Texture

Texture in art can be the feel of a sculpture's surface, or the look of thick paint spread on a canvas. There are many different textures which artists might use to communicate a feeling or idea. Some artists use texture in their art for you to look at, while others use texture, as part of their art which you can touch and feel with your fingers. This is called tactile art.

Sculptures can be made with many different textured surfaces, depending on the material the artist has chosen and the method used to make the sculpture. A metal sculpture may have a very smooth, shiny surface or a bumpy, rough texture, or even be allowed to rust to give a very abrasive or cracked texture.

Texture - Paint  Texture - Clay

In painting artists often use texture to enhance their pictures, or carefully paint their pictures to look like they contain textures. They layer on thick blobs of paint to give the picture surface a three-dimensional quality.

Applied artists use texture to bring tactile qualities to their work. Artists can choose materials which have soft or smooth textures and contrast them with rough or hard textures to create new feelings.

Eastre, Hymn to the Sun by John Duncan Fergusson  © The Fergusson Gallery, Perth & Kinross Council, Scotland.

This sculpture is called Eastre, Hymn to the Sun and was made by John Duncan Fergusson in 1924.

The original head was carved by Fergusson in plaster, and then cast in bronze. The sculpture contrasts smooth textures with some sharp edges which together make it a striking piece of art.

Eastre, Hymn to the Sun by John Duncan Fergusson © The Fergusson Gallery, Perth & Kinross Council, Scotland.

 
Woman Resting by Reg Butler © Estate of Reg Butler.

This sculpture is called Woman Resting and was made by Reg Butler in 1951.

The sculpture is made from metal rods which have been heated and shaped, and then welded together. This gives the sculpture a rough texture covered with bumps.

Woman Resting by Reg Butler © Estate of Reg Butler.

Portrait of J.Y.M. Seated © Frank Auerbach.

This painting is called Portrait of J.Y.M. Seated and was painted by Frank Auerbach in 1976.

Frank Auerbach has used oil paint in thick expressive strokes to create a very textured painting. The painting is also made from two pieces of board, one placed on top of the other, which creates a further three-dimensional layer to the picture and adds more visual texture.

Portrait of J.Y.M. Seated © Frank Auerbach.

La Falaise à Fécamp (The Cliffs at Fécamp)

This painting by Claude Monet is called La Falaise à Fécamp (The Cliffs at Fécamp). He painted it in 1881.

This is an example of an Impressionist painting. Monet has used small bush strokes and contrasting colours to create texture in the picture.