Thursday, May 22, 2014

Art Journal Thursday: Textured Background Tutorial

I've been playing with texture. There are lots of ways to do this (gluing tissue paper to the page, modeling past with stencils, etc.) but I found this method accidentally a month ago. I was wiping off my gesso-laden palette knife on to a page and then used the same page to soak up some excess thinned acrylic paint (Art Journal Thursday: Unknown) and Eureka! Color variation that creates visual texture!

Sound simple? It is. Here’s the process.

Gather gesso, a palette knife, acrylic paint, baby wipes, paint brushes, jars and water.

Pour a little gesso directly onto the page. Now grab your palette knife and start swiping. Use broad strokes and move the gesso around. Cover as much or as little of the page as you like. Or your can pour just a bit of gesso onto the palette knife and drag it across the page.

You can create little beads of gesso by applying it with a very light touch.

Let it dry.

Now thin some acrylic paint with water. I make my really thin because I want to build the color over several applications. Brush the color wherever you want it. It will look darker where there’s no gesso and much lighter on the gesso.

My favorite brush for this is a large filbert but a flat brush works too.

Using a baby wipe, remove excess paint in places that you want only a hint of color. You can let it dry a little for a different effect. If you do let it dry, you will have a clear brush line so you may have to scrub a little harder to remove it. Be careful not to rub too hard or you could start removing paper not just paint. Let the page dry. If you want a more intense color, reapply.

Baby wipes are a great tool to move paint around or just plain remove it.

You can also add more gesso with a palette knife. Then reapply paint.

This would also be a great way just to add clouds.

Here’s the finished page!

Let me know how this technique works for you. I’d love to see what you do with this technique. You can send me your photos at

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