written by Beatriz Palma Astroza

Texture Definition

The textures are endless: rough, smooth, and they are classified according to their nature.

We can consider texture, a meadow, the fabric of a vest, the stones in a riverbed, the tracks of our shoes on the ground, the fur of an animal, the brushstrokes on a canvas, the capture of a photograph with certain enhancements caused by light.

Texture is the appearance of a surface and determines the perception of objects, brings us closer to their nature, and depending on it, it will transmit one or another sensation.

The valuable quality of information provided by texture has been used by artists to represent reality or to explore it in order to communicate an idea or feeling or to express themselves through the search for their own stamp or style.

Aguas y Andes del Sur - Mario Lagos.

Tactile and visual texture

It is part of the language of painting linked to discourse. It starts with the texture of the canvas itself, the quality of the thread, the number of its weave.

In painting and sculpture, for example, texture appears with the addition of materials that are perceived as variations or irregularities on a continuous surface. Texture is a tactile attribute; it is perceptible through the sense of touch.

But not only sensations are perceived through touch, but when we observe a texture without touching it, psychic emotions come; for this reason, the tactile texture goes hand in hand with the sense of seeing and touch.

In this way we will have texture in the two-dimensional and three-dimensional works.

Mirror theory - Ileana Rincón-Cañas

Texture as a compositional element

The texture in an artwork enriches its expressiveness giving it more realism. The texture expresses and transmits sensations in the viewer.

Within an artistic composition, textures are used as elements to focus on certain points and with certain objectives.

This way you can choose which parts of the work will have one way or another to reach the viewers.

The texture is expressive, significant and by itself transmits variable reactions in the viewer; a compact texture can feel heavy, while a porous one will seem lighter. When artists make their work, texture becomes a powerful communication tool, taking matter to a higher level than it is, to increase the degree of content to be transmitted in their artwork.

Todos somos uno - Nicole Reiss Rendic

Types of textures

Textures are classified by their origin, their configuration, and their uniformity.

By its origin: Natural or Artificial. Natural are those that have not been created by man, the texture of a stone, for example. The artificial ones are those that we take and modify.

By its configuration: Tactile or visual. Tactile on a three-dimensional surface and visual on a two-dimensional surface.

By its uniformity: In organic or geometric.

Applying texture in art

In art, textures are used to give an expressive and communicative effect that helps us better understand the work. There are artists who create textures by applying color directly with the palette knife or with other materials such as sand, sugar, rice, etc.

The application of textures in artworks (abstract or realistic) is essential to convey feelings and sensations. This application is not the same in all works, in the case of drawing the textures will be two-dimensional (visual), but in painting they can take on some relief (more pasty pigment), or by the addition of other materials (fabrics, plastic, sand, wood, etc.), being completely three-dimensional in sculpture and architecture. In photography, texture is achieved according to how the light hits the surface and how the focus is achieved on it.


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