Year 2 Visual Arts

visual arts owl

Texture: Oh, What a Feeling!

monet's beach at trouville

Close your eyes and imagine you're holding a kitten. How does it feel? Which words come in to your mind? 'Soft' perhaps, or maybe 'furry'? Now imagine a magic wand has been waved and the kitten has turned into a frog, fresh from a pond! How does it feel, do you imagine? Soft and furry are not the right adjectives to describe the frog. Are 'slimy' and 'damp' better? Did you have others in mind? Finding words to talk about how things feel to touch is called describing their texture.

Now collect a few things with different textures from your home or outside. A leaf would do, so would a marble, a key, a twig and a cotton wool ball. Feel each object and then try to think of a word to describe its texture.

You have been using words to describe the textures you have imagined and felt. Artists use their materials and the marks they make in place of words. They can choose to paint a dress looking smooth or crumpled, a mountainside appearing rough or icy, by changing the kind of brush they use, the strokes they make and the colours. You might not be able to touch what they have shown but you can imagine how the texture would feel just from looking. We call this 'visual texture'.

Look at this painting called Young Hare by the German artist Albrecht Dürer [AL-brekt DEW-rah]. To give us the fluffy feeling of the hare's fur, Dürer used a delicate brush to paint hundreds of separate strokes. Some overlap and some are blended, some curve while others are straight. His brushstrokes imitate the hare's fur so well that it's almost as if it might hop off right now!

This activity is adapted from page 190 of What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

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