Painting with Texture

Have you ever wondered how some artists get those great texture looks on their art pieces? If you are new to the art world, you may not yet know about the different mediums that you can add to your paint to get all those different textures and effects. They are still pretty new too me as well, but I found a great little starter kit of different mediums to try out, and I figured I could do a little test strip to show you exactly what these mediums do. To do that I am using the Liquitex Basics acrylic medium set. 

The Product

Okay, so this is a cute little set of five different mediums you can use. It comes with a modeling paste, a gloss gel, gesso, an iridescent medium, and a coarse texture gel. Now if you have never seen or heard of these things, you might bill a little confused by the names like I was. Gloss is easy, we have all heard that before, but what the heck is a gesso? I am going to take you over all of it, and show you exactly what these things do.

  • Modeling paste- This is an opaque structure paste ideal for 3D effects. You can use it on all surfaces and when you add it to paint it thickens the consistency of it, retaining brush stroke retention. You can use it on its own or with the paint, and when dry it is water resistant.
  • Gloss medium- This is a transparent 3D gloss, that can be used on all surfaces. It can be used on its own to build texture or be added to paint. Thickening the paint to retain brush strokes.
  • Gesso- This is a thick white primer that seals and stiffens and provides surface for the painting surfaces, this is to be used before you paint.
  • Iridescent medium- This provides a pearlescent effect when added too acrylic colors, adding a shimmer too paintings. You can add it too your paint or use after your paint has dried.
  • Coarse texture gel- This dries too coarse sand like finish. When dry you can paint over it, or mix it with your paint before application.

That is the gist of what it says on the back of the box for each one. Already I can tell you the coarse texture is my favorite to use.

Test strip

I went through each of these and did a little strip of each, on one 10×8 canvas so you can see how they compare to each other. I did 2 strips for the modeling paste, gloss, iridescent medium, and coarse texture gel, because it says you can use them with paint or after painting. The gesso is the only one that has one strip, because it used as a primer before painting. All together their are 9 test strips on this canvas.

Modeling paste

First up is the modeling paste. The top strip is the paste alone, I wanted to show how well it gives that 3D effect, so that’s why I put that little lines in their, to get the shadow from the depth of it. That is just one layer of it! The bottom strip is mixed with my yellow ochre paint from masters touch. The paste dries pretty coarse to the touch, but is a great effect. It looks glossy in this photo, because the paint was still a little wet, but it has more of a matte finish.

Gloss gel medium

Next is the gloss gel medium, again the top strip is the gloss on its own. It did say you could use it on its own to build texture or with the paint. Honestly I didn’t think it will too well to texture first. It dried pretty smooth and lost the texture it had. Using it with the paint did add a more texture too it though. Not as much as the modeling paste, but you can feel the ridges in their more than when it is on its own. When it dries it has that smooth feel too it, and of course that glossy look.

After, is the gesso. Now it dried clear so I went a head and painted over it so that you could see it. It is used just too prime your surface, but it does hold the color well. If you have notice that, like with canvas, the surface you are painting on, can have all kinds of small holes or divots in it, that can be difficult to fill in. Using the primer first, will fill in all those little spaces, and allow you to paint easier.

Just few more to go. Now we are on the iridescent medium. This one you can either mix with your paint, or paint it on over after it drys. The top is the paint mixed with the medium, and the bottom is with it painted over the top. Now I did mix white with the purple so that the strips could be told apart from one another. Now the iridescent medium does not dry completely clear, and it has a bit of white in it. It really took some time to try to work it over the whole space, so that you could see the purple underneath. Maybe I used too much, but if that’s the case, then use it really, really lightly.

Last but not least, in fact this one is my favorite. The coarse texture gel, the sand like texture. It is a little odd to use at first, but really is quite interesting. It feels as if their is sand mixed in with a white, or clear paint. In the top strip you can see here, it almost looks like snow even. Does not feel like it though, so don’t be deceived. On the bottom strip, where I mixed it with paint first, you can kind of tell that it does not clump together the same way. The paint thins it out some, but it is still a very noticeable texture.

Where to get it

I am including a link to amazon where you can purchase it, it is the exact set that I used on the strips above. It is an affiliate link, but that does not change the price you would pay for it. That just means that amazon pays me a small amount for using their link. This is how I fun the site, and keep creating for everyone, if you so choose to purchase this item, I thank you for your contribution, and promise a joyous time creating something great with these textures.

Liquitex Basics



Though this was not my typical style of a post, I hope you enjoyed it or learned something non the less. I will be using these textures in my future paintings, and figured it would be best to start with explaining what these textures were. With the upcoming holidays, I won’t have as much time as I would like to be creating, but I figured I could give you an idea of what is to come. Next week their will be no posts, as I will be out of town visiting family for thanksgiving. While out of town, I will be shooting some photos though, to bring back and share with you. Seeing as I do not share photography as much as I would like, I thought I would take this opportunity of a trip, and turn it into a project. After, I will return to the texture paintings, and do my best too bust out a few before Christmas arrives and I travel back too my home town to visit more family. If you have any ideas, tips or tricks, you would like to share on texture and effect, feel free to leave them in the comments!



4 thoughts on “Painting with Texture”

  1. How awesome is your site, and I loved this article!  I just love all the textures and the completely different looks you can get using the Liquitex Basics acrylic medium set.  I like how you painted with each to illustrate, it was like a class online.  Seriously, you are fantastic!  Have you been painting long? 

    1. Hi Babsie! 

      I am so glad you enjoyed it, that is exactly what I was going for. Thank you so much, you are too sweet. I have always had an interest in painting, but didn’t dive in to it fully until about five years ago. At first I just did it for fun for myself, but after a while people started to take interest in my work I would display around my house. I have sold a few that way, but mostly I noticed how many people would say they have wanted to paint, but were not sure how to start, or what to create, and that was my motivation for this site. To hopefully crack open some of those artist secrets and inspire others to create for themselves. 

  2. Although I’ve never laid claim to being any sort of artist, I found this information of the different kinds of texture available totally fascinating.

    Modelling Paste. I really liked the 3-D effect and the shadows you could get from the lines scored in the medium. And although your point of view is that of an artist, I couldn’t help thinking about what a stunning feature wall you create using this. Would it be tough enough for this use, I wonder.

    Gloss Gel Medium. Not as dramatic, but still pretty good looking.

    Gesso. Interesting use as a primer, especially over old canvas that might be an imperfect surface. Hmm… I might be starting to think like an artist!

    Iridescent. I can see how stunning that could look as part of a painting aimed at a dramatic effect.

    Coarse Texture Gel. Almost like mixing sand with paint to get such an interesting finish.

    Good to know that you can get something like this direct from Amazon, too.

    Thank you, McKenzie, for such an interesting article.

    1. Hi Phil, I am so glad you enjoyed it. 

      I think you may have an artist mind with your take on these textures. I know I had some of your same thoughts when I started using these myself. The coarse texture gel is one of my favorites though. I will say I have tried mixing actual sand with paint before, it didn’t turn out as well as that gel did. 

Leave a Reply