Adding depth and texture to your paintings
If you like the texture of paintings that shows mounds and gullies of paint rather than the flatter surfaces typical of traditional tonal paintings, you may want to consider using modelling paste with your acrylics.
A similar product is available for oils, and is as easy to use. It is typically called impasto. Both of these products added to the paint will add a large amount of volume without taking away from the intensity of the colour. If it does change to another brand. Good quality ones which I have used are Winsor & Newton and Atelier.
Modelling paste can be applied directly to the canvas before you paint and when dry can be sanded or cut back with a scalpal or sharp knife. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area and cover your mouth if sanding back to prevent breathing in dust in. Also if you apply the paste before you have thoroughly planned your work, you may find that areas are covered that you don’t need. This will mean that you have to wait for the paint to be dry right through before you can cut or sand it back.
The other method is to add the paste and paint together as you work. A good modelling paste or impasto will allow the paint to hold its intensity and cover a lot larger area with a lot more body giving a whole new dimension to your paintings.
The added advantage of using the products is that you use far less paint. If you are using a series 3 or 4 colour, covering a large area can be very expensive, so by adding the paste or impasto can be a way of cutting down the costs of producing a larger painting.
Talk to your art supplier to see what brands they stock and in what sizes. You can usually find a quantity to suit so that you can begin experimenting. Remember though to make sure that you check which paint to use with a particular modelling paste or impasto. Some are only for water based paints and others for oils.
Application to the canvas can be via your palette knife or if you don’t have many of these, I have used spare plastic knives and small trowels. Paste can also be applied with a brush, but remember to clean it immediately as some modelling pastes can dry fairly quickly ruining a good brush. To be safe, I would recommend using a brush that you won’t miss if they get damaged rather than risking a good expensive one.
Overall, once you try using modelling paste of impasto in you paints, and you love the textural effects, you will probably be as enthusiastic about them as I am and continue to use them. They are a fun and economical way of extending your paints and adding a dramatic dimension to your artworks. Try them on canvas and they should flex with it when dry, or on board and it should adhere nicely if you have prepared it for painting. Test and try them out on different surfaces and have fun with the results.
If you would like to follow the tips from Winsor & Newton the link for the videos is: