The best way to create the look of texture in a painting is using something that is just ready to be tossed out. It is true, your oldest, ugliest and most abused brushes make the best textures in a painting. Those wonderful old brushes that are on their last legs make great fur, grass and pine needles. Sometimes I even just have to help a few less than desirable brushes along to that wonderful state. So by twisting, cutting, pruning and plucking…I will try to recreate that a old randomly damaged brush that will help me to form visual texture for rocks, fur, bark, and soil textures on my paintings. This photo shows two brushes that I have helped along to a ragged state with my favourite natural sea sponge. Sea sponges have a wild abstract texture to them that sure helps a painting to look more natural.
I have even taken a new foam roller and had a fun time plucking out some the foam to see if I could replicate a sandy beach texture. It was not entirely success but did provide a basis to work from.
So working with my old or newly damaged brushes, sometimes a crumpled rag to lift off some of the newly laid paint and often my finger tips to smudge and blur the paint, I work to create the amazing look of natural texture. Before using these tools I study the real nature, looking closing to understand the form, color and pattern….and then find the tool that will best recreate it….most often for me it is the combination of one of my tortured brushes and natural sponge.