Alternative Textures to Use in Abstract Paintings

Updated on April 18, 2017
Azure11 profile image

Marian (aka Azure11) has been working as a professional artist since 2006 and has sold over 600 paintings in that time.

Not very easy to see but this one uses my stucco and pva base with some mustard seeds thrown in! Painting is (c) Azure11, 2010
Not very easy to see but this one uses my stucco and pva base with some mustard seeds thrown in! Painting is (c) Azure11, 2010

What Can You use in Your Texture?

As a mainly abstract artist I have come up with some interesting ingredients to use for texture under my abstract paintings. I think probably the most interesting one was where I added masonry nails to my painting texture. I mostly use acrylic paint but this texture base with added ingredients can also be used for oil paintings.

The most common substance for adding texture and depth to a painting is gesso. You can use this to add brushstrokes and sometimes thicker texture but it is not conducive to really deep texture. You can also use paint itself to add texture, particularly left over paint if you are using acrylics.

There are other things you can create texture with that are cheaper than gesso and also give you a thicker base. See this article on alternatives to gesso for details. The article tells you how to use stucco and pva to create your own texture. You can also use plaster with pva and water or artex - try out any available plaster like substance that you can get in your local do it yourself store but make sure you add the pva to enable it to be flexible on the canvas and not crack off. I use this alternative texture to create a great base for my modern abstract squares paintings.

One thing you can do to create fantastic and unusual texture is to add things to your base substance to give it character. Some examples of what you can add are:

  • Rice
  • Split peas
  • Peppercorns
  • Mustard seed
  • Sand
  • Glass beads
  • String
  • Strips of paper or tissue
  • Salt crystals
  • Sawdust

These are just a few examples and the options are pretty much endless. As long as you coat the substance in the texture to seal it (particularly if it is a foodstuff) then it will be fine, especially once it is painted over. Try to choose things that are not too big to start off with and see how you get on, then you can always move on to using things like nails, screws and other larger things if you want to be experimental.

Textured Glass-look Squares Painting

Although this looks simple this painting uses the stucco texture base with carved lines and with a high gloss varnish people often think it is glass! Painting is (c) Azure11, 2010
Although this looks simple this painting uses the stucco texture base with carved lines and with a high gloss varnish people often think it is glass! Painting is (c) Azure11, 2010


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    • carlarmes profile image


      7 years ago from Bournemouth, England

      Like your Hub, I have only been working with abstract art for a short time now and I have found texture to be a crucial ingredient to my own art projects.

    • Azure11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marian L 

      8 years ago from UK

      Thanks Jen, yes I also sometimes get painters block but sometimes just creating some different texture can give me some ideas.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very cool. I guess you could say I have been having a bit painter's block, my photo on my hub is one of them I look at and look at and look at thinking what does it need.

    • StephenSMcmillan profile image


      8 years ago

      Abstract paintings are unique to me. Great hub!

    • Azure11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marian L 

      10 years ago from UK

      Thanks Mike, really appreciate your comments. I have to admit I have always loved abstract art but I can't really tell you why!

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 

      10 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      As a college student I was too stubborn to appreciate abstract art--now it is among my favorite artistic styles. You have a lot of talent and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work here. Thanks for sharing.



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