Preparing a Textured Surface

Heavy, impasto brushstrokes are one way to add a rough texture to your paintings, but I’ve found that starting with a textured board takes it a step further. To prepare my surface, I cut panels of Masonite to the sizes I most often use and apply three coats of gesso, sanding lightly between coats. On top of that I’ll apply oil paint I’ve scraped from my palette at the end of a painting session. I have no idea what the future painting will look like—I just paint what’s pleasing to me at the moment. This is practical, as well as a fun and freeing exercise. When the boards are dry to the touch, which can take several weeks or months, I take them with me on location. When I find my subject, I choose a board that feels most like what I’m looking at. I used the board above for Crab Man II (below; oil, 16×20) because the movement of colors somehow intuitively felt like what I was viewing.

“Drawing and painting have been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember,” says Patricia Harrington. “I was fortunate to attend a school system that fostered creative development, and also to have patient parents who encouraged my study of art.” Harrington majored in art at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, where she was “introduced to many exciting things,” including watercolor. While developing into the respected artist she is today, Harrington reared four boys and moved from Michigan to Chicago, Illinois, then to Athens, Georgia, and finally, in 1967, to Lynchburg, Virginia, where she and her husband continue to reside today.

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