The Essential Element ~ TEXTURE

   The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines texture as: the visual or tactile surface characteristics and appearance of something. Texture, much like tone, relies upon the passive tension existing in the space between elemental forms in order for its visual manifestation. But unlike tone, the dominant component of texture lies in the way in which the elemental forms affect the space between and around them. A jagged texture is no different than a pitted texture in terms of total structure; the ostensible difference is to be found in the appearance of the affected space as dictated by the structural elements.

   In any texture the appearance is produced simply as the sum of its parts. A series of straight, basic lines will produce a texture that appears grooved or corrugated. A series of wavy, basic lines will produce a texture that appears wavy or bouncy. A series of points will produce a texture that appears pitted or pointed. An even, solid area will produce a texture that appears smooth. Whatever elemental form is utilized to saturate an area will produce a coincident texture.

   Any elemental form existing by itself such as a jagged line will exhibit the tension residing in its own being. When two or more elemental forms (either similar or dissimilar) exist in somewhat close proximity the space between them is affected by their presence. Just as shape is given clarification by the lines enclosing it, the space between more than one elemental form is clarified or refined. This refinement is given appearance according to the elemental forms creating an implied parameter. The parameters of the space in turn give particular emphasis to the tension lying passively in the space.

   Texture is embodied in many configurations. The number of possible configurations is as infinite as that possible for the element of shape. The measure of possible textural configurations is limited only to the number of all possible configurations of all the other elements. Classification of the various configurations goes according to the elements forming the texture’s structure. A texture structured with points may be therefore classified as a pointed texture etc.

   There are certain properties which pertain to texture. These properties include density, direction and aggregation.

   Because texture like tone relies upon the tension in the space between elemental forms to give it substance, texture must possess the property of density. The variations between the measure of density in two examples of texture will somewhat affect the resulting appearance. If you have two textural areas each structured with the same elemental form, but possessing varying densities the two areas will not appear to possess the same exact characteristics. An example could be texture made of jagged line: one which is sparse because of large amounts of space between the lines would appear to be rough or coarse while the other, which is dense because of small amounts of space between the lines, would perhaps appear to be jagged or bristly.

   Density in texture can be categorized between sparse, medium and dense or any variation and combination of these regardless of the elemental form involved. The structural element only gives the texture its descriptive quality.

   Texture also bears the influence of direction, or more appropriately, orientation. Direction can be either horizontal, vertical or diagonal or omnidirectional. The direction of a texture is most often created by the structural elements. Line, with its dominant property of direction, may cause a texture to verge toward the direction of the lines incorporated in it. Shape forming texture will likewise influence direction because of the orientation of the shapes themselves.

   Direction is somewhat influenced by the tension between the structural elements. A texture composed of parallel, straight lines will appear to possess direction not only along the length of the lines but also sideways from one line; to an adjacent line. This results in a texture appearing to have an omnidirectional appearance. Omnidirection is also induced by the use of elements which do not inherently possess direction in themselves such as point. The direction created in such a situation would be influenced, as in tone, by the variation in density.

   The property of aggregation refers to the fact that a texture must possess an apparent accumulation of structural elemental forms in order to exist as an element in its own right. A single line, existing by itself, does not constitute texture, whereas a series of single lines accumulated in a particular space may give substance to texture by their close proximity to each other. A structural surface such as a piece of plain white paper might exhibit the texture of smoothness because the individual elements of its own structure are aggregated in close proximity. A single dark point of ink placed on the surface would exist only as point. But should there be placed a number of points across the surface; a second texture might be brought into existence. This second texture might appear as graininess. Should the points be accumulated to form a single line, then there would exist merely the element of line. But if the points should be accumulated to form a number of lines on the surface another texture such as corrugation might appear to exist. The key in this case is that a structural element must exist in accumulation or aggregation in order for texture to exist

   Texture by its own definition must incorporate the other elements into its form in order to exist as an element itself. Therefore texture will incorporate aspects of the other elements into its form. Point incorporated in texture will most often result in a basically smooth textural area. It can also be utilized to create texture such as bumpiness, pockiness, coarseness etc. Line incorporated into texture will bring into the texture the aspects which it embodies in its various configurations. Line will give texture the appearance of such things as jaggedness, corrugation, graininess, ripples, knurls etc. Shape contributes to texture in much the same way as it does to tone. Shape in the formation of grid patterns will produce any number of textural appearances dictated by the configuration of the shape itself. Shape incorporated into texture may result in knobiness, crumpiness, gravelliness etc. A single color by itself does not impart much influence into texture, but a number of color areas accumulated together will result in texture.