Monday, March 16, 2015

Adding Texture to an Acrylic Painting

We have had buckets of welcome rain this last week! The lake has been steadily rising, and water is back under the boathouse - it's shallow, but it's progress.

And I've been in my studio making progress of my own..
This is the now completed painting 'Swallows'. I wrote about this piece in a previous post, musing on some of the work I knew needed to be done with color and composition.
 And then I decided it needed texture.

Going back in time, here it is on the easel about two thirds complete, with it's bright under painting in full glow, and its compositional pieces floating around like untethered boats.

Before pulling the composition into line, I glazed the painting with subdued shades of gray and blue.
For those of you who don't paint, shades are colors that have been altered by the addition of black to reduce their brightness.
 It helped, but it wasn't enough. During the fall and winter months the dried beach grasses create a maze of subtle textures. So I decided to apply a variety of different papers to the surface of the painting to enhance that effect.

Made from natural fibers, these beautiful papers are largely transparent allowing the painting to show through.  They are applied by brushing under and over the torn pieces with the same acrylic medium that is used to thin paint to a glaze consistency.

Taped above the painting is the original color sketch.
The color is certainly dramatically subdued from my first quick strokes of paint!

Here's a close-up of the new texture before I continued to paint over the top of the papers.

And once again here is the final version.
The composition has been pulled into balance by eliminating some colors and using a gradation of color in other areas to guide the eye in a rough figure eight around the canvas.

The original and print editions will be available at


  1. What a beautiful work of art! To see its vibrant beginnings and the soft but textured surface today, very interesting. Thanks for sharing the process.

  2. Such a beautiful painting, Suzanne. The texture adds so much interest, I admire your talent!