Basic Art Element — Texture

Anything that has a surface has some type of texture. Texture is the way a surface looks and feels. It is experienced in two ways — with touch (tactile) and with our eyes (visually). Fine artists often use texture in the following ways to:

  • create a focal point
  • add interest
  • provide contrast
  • visually balance their compositions

tractor tire oil paintingTractor Tire
Still life by Teresa Bernard
12″ x 16″
Oils on gallery wrap stretched canvas

>> More info


Texture is essential in paintings to make objects appear to be real. Even in abstract paintings texture can serve to enhance the viewers experience by suggesting certain feelings or mood regarding the artwork. Texture can also serve to organize and unify various areas of a composition.

Texture can either add to or take away from the overall effect of the composition. When it is used haphazardly or in the wrong way, it can confuse or clutter the painting. However, when used with deliberate skill, texture will bring a composition together creating the illusion of realism and adding unity.

There are two types of texture — tactile and visual.

Tactile texture is the real thing. It is the actual way a surface feels when it is felt or touched, such as rough, smooth, soft, hard, silky, slimy, sticky, etc. 3-D art such as sculpture and architectural structures are tactile in nature because they can be felt. An example of real texture would be wood, sandpaper, canvas, rocks, glass, granite, metal, etc.

Even the brush strokes used in a painting can create a textured surface that can be felt and seen. The building up of paint on the surface of a canvas or board, so that it creates actual texture, is called impasto. Painters may choose to apply their paints thickly or thinly depending on overall effect that is wished to be achieved.

Visual texture is not real texture. All textures you observe in photographs are visual textures. No matter how rough objects may seem to appear in a photograph, the surface of the photograph is always going to be smooth and flat to the touch.

Artists can create the illusion of texture in their paintings by simulation or implying it through the use of various art elements such as line, shading and color. It is created by repeating lines, dot or other shapes to create a pattern. Varying the size, density, and orientation of these marks will produce other desired effects as well.


boat fenders canvas artStill Life with Boat Fenders
Marine life by Teresa Bernard
9″ x 12″
Oils on canvas panel board

>> More info


Common Textures

Although there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of different types of texture, nonetheless, all texture will fall under two broad categories — rough and smooth. For example:

Rough Smooth
Course Fine
Bumpy Slick
Dry Wet
Flat Wrinkled
Scaly Silky
Glossy Matte
Sandy Slimy
Hairy Bald
Hard Soft
Prickly Velvety
Sharp Dull
Sticky Slippery

What other textures can you think of? Comment below.

Your Next Art Lesson

If you enjoyed this lesson, be sure to check out another one in this series.

The Basic Elements of Art (Introduction)

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 2

Basic Art Element — Form

Basic Art Element — Line

Basic Art Element — Shape

Basic Art Element — Space

Basic Art Element — Texture

Basic Art Element — Value


Developing an Art Style of Your Own

vincent van gogh self portrait
Vincent Van Gogh – Self-Portrait 1886

One of the greatest compliments I ever received was from a renown artist who, after having viewed several of my paintings, pointed out that I had my own art style. I was surprised to hear that, because without realizing it, through the years, I had actually developed my own unique style of painting. Up until that day I hadn’t given much thought to even having my own style much less trying to develop one. What’s more, I barely even knew what an art style was. I knew all the Old Masters had it, or so I was told, and that it was something good to have. So I set out to find out more about artistic style, what it is and where it comes from.

What exactly is art style?

Artistic style is a specific characteristic or group of characteristics that is consistently present in the artworks of an artist. It’s that extra little thing, referred to as “identifiable style,” that an artist does to distinguish his/her work from the work of other artists.

Many artists, whether they realize it or not, have an identifiable style of painting. Their personal style is neither good or bad. It is simply the result of the particular choices and decisions a painter makes in the course of composing their oil paintings. These decisions are what defines the identity of an artist’s style and is made up of a combination of the mediums, technique and subject matter chosen. It’s not that an artist chooses to paint landscapes, still life or portraits — those are only genres. Rather, it is HOW the artist handles each of the various art elements (line, form, texture, value, color and shape) that make up the composition. Click for more information about the basic art elements.

Should you develop an art style of your own?

If you ever hope to be taken seriously as an artist, then I would definitely say “YES,” for the following reasons:

(1) Developing your own original style will help to define you and set you apart from other artists. It’s your individuality and uniqueness as an artist.

(2) It’s what allows others who view your work and know that it is a work painted by you without having to look at the signature on the canvas.

(3) It offers you a way to have personal satisfaction from your works by expressing your own ideas and inner vision.

(4) If you plan to display your paintings in art galleries, then a distinct art style is something a gallery owner or curator will want to see in your work.

(5) Finally, developing your own style is a necessary thing if you want your paintings to capture the eye of art collectors. Many collectors hold to a certain opinion of, “if it looks just like the real thing, then I’ll just take a photograph and hang it on the wall.” For many art connoisseurs, an artist’s personal style is the essence of the art.

How do you develop your personal painting style?

Before I can tell you how to do that, I first need to tell you how to absolutely NOT develop one. You won’t develop your own style by copying the works of other artists. Let me repeat that. If you copy the works of another artist, you will never develop a unique art style of your own. The reason for this is when you copy someone’s work, you are merely imitating the choices and decisions that have already been made by the artist who’s work you are copying. Novice painters often do this. They copy the works of other artists they like and this is a disservice to the world of art. As long as they continue to do this, they will never develop their own form of unique artistic expression and move beyond being a mere hobbyist to a serious artist or even a professional one. Your style is developed by the decisions and choices YOU make about the different elements that go into your painting.

An artist’s unique style does not develop over night. It evolves over time as a result of either conscious or unconscious effort on the part of the artist and it will most likely change a number of times as the painter grows as an artist. The best way to develop a style is to do a lot of painting. In doing so, you can expect your style to progress as you acquire more experience, knowledge and skills. As you move from painting to painting, you will find that certain artistic characteristics or qualities will keep reoccurring. This is your unique style. One thing to keep in mind about style is that you do not have to stick with the same one all your life. You can change it at any time and you will be surprised to find that it can and often does evolve.


Index of Art Articles

Jump to articles about:

Art Glossary  |  Art Lessons  |  Art Resources  |  Art Supplies  |  Art Tips  |  Artist Blog  |  Business of Art

• Art Appreciation

5 Tips on Choosing an Oil Painting for Your Home or Office

A Practical Guide To Caring For Your Oil Paintings

Becoming an Artist of Space Paintings

Classification Of Fine Art Paintings By Genre

Evening Sky Captured in a Sunset Oil Painting, The

Everyone Loves Wildlife Art

Floral Canvas Art In Your Home

Flower Art Through The Ages

Flower Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, The

Flower Paintings of Vincent van Gogh, The

For The Love of Flower Oil Paintings

From Flower Gardens to Flower Paintings

Importance of Varnishing Oil Paintings, The

Know Your Art Painting Styles: 7 Most Popular

Many Types of Oil Painting Surfaces, The

Notes on Becoming an Artist of Flower Oil Paintings

Paintings of Sunsets by Claude Monet

Proper Care of Your Sunset Oil Paintings

Some Things To Consider When Buying Oil Paintings For Your Home

Speaking the “Lingo” of Oil Painting Artists

What Are The Classifications of Art?

What is Art Appreciation?

What is Fine Art?

Why Space Paintings Are Loved By So Many


Auvers, France church painting“Van Gogh’s Church at Auvers, France”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
20″ x 24″
Oils on gallery wrap stretched canvas

>> More info


back to top

Art Glossary

Glossary of common art terms and their definitions.
A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


yellow rose flower painting“Yellow Rose of Texas”
Flower Art by Teresa Bernard
18″ x 18″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


back to top

• Art Lessons

Basic Elements of Art, The

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 2

Basic Art Element — Line

Basic Art Element — Space

Basic Art Element — Texture

Basic Art Element — Value

Can You Name These Famous Paintings From History?

Good Design Principle: An Introduction

Good Design Principle: Balance

Good Design Principle: Contrast

Good Design Principle: Emphasis

Good Design Principle: Movement

Good Design Principle: Proportion

Good Design Principle: Space

Good Design Principle: Visual Economy

Good Design Principle: Unity

Test Your Knowledge of Art Appreciation

Test Your Knowledge of COLOR Theory

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Elements and Principles of Design

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Painting


western sunset oil painting“Cowboy Sunset”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
24″ x 18″
Oils on gallery wrap stretched canvas

>> More info


back to top

• Art Resources

Art Movements From A – Z

Bible Scripture and Visual Art

Blog and Article Topics for Fine Artists

Career Options For The Fine Artist

More Places To Sell Your Art Online

Some Famous Places Around The World That Would Make A Great Sunset Painting

Some Popular Beaches Around The World That Would Make Fabulous Oil Paintings

Some Unearthly Landscapes Around The World That Would Make Extraordinary Space Art Paintings

Where To Sell Your Art Online


painting with covered wagon“Covered Wagon on the Prairie”
Western landscape by Teresa Bernard
20″ x 16″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


back to top

• Art Supplies

About Artist Stretcher Bar Frames

All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Artist Brushes and Then Some — Part 1

All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Artist Brushes and Then Some — Part 2

All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Artist Brushes and Then Some — Part 3

Anatomy of The Artist Paint Brush

Artist Grade or Student Grade Oil Paint, Making a Choice

Common Paint Media Used By Artists

Complete List of Art Supplies for The Beginning Oil Painter

There Are Palette Knives and Then There Are Painting Knives

Taking The Mystery Out of Mahl Sticks

Types of Artist Brushes for Oil Painting

Types of Canvas Available for Painting

Types of Bristles for Oil Painting Brushes

What Every Oil Painter Needs to Know About Artist Oils, Part 1

What Every Oil Painter Needs to Know About Artist Oils, Part 2

What to Know About an Artist’s Oil Painting Palette — Part 1

What to Know About an Artist’s Oil Painting Palette — Part 2

What to Know About Gesso


national park wall painting“Monument Valley”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
16″ x 12″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


back to top

• Art Tips

10 Tips for Painting Mountains

10 Tips for Photographing Your Own Paintings

10 Tips for Taking Artist Reference Photos

Creating Better Compositions In All Your Paintings

Creating Depth On A Flat Surface

Creating Depth in Your Paintings via Atmospheric Perspective

Flower Oil Paintings From Reference Photos

Is It Really Okay For Artists To Use Reference Photos? Part 1

Is It Really Okay For Artists To Use Reference Photos? Part 2

Making and Using a Viewfinder to Compose Better Paintings

Naming Your Artwork — Tips for the Fine Artist

Photographing the Setting Sun for Your Sunset Paintings

Rules of Perspective, The

Tips For Creating Stunning Sunset Paintings

Two Composition Techniques to Use in Your Paintings

Using a Grid to Enlarge and Transfer an Image to Canvas

Using Linear Perspective to Create Depth in Your Paintings

Using Photographs As Reference Material to Paint Flower Oil Paintings


bonnie and clyde car painting“Forgotten Roads of Bygone Days”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
24″ x 18″
Oils on gallery wrap stretched canvas

>> More info


back to top

Artist Blog

A Painting In The Making

Bible Lands Collection

Christian Art Collection

Developing An Art Style of Your Own

Feedback From Across The U.S.

Feedback From Around The World

Feedback From Art Teachers and Art Students

Feedback From Fellow Artists and Art Galleries

Life In Texas Collection

My Oil Paintings Index

Oil Paintings of Texas Sunsets

Paintings of Sunsets Collection

Peggy’s Cove Collection

Space Art Collection

Why I love Sunset Oil Paintings


dancer painting“The Ballerina”
Dancer painting by Teresa Bernard
24″ x 18″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


back to top

• Business of Art

Marketing Your Space Paintings Online

Pricing Your Artwork — Taking A Two Step Approach

Ways To Market Your Artwork