of Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna. The same mix of Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna can be used for the upper windows.
Use a combination of rigger lines and fine random marks made with your bristle brush to define some of the stones. As you apply the lines soften some of them with your damp 1″ flat brush. Once these lines dry use your 1″ flat brush to put some colour variation into the stone shapes.
Let the wall dry then use your 1/4″ flat brush to paint some detail into the window. Draw lightly into our original shape with a hard lead pencil to make the job of picking out the detail easier. Use Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna to paint the detail.
Texture Techniques Using Ink Lines
Let everything dry again then use your pen and ink to define some of the main stones. Put the ink on and quickly spray it with a fine mist of water to get those nice feathery textures.
Detail can be added to the distant wall with your rigger brush and a mixture of Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna. While you are using this mixture, put some more strength into the stones in the main building.
Spray and Spatter Texture Techniques
Once everything dries some more texture can be added by spraying paint onto some of the stones. Mix up a dark grey and use the bristles of your 1″ flat brush to spray on a fine texture . Don’t over do it, the idea is to get variation into the stones to make them interesting.
Before we get started with the Gouache a dark wash of Indigo can be used to push the distant building further back.
Now it’s time to have fun with some opaque mixtures of Gouache. On a separate palette squeeze out some White Gouache and a small amount of Ultramarine Blue, Quinacridone Gold and Burnt Sienna. We are going to mix a variety of warm pinks to add more variety to the stones in the wall. Some cooler grey can also be splashed in and washed loosely over the top of the wall and foreground stones. Again be careful not to over do it. Just enough to add more variety.
Final Green Contrast
The final step is to put some more interest around the door. Splash on a mix of Quinacridone Gold and Indigo to suggest a small bush. While the paint is still wet, soften some of the edges with your 1″ brush. Wet the paper on the opposite side of the door and drop in a small amount of green to balance the main bush.
An evening in Genoa
In this painting a combination of Watercolor, Gouache, ink and pencil were used to conjure up the textures of the old city of Genoa seen through the haze of twilight and Prosecco.
Stones and Shutters
This painting explores the geometric textures of Siena with a combination of Watercolor, Gouache, ink and pencil lines. A variety of texture techniques are used here to create the brick, timber and wrought iron textures of the city.