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Adding Texture

Some time ago, when I discovered the Pique Assiette method of mosaic making, I realised that I love texture. Specifically, I love different textures and seeing them in the one place makes me happy. This stage of my artistic process also taught me that I am definitely not a minimalist: particularly as it relates to texture; more is more.

That's why I love the work of Niki de saint Phalle and Kaffe Fassett. Their work is dripping with over-the-top colour and texture. It envelopes you and transports you into another magical world.

Texture helps us out with our daily lives. It is added to pavements to stop them from being too slippery. The same happens to tiles we put on our bathroom floors. The reason? That bit of extra texture creates friction, which helps us stay in firm contact with the ground. As artists we need a bit of texture on the surface we are working on with charcoal or soft pastel for the same reason. If the ground is too smooth, the pastel or charcoal will just slide off the paper.

Conversely, we are not so fond of texture in other contexts. Particularly our skin. Women especially spend millions of dollars every year trying to erase the texture that inevitably forms as our skin ages. And yet, the texture on our skin evidenced by wrinkles and other imperfections are indicators of the story of our lives. And, again for we artists, there is often a preference to draw or paint a subject with a "lived in" face than one that is smooth and flawless.

Texture, whether we like it or not adds interest to our lives. You gotta take the rough with the smooth, right? Sometimes the bumps in the road are unpleasant and hard to deal with. But we need variety and spice in our life to add...well...texture. "Texture" in our life builds character, often much more so than for people who have had a comfortable and smooth ride throughout their lives, not that too many of those exist.

Adding texture in your life and in your art, relies on a variation of tones - from dark to light and a range of shades in between. Variety in the lights and darks is key. You can't create texture without that variety; the obvious difference in the look and feel of various parts of the whole. So take some risks, create variety and allow for fluctuations between light and dark. If everything in life or in your artwork is the same smooth texture, neither is likely to be all that interesting!

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