Materials & Techniques,  Nature,  Techniques

Fun with Frottage

One of the things I most love about art is its sensual qualities. Art can be many things, but for me it’s the visual and tactile elements of art that I especially enjoy, and which I think are also particularly fun for children to explore. I’ve always had a particular attraction to texture especially – as an art student, I spent a lot of time seeking out ruined dilapidated buildings to paint because of the wonderful subtle colour combinations and textures you found there – not to mention their evocative atmosphere.

A great way to achieve texture on paint is by using the technique of ‘frottage’. This is basically the term given to pressing a textured material onto wet paint, and removing it to leave its texture behind. In many ways it is the opposite of printing, because instead of using something to apply the paint, you are applying something to selectively remove it. Items such as bubble wrap, lace and hessian, all work well for this, but my absolute all time favourite material to use with frottage is cling film. To achieve the effect below, I painted some paper with yellow acrylic and allowed it to dry. I then painted over it with a more diluted pink, and immediately laid cling film over the surface. Allow the film to wrinkle and crease however you like, as it is this that creates the texture. Allow to dry, then remove the cling film. The overall effect is I think rather like marbling.




You can also try frottage with natural materials. We’ve tried it with different leaves and flowers, again, painting a sheet of paper with a single colour, allowing it to dry, and then painting over with a second, more diluted darker colour. As before, while the paint is still wet, we applied textured leaves, grasses, flowers etc. We found daisies and dandelions (of which we have rather a lot at present on our lawn) worked quite well.




Of course this is an activity which can double up with printing. Having used an object for Frottage, it will be covered with paint, so you can then use the same item to print with! Two activities for the price of one!