Impasto your way to textured paintings

Impasto is an excellent technique for creating some delicious texture on your paintings. It involves laying on a thick layer of paint with a palette knife or brush to exaggerate the brush/palette knife strokes. Impasto techniques were used to excellent effect by impressionist painters such as Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh, as well as in self portraits by artists such as Rembrandt.

Take a look at Starry Night by Van Gogh, without this technique in the sky, don’t you think the painting would have looked a lot flatter and a little less interesting?

Van Gogh - Starry Night - Google Art Project

Though it was traditionally used by oil painters, the technique lends itself well to acrylics too – heavy body acrylics mixed with mediums such as impasto gel or heavy gel medium produce wonderful effects.

This technique can be used to quickly create detail, such as the folds of a dress. And because it captures brushstrokes, it is an excellent technique to capture the fluidity and speed of the painter, and can be used to excellent effect in more abstract pieces of art as well.

Bazhenov-Vsevolod-Altai-Mountains-new191bw - impasto

Impasto demonstration

I found this demonstration to be the best, simplest and quickest way to understand how impasto works. Observe the way she uses the palette knife to create ridges and texture in the paint.

I hope you found this fun and informative!

Put this lesson to work: Combine art deco patterns with some raised impasto texture to create a border on your art journal spread. Or make this technique the focal point on an abstract art journal layout.

Posted in Art Journaling, Artists Toolbox and tagged , , , , .


  1. Must admit this is something new to me. I have heard of Van Gogh but never looked into his style of Art of painting.. an interesting way of creating beauty

  2. Your posts remind me of so much that I’m missing out in my life. I never knew this technique was called Impasto and I just love the textures it creates …..

  3. That’s amazing demo and i love you style of painting…So colorful and full of life these are πŸ™‚ when i click your name i know that your blog is going to be colourful and you would have something new in your Palate

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    *Menaka Bharathi *

  4. Thanks for the accompanying videos with each post, Shinjini. It makes the reading experience more meaningful to watch the techniques. Have always loved this style of painting. Gosh, makes me want to totally go offline and play with paints all day!

    • I’m happy that the videos are adding on to the overall experience. Simple explanations with art aren’t enough – it’s such a visual medium; demonstrations bring it all to life!

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