Add to the texture of paintings and drawings, through mixed media colour paint creation. A useful lesson for art and design students.

Communicating textures

Texture can be hard to achieve in painting. In figurative painting, the texture can be as important as colours and forms. Texture is important, because it relates to feelings within an image. A rough texture can communicate the feeling of something being harsh, for example. When people read a painting, the texture almost communicates without the audience realising it, but it has a big impact. It often relies on applying marks in different ways to reflect the object being represented, but its possible to add texture in other ways through the use of mixed media.

There are two interesting ways this can be done:

  1. Through painting on different surfaces.
  2. By combining small textured objects to media (such as rice).



Time: Approx. 2 hours

Aim: Explore the use of textures to communicate feelings


  • Discuss methods of creating texture
  • Represent natural forms through texture
  • Reflect on relationship between texture and communication of work

Activity 1: Break up a page into seperate sections – ideally at least nine. Use each section to mix different colours with mixed media for textures. Make a note of each one, what it feels like.

Activity 2: Mark up another set of sections on a page and use different media to make textured surfaces. Make a note of each one, what it feels like.

Activity 3: Create a composition using both mixed media surface and mixed media paint from an observation study.

Creating selected areas of textured paint

Relate to any project

The examples below are from a project related to nature and try to emphasise some of the harsh textures and weathered forms that the students observed. However, the principle could work for work for any 2D mixed media and painting project. The may even be useful for other projects based in textiles or sculpture.

Small ideas based lessons in relation to whole projects

After doing the initial examples in the test lesson, some students used the ideas in their outcomes. It was useful for some, but not all of the students, although it enriched the whole classes understanding of the possibilities of 2D media.

Introducing new ways of working each lesson is a great way of building up knowledge of different skills, but students will need some time to consider how it relates to their intentions and how to synthesise some of the skills in their own way towards the end of the project.

Daniel Freaker Daniel Freaker Educational Consultant, Painter, Writer, Designer