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When introducing school-age children to the world of visual art, I like to ask them, “What tools do artists use?” Typical answers include, “Paint, canvases, clay, ink…” and, indeed, it’s logical that these are the first things that come to mind for most of us. But then, standing before a painting or sculpture, I invite the children to take their responses a step further and, in so doing, we enter the sphere of the elements and principles of art.

From time-to-time, when I host Poetics, I will feature one or another of these concepts. I believe the elements and principles of art are tools can serve poets and writers, as well as visual artists. These tools include color, line, shape, space, texture, perspective, balance, contrast, movement, form, pattern, value, emphasis, rhythm and unity. Can you see how visual artists reach into their tool boxes and grab one or more of these to produce a painting or sculpture that will appeal to the eye and will elicit an emotional response? And how they might enrich your own work?

Photo: David Slotto

Today, I’d like to discuss Texture.

Texture refers to the surface quality, whether actual or implied, of artwork. Actual or tactile texture is present when, if you were to touch the piece, you would feel its roughness or smoothness. Implied texture is achieved through illusory techniques that allow your imagination to tell you how an object in the painting would feel.

To create rough texture in a painting, the artist uses heavy applications of paint with a brush or palette knife and layers it on the surface of the painting. This process is called impasto. Simulated or implied texture occurs when the artist creates the impression of smoothness or roughness. To do this he uses color and value contrasts, a dry brush technique, or broken lines. Collage is an art form that emphasizes texture through use of contrasting materials such as fabric, paper, wood, paint, fiber and natural objects.

For today’s Poetics at dVerse, I would like to invite you, as word artisans, to create textural poetry.

  • You may choose to focus on texture as the subject of your poem, exploring and reproducing the rough texture of tree bark or wood, the smooth feel of a baby’s or lover’s body, the cool gloss of ice or the warm fuzz of a cuddly kitten.
  • Or select words that are textural when spoken, perhaps including a recording of your spoken verse.
  • Another option is to select a piece of art that is textured and write to that. Some artists known for texture include the masters Rembrandt and Titian, impressionists such as Vincent van Gogh, or abstract expressionists such as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.
  • Perhaps you have a painting, sculpture or photograph of your own that you would like to showcase.

I hope you enjoy bringing the sense of touch to your poetry and look forward to reading your contributions. Don’t forget to visit other participants. Above all, have fun adding texture to your creative tool box.

For dVerse Poetics, I’m Victoria Ceretto-Slotto at http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com, grateful to be a part of this vibrant writing community.

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