That First Texture Paste Layer

Two photos from the very first layer in a new roses painting started on Sunday, in answer to a question about how I use texture paste to create a coloured, textured ground. The first photo was taken moments before I spread it, the second when I’d finished and stopped to let it all dry.

Texture Flower Base Layer no colour yet

Step One: Loosely pencil in composition. A few guidelines only, it’s going to get hidden completely soon. (These spirally squiggles are roses, in my mind’s eye.)

Step Two: Scoop out paste from jar with palette knife and place in strategic spots directly onto canvas. How much comes from practice. (Can easily add more; I use a knife so I don’t contaminate the jar with colour from my brush.)

Step Three: Squeeze out some paint next to texture paste, directly onto canvas. (Again, experience tells me how much, but rather less than more.) Different colours to help me differentiate the roses when I start the next layer.

Step Four: Spread with big bristle brush (at least an inch wide). Occasionally I use the palette knife to scrape texture paste out of bristles, but I clean brush once only, when finished.

Step Five: Check composition, now in texture/colour rather than pencil. Adjust if needed. Leave to dry overnight.

Texture Flower Base Layer
Textured and coloured first layer, following my composition sketch.

There are all sorts of texture mediums available. My favourite is Golden’s Light Molding Paste. This doesn’t shrink too much when it dries, holds its shape, is remarkably light (as the name says) so using it on a big canvas doesn’t make it horribly heavy, and dries to a matte, slightly absorbent surface.

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