Using salt to create texture

Sprinkling salt on a painting can create interesting effects.

While the painting is wet, sprinkle salt across the paper — or in specific locations — to create interesting and natural-appearing effects and variations. The salt crystals absorb the water and paint, resulting in areas with less pigment. Allow the painting to dry completely, then brush away the crystals.

The impact of the technique depends on the size of the salt crystal, and how densely the salt is applied. Generally, fine crystals such as table salt produce subtle effects, while coarse crystals such as Kosher sea salt create more noticeable effects.

In the painting below, I scattered some coarse sea salt crystals across the foreground of a wet painting. The paint was drawn towards the crystals, resulting in a field of irregular flower-like splotches with dark centers. The “flowers” have a very organic feel, an impression of a flower viewed from a distance, perhaps through a mountain mist.

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