I am always drawn to paintings and art forms that have interesting textures; I like the way raised surfaces change the way the light behaves; the way it creates shadows and highlights, and the way the artists have to consider this when adding colour to their work. It makes me want to run my hands over them to get the tactile sensation. Obviously, this is rarely actually possible in galleries, but I still stand in front of these works wishing I could touch them.

I have realised that this is an aspect that I want to bring to my work: I’ve enjoyed experimenting with gesso and a variety of acrylic mediums, and tried out adding aspects of collage to my work. It’s been great fun, but I still find myself not quite satisfied.

I appreciate that my learning journey has only just begun and I have a long, long, way to go to develop my skills and style, but I’ve never quite managed to get that tactile appearance from what I’ve done so far. It’s one of those scenarios when “I’ll know it when I see it”!

Well, I think I may have found a way to achieve what I’m seeking: I have been learning to use Powertex.

This is a fabric hardening liquid (it’s great fun creating sculptures out of fabrics with it), which can also be added to different mediums to create different effects. Last week I completed my Level 2 training where we learned about Stoneart and Stoneart clay: imagine my joy as I turned the surface of objects into rock!

The whole process was so wonderfully tactile anyway: the mixing; pressing; kneading the paste, then rubbing and polishing. The fantastic feeling as you see the textures start to change and develop into a rough-hewn surface of stone.

We were shown how to add other materials to the medium, how to make it crack and split. I could see how this could help me get those wonderfully rugged textures that evoke images of the coast of north Pembrokeshire for me.

I’ve started small with stone hearts and playing with the clay, to consolidate my skills.

I’ve gathered materials for texture and I’ve got some little canvases to experiment on: I am so excited about the next step: not only can I show others the creativity of these media, (see my workshops on my website) but textured paintings, here I come!!

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