Click Play - Video by Alex

Texture is a powerful communicator.  Texture talks to us when we personify it.  She may have a smooth enticing voice, while her boyfriend may sound rough and raspy. 

Our appreciation or disdain for something often depends on how it feels in our hands.  Shopping for a blanket practically necessitates lifting the soft fabric to one’s face to be assured of its textural quality.  How about the texture of food.  The texture of certain foods prompted stomach cramps and vomiting for a group of students traveling in a foreign country.  We are feeling creatures, and textures elicit sensations and pleasure and displeasure. 



Touch is one of the most intimate of all human senses.  Eve did pretty well until the serpent enticed her to look and then touch the forbidden fruit.  Touch leaves a lasting impression.  In this case, her touching and eating led to Adam’s indulgence, which ushered sin into our world and our lives.

Touch always means contact, which stimulates responses in our beings.  Touching means interacting.  Rough, smooth, shiny, dull, craggy, metallic, coarse, and reflective all describe the surface characteristics of our environs, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  We’re surrounded.  From cradle to coffin we build huge memory banks of tactile experiences, and we automatically draw from this database whenever we encounter something new. 

God set the planetary stage with innumerable textures, and He purposefully equipped us with hands to feel and internalize the sensations of touch.  He instigated the positive power of touch.  The enemy of our soul understands this and tempts us to touch that which is forbidden.  Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 7:1 that it is not good for a man to touch a woman outside the marriage covenant.  God promises that if we keep ourselves by His grace He receives us (1Cor. 6:17).  What a great promise!


God originally created touch as a means of expressing love, and love is what builds His kingdom.  Love is big!  After all, He is love, and faith works by love (Gal. 5:6).  Marriage is the perfect example.  Within this covenant relationship, touch is a pure exchange of affection and gratification.  This unity is upheld as the premier display of the union between Christ and His bride, the church (Eph. 5:5:30-32). 

In the broader scope of Christian love for one another, the Apostle Paul exhorts his Christian readers to greet one another with a “holy kiss’ (1Cor.16:20, 2Cor.13:12).  That’s contact!  That’s a textural connection.  Exactly how would this work in our Post Modern, American Christian culture?  Good question!  

The greatest touch anyone will experience is God’s extremely personal touch.  From cover to cover, we find Bible characters either running toward or running away from God’s outstretched hand.  Here are a few positive examples. Through Jesus’ touched people were healed of leprosy, their sight was restored, they were made perfectly whole, and some came back to life.  When people reached to touch Jesus they were never disappointed.  “And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all” (Lk. 6:19).  “For she said within herself, if I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole” (Mt. 9:21).  “… And they brought to him all who were ill, and were calling on him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment, and as many as did touch were saved” (YLT Mt. 14:35-36).  

The expression of Paul’s heart is a perfect picture of God reaching for him, and He in return reaching back to the Lord.  “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: I have not fully gotten ahold of all there is in God, but this one thing I do: forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded…” (Philippians 3:13-15).


Marketing gurus know that touching a product fosters desiring the product, which leads to paying for the product and owning the product.  The Beloved Apostle John understood this.  He highlights the progression from hearing to seeing to handling to owning God’s Word.  What he possessed he could impart to others.  “That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we did behold, our hands did handle, concerning the Word of Life…declare we unto you…” (1Jn. 1:1-3).  He handled the message so that he thoroughly understood it.  He personally knew the feel, the texture of the Word (Jesus) through experience.  Does the Word of God have texture?  Do the sweet Psalms of David feel like the curt prophesies of Jeremiah?  The text has texture!  Handle it; own it; pass it on.  Amen!


When approaching a painting or sculpture, we make assumptions about the feel of its surface based on perception. A good artist connects his audience to his work by using texture to engage him.  Let’s keep in mind that there is a distinctive difference between the visual representation of texture and the actual texture. Drawings, paintings, photography and all other realistic renderings are illusions of reality. 

A glazed ceramic pot may look smooth and glossy.  Our senses of sight and touch enable us to fully experience art and the things we encounter in everyday life.   

Mastery of any graphic media empowers an artist to create illusions of reality.  The oil painter of this still life captures the textures of glazed and unglazed pottery, wood, cloth and metal.  You can almost feel these surfaces with your mind.  If you look carefully at this image you’ll notice the woven texture of the actual canvas beneath the paint.  Look to the left of the branches.  


The surface of this photo is merely smooth paper even though it speaks to us, “We are orbs of outward fuzz while sweet, fragrant and delicious inwardly.  We’re peachy.”  

Since the advent of modern art (late 1800’s), artists use texture more liberally.  The quality of the artist’s media is valued for its inherent tactile characteristics.  For example, a potter may allow his clay to slump or crack.  A wood carver may allow the bark of his wood a prominent place in his creation.

Slumping is the nature of wet clay, while cracking is the nature of dry clay.  He’ll control the moisture of his clay to deliberately communicate.  The natural slumping results in a textural message.  Have you ever slumped?  What is slumping, anyhow?  Is it putting on a few extra pounds, falling asleep in church, or chilling on the back porch?  Maybe it’s a plummeting grade point average?  We connect with slumped clay, having slumped to some degree ourselves. 


A bronze sculpture may have a naturally oxidized turquoise patina or have a highly polished surface.  Impressionistic painters, Monet in particular, became loose and free with brush strokes, so that the textural build-up of paint became an intrinsic element of his visual statement.  


Some folks gravitate to paintings of cold winter scenes— grey skies and frigid white snow.  What’s the appeal?  It’s simply this: an emotionally charged glow coming through the windows of a home nestled in the woods, under a blanket of snow.  Why do we call it a blanket of snow?  A blanket keeps us warm.  The snuggle factor of the blanketing snow is the perfect antidote for frigid winter.  The visual textures include icy blue snow, rough bark of barren trees, billowy clouds and, most importantly, gentle puffs of smoke from a stone chimney.  The emotional sense of touch takes place in the mind of the viewer.  


I asked a friend what she felt when looking at this painting.  She didn’t hesitate in letting me know. She put herself inside the home, by the fireplace (not illustrated in the painting), in a rocking chair (not illustrated in the painting), with a soft afghan and her pet cat on her lap (also not illustrated in the painting).  A large dog slept near the hearth.  Our memories of textural experiences speak much more than meets the eye.  

We live in a world of actual texture.  The artist creates the illusion of texture and evokes conjecture about texture.  This texture conjecture is what the viewer brings with him to a work of art.  A skillful artist knows how to tap the memory bank of his viewer’s imagination and build upon it.


Photograph two subjects of diametrically different textures in a single composition.  Exaggerate the different textures to the extreme using the smooth tool and the sharpen tool along with other tools in Photoshop.  The idea is to intrigue the eyes of the viewers.   


In this portrait we experience the crusty texture of the the flaking paint on the wooden door, which is contrasted by the perfectly smooth complexion of our student model.  The blurred architecture in the background offers yet another textural  statement.


Create at least three excellent photos.  Think about various subjects that sharply contrast each other texturally.  
Let this short list wet your imagination:
   Fluffy pets
   Metallic backdrops
   Weathered wood
   Soft fabric
   Grasses.... The list is endless.

Choose one or more of the following projects.


 Find a great photo of an insect such as a butterfly, a beetle, a spider or an exotic bug from a rain forest.
 Using several layers, experiment with a broad variety of filters, providing the illusion of textures.

 Play with a variety of compositions by overlapping various sizes of your insect to build a composition.

 Print at least 3 copies of your final work on a matte paper. 

 Draw with one or more of the following media on top of your prints.  Use colored pencil, oil crayons, or pastels to enhance the image and texture inherent to the medium of your choice.  


 Take an excellent portrait of a family member. 

 Photoshop the face, making it perfect in every way.  Do whatever is necessary to beautify the portrait.  Be honest and kind concerning blemishes, wrinkles, moles, unsightly facial/nasal hair, droopy eyes and crooked teeth.  

 Print three copies of your edited image.  Three copies come in handy if you should mistakenly ruin one along this experimental journey. 

4.  The fun part: Add real texture by employing one or more of the following techniques.  Keep the face area free of textural embellishments.  The face of your subject should remain smooth while the rest of the composition will be altered with various art media.  Add texture by:
   Drizzling paint over a print 
   Cutting a stencil and spray painting sections
   Gluing pieces of printed paper or fabric
   Adding genuine gold, silver or bronze leafing
        (available at craft stores) 
   Varnishing selected areas of your portrait with
        gloss or matte finishes 


 Shoot a great landscape or dig through your photo files and choose a favorite.  Perhaps you have a landscape or architectural photograph from a family vacation.  This makes your assignment even more meaningful to you and your family. 

 Photoshop the photograph using filters to create an impressionistic, fine art appeal.  Look up the impressionist period (early 1900’s) to get a feel for how artists of this era used color and texture.  Google Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, Gauguin, Signac, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec or Van Gogh.

 Print two or three copies of your Photoshop-enhanced landscape.

 Dry-mount or spray-glue your print to a substrate such as pressboard or foamcore.
 Use acrylic paint to embellish your work with texture and a fresh inspiration of color.  You may cover the entire picture plane with paint or choose to highlight certain parts of the subject.
 Coat the entire painting with an acrylic varnish
   to create an even reflective or non-reflective surface (gloss or matte varnish).




-	Eve submitted to Satan’s temptation to touch the forbidden fruit.  Touch leaves a T impression.  In this case, her touching and eating led to Adam’s indulgence, which ushered sin into our world and our lives. 
-	Touch is one of the most intimate of all human senses.  
-	Personalities are characterized as textural: rough, smooth, slippery, soft and so on. 
-	People either walk toward or away from God’s outstretched hand.  
-	The Lord’s touch meets our every need.
-	Touch stimulates positive and negative responses in our thoughts. 
-	Shoppers will often buy products because they like the feel of an item.  
-	God’s word should be handled, experienced and owned by every Christian. (1 John 1:1-3)
-	The Apostle John tells us that He has handled, he has touched the Word of God.  Because of his experience with the word he can impart the word effectively.
-	There are 2 kinds of texture in the arts: the physical texture and the illusion of texture.  
-	The two-dimensional art forms like drawing, painting and photography are representational pictures of texture. 
-	The three-dimensional arts, such as pottery, sculpture and architecture, occupy a volume of space with several surfaces of physical textures.   
-	When a cozy home is blanketed in white snow and smoke puffs from the chimney, the overall feeling/texture is one of comfort, in spite of the texture of freezing wet snow.   
Enhancing the illusion of texture enhances the viewer’s experience. 


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