Practical Exercise 8 – Texture – Map


Paint: Pebeo acrylic titanium white, process cyan, yellow ochre, ultramarine
Brushes: Pro Arte – flat 3/8”
Tools: Palette knives, cocktail sticks, wooden clothes pegs
Other mediums: Golden Extra Heavy Gel
Support: Daler canvas panel
Size: 25 x 17 cm (10” x 7”)


On the suggestion of my tutor I have been thinking about texture and trying to work with minimal colour, though I have strayed from this in some of the test pieces. I wanted to use this exercise to think again about inner landscapes and ways to capture this.

Session 1

Using acrylic paint and gel medium to create texture

Using acrylic paint and gel medium to create texture

Initially, I referred back to earlier exercises related to mapping the landscape of my childhood. Using aerial photos of the village where I was brought up I created thumbnail sketches and worked on creating a more abstract drawing to work from.

The drawing was transferred to acrylic board and I used a mix of white acrylic and heavy gel medium to build up areas of texture. These represented places that were meaningful to me as a child including the roads and paths used, our house and that of my best friend, the school, tennis court and the burn, wood and fields where we played.

I used a mix of items to create the textures including palette knives, cocktail sticks and a wooden clothes peg for the stones on the small shore of the burn.

Session 2

Adding colour to define texture

Adding colour to define texture

By the next session I was trying to steer clear of adding too much colour but wasn’t sure how to create enough definition and contrast for the eye using only white. I decided to add in the paths in yellow ochre and to use ultramarine to represent the burn and then to develop a small section of the painting to see how the textures would work.

Detail of texture

Detail of texture

I worked process cyan over the stones on the small shore of the burn, the main buildings and across the field in front of our house. This was left to dry and rubbed off with a dry cotton pad to leave a stain of blue. In a similar way I then added and removed a layer of yellow ochre. At this stage I decided to stop in case my need to add colour overwhelmed me.


Technical and visual skills and quality of outcome – Working with white and texture has made me think much more about mark-making and the range of texture a piece like this requires. Paradoxically, there is the need to be conscious of the balance between busy areas of texture and areas of the texture that are calmer on the eye.  I like the way that some areas have been defined in colour and the rest have a ghostlier quality.

Demonstration of creativity and context – In terms of the mapping of inner landscapes this piece is one that I would revisit perhaps creating a larger piece with a square format. I do feel that the areas with no colour need something more to create definition though not necessarily colour, perhaps using collage materials. Something which I think would be worthwhile is more exploration of the textures that can be achieved using the gel mediums and also more testing of mark making with these textures.

Related Posts

Practical Exercise 4 – Artwork – Picnic –

Practical Exercise 5 – Artwork – Map –

Practical Exercise 7 – Texture – Leaves –