I asked. When I saw a painting that impressed me, it was not hard to strike up a conversation with the artist - to offer compliments, and ask questions. One artist in particular was especially gracious - and shared some of her secrets to her luminous colors and awesome textures. So, I went home to play.
The more I experiment, with solvents, with sprays, with laying textured materials on the canvas and painting over, with scraping, scratching and pouring, the more fun I have, and the more interesting the results. Suddenly the central image takes a back seat to the feeling of the whole, created by messing around until I get the effect I am looking for. This image, Foggy Day, is 9x12, a mixture of mediums on canvas, was completely fun to create ...
So, I knew my kid students would love to create their own effects as well. (This process is too messy for my more finicky seniors). I provided bottles of thinned paints, sponges, brushes, and water color paper, as well as pans for letting paint drip into - and everyone poured paint until they "saw a picture." Then, there were crayons and markers for enhancing anything that popped out. It was a great lesson in color, contrast and creativity.