Monday, February 7, 2011

Scumbling and Dry Brush

Dry brush techniques can really cover a wide gamut of techniques and mediums, from oil paint and acrylic to watercolor. It involves putting undiluted paint on a dry brush that is dragged across the surface, leaving pigment on raised areas. Scumbling is when lighter colors are dragged over darker colors, and can give a rough, textured effect, or a light gauzy look, depending on what kind of surface it is applied to. It generally gives a solid but broken line, with hard edges, but can appear soft if done over a fine texture. Diego Velasquez was a master of this, you can see that he was dry brushing some of his finer, final brush strokes in this image of Sibyl with Tabla Rasa and this portrait of Juan de Pareja. The ends of strokes are often more broken than the beginning, which gives much of the look to Chinese brush painting, which often uses a combination of dry brush over light, wet, washes. This image, by Yet Por Cheng, shows the effect nicely. The oldest known art even uses something akin to dry brhing, you can see how the texture of the rock affected how pigment was rubbed over it in cave paintings like Lascaux.

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