Sunday, April 29, 2012

Painting With Texture Demo

Carolyn Snow, right, with some of her paintings
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of getting out of the rain to attend a free demonstration at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD).  The demonstration was taught by a friend of a friend, Carolyn Snow,   about how to add texture to acrylic and oil paintings.  Carolyn mostly uses modeling clay, pumice and sand to make the most interesting patterns on her canvas either prior to or after creating her design by mixing it with gel and applying the mixture to the canvas.  She stated that sometimes she’ll just apply the mixture randomly to the canvas first and then either use it to jump-start her creativity or manipulate it to fit the idea she has already.  Other times she’ll use it after painting to add texture in select places.

As you can see above, she took a pumice/gel mixture and combined it with different colors of paint to give her a starting point.  For another painting, she had applied sand and gel to her canvas so it was blank except for the texture.  She then went back and forth with other colors, and, to me and my friend, it looked like flowers started to appear on the canvas, without Carolyn even planning it that way.  So it ended up looking like this:

After demonstrating her process, Carolyn invited participants to take canvases that she already manipulated with the sand mixture, and make their own creations.  It was very interesting to see how everyone used their canvas to create their paintings.  Some made a simple design, like Tom, one of the participants, did here:

And others combined different colors in more of an abstract way, like this one:

My friend used her favorite colors to make this wonderful painting, shown here:

And another participant used vibrant, primary colors in her creation, here:

I had a lot of fun taking pictures of Carolyn’s process and learning something I might want to give a go someday.  If you live near beaches, like I do, it’s a free way to break out of an artistic rut and add something new to your paintings. 
This demonstration was sponsored by Ultrecht Art Supplies in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.  For information on future demos, go to

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