A valuable element in the artist’s codebook is texture because it engages another sense besides sight. Texture is “tactile,” that is, it appeals to our sense of touch. Artists know this element can appeal to viewers and may try to recreate the illusion of texture, or add real texture to stimulate our tactile nature.

Texture is related to value, in that it’s created by modifying the light on a surface (review the element of VALUE). We don’t need to touch a shiny silver bowl to know its surface is hard, smooth, and polished. But we can “sense” a crumpled piece of paper’s texture because of the hundreds of broken, abrupt value changes. In sculpture, hammering, carving, embossing or molding the surface of the material adds texture.

Texture is a powerful art element because it can quickly evoke memories and emotions. Start becoming more aware of textures all around you—the carpet, in the clothes you’re wearing, and the fur on your cat. Finally, look carefully to see how Vincent van Gogh created unique texture in his painting of sunflowers

Look at these different containers and pay attention to the different surfaces.

Can you identify what each is made of? See how you can tell different textures without ever touching the objects? Why is this?

Hint: review Value.

You can also use Van Gogh’s Sunflowers to see how he created the illusion of space by simple overlapping. Flowers closer to us cover up parts of flowers that are supposed to be further away.

Now that you know the basics about Texture, click here to practice what you know.


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