This is the last of a three-part series on paint texture.
Rembrandt was a master at using impasto texture in the light areas of the picture, such as a necklace, a nose, or a collar. He used two devices to accentuate an area of impasto: “glazing in the pits” and “top-dragging.”
Glazing in the pits means dropping pigment into the hollows, nooks, and crannies of your impastos. You can see it here in the foreground of the painting “Market Square.” To do this, build up your impastos either with acrylic modeling paste (always before using the oil at all--never use acrylic over oil) or with oil paint mixed with a little cobalt drier to help it set up.
When it is completely dry, you can quickly glaze a thin layer of raw or burnt umber thinned down with turpentine. Most of it will sink naturally into the pits.
When that layer is dry, you can lift off the hint of the umber layer from the tops by using a smooth cotton rag with just a hint of turpentine. This will take away the glaze from the tops but leave it in the pits. But don’t try either of those last steps unless the surface is bone dry.
Glazing in the pits helped accentuate the texture on the rock on the right, above, a detail of "Desert Crossing" from Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara. These impastos were pretextured with modeling paste, and photographed a special way to bring out the 3-D quality.
The rock on the left is an example of top-dragging. To do this, I first painted the stone a bit lower in value over a pretextured base. When that was dry, I loaded a bristle brush with thick, light paint and dragged it over the base, allowing the the paint to come off on the top of the little mountains of impastos. In a couple of quick strokes, you can achieve a random quality of rock texture without a lot of fussy rendering.
Paint Texture, Part 1
Paint Texture, Part 2
Paint Texture, Part 3