Scumbling and squinting, side notes

What I wish myself with this blog is to manage to write down all the notes and studies I committed to note down, during the last 7 years, in order to be useful to others and to store them indelibly on the web. Here are some important ones  on Scumbling and Squinting.


*Bristle Brush or synthetic ?

*Slightly thinned down paint or not?

I’ve noticed that doing It with with a too diluted paint, It will have not enough body to be opaque (that would be called halfpaste, a translucent film of opaque paint, very useful though), and the color will be different from the one intended to paint, but the consistency as It came out of the tube feels too solid, so It might be something in between. *I’ve found that there isn’t a specific rule, scumbling might be done with soft or bristle brush, stiff paint or not etc… the situation suggest the best way to resolve the problem. Also these terms, aren’t very much  useful when it came to actually apply paint on the canvas since, in order to grasp the effects of nature,  a modulation of a scumbling that turn for example into an halfpaste might be required, so I think It is better to not think terminology much while painting, but just to be alert with the eyes, and stick with what seems to work best and allows you to render nature in the most convincing way. I feel that sticking too much with terminology would lead to “how should be done”, and the “how should be done” might refrain you to take new paths and resolve a problem in an original way. How a thing look Is the only thing that matter, no matter how you came up with it . The viewer will not know how you did it but will look if it is convincing or not. That’s why I am beginning to not undervalue my own touch. I still see other painters for inspiration, and for studying purpose, but while I paint I think of just the fundamentals of painting: edges, values, planes, temperatures etc… that I think will create a habit that will lead to a more personal style.

Side note: A color scrubbed on a dark ground will look cold in temperature, on a light ground, warm in temperature.


Side note: What can I do to simplify values? Paint the shapes I see when I squint and observing how dark values group together . This truth is the skeleton upon which every subtleties might be painted later on, with scumbling, dry brushing etc.. squinting down lump together all the little value subtleties into bigger even value shapes, that’s why it is so important. Always try to sacrifice the little, for the bigger truth. Squinting is for value, but in order to grasp color and temperature, we need to open our eyes wide and go slightly out of focus. Often times happened that  I placed the exact value but the wrong temperature, It is a thing really easy to overlook, so it is better to keep that in mind and check color temperature after the values are checked.

Squinting  is perfect for making value comparison. When two value shapes are side by side, while squinting it is very easy to see how  much a shape is lighter or darker than the other one, this is because of an optic effect called Helmholtz–Kohlrausch effect, where part of the saturation of a color is perceived as part of its luminescence, thus fooling you into believing that a very saturated color is actually lighter than it really is. Squinting lowers the chroma and act like a filter and let you see a very simplified version of the scene.

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