Notebook, 1993-

Eastlake's Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters

Eastlake, Sir Charles Lock [One-time President of the Royal Academy], Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters [Formerly titled: Materials for a History of Oil Painting]. Vol. One. New York; Dover Publications, Inc. 1960 [Originally published by Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans in 1847]

Professional Essays - Scumbling & Retouching

A moistened surface is almost indispensable for delicate and partial scumblings, but modellings produced by comparatively abrupt retouchings may be added at any time on a dry surface. The two methods are most convenient in finishing. Under the first are comprehended the accidents produced not only by dark over light, but by light over dark; the latter producing pearly tints not to be attained by solid painting. The other mode [the retouching] is more akin to solid painting, and may be a means of regaining sharpness and abruptness, which the scumbling system has, of course, a tendency to destroy. In beginning a work, solidity and freedom should be especial objects, as they cannot be so well attained after the work is completed. In order not to get too white, the whole should be scumbled, and re-scumbled from time to time with the local tint, or with the warm or cool corrections which may be required [white being generally sufficient for the latter]. Then the modelling may [p. 365] recommence, and be gradually carried to the delicacies of form. In order to secure apparent freedom and sharpness, those passages should be looked for which admit of an abrupt insertion of light--for in half-lights this abruptness is not so agreeable. Cast shadows may also be abrupt and free. Again, in most other objects, [besides the flesh] this abruptness and solidity may be easily secured.

Thin scumblings with a vehicle [or with the mere colour] much diluted with spike oil or other essential oil, will not become horny, but, on the other hand, they may easily be washed off, and therefore require to be fixed with a varnish of some sort. An oil varnish, or mere half-resinified oil, may be used in this case--an essential-oil varnish is in danger of removing the tints unless the surface be first protected with a thin glutinous film. For example, a wash of beer fixes the surface sufficiently to bear a varnish. A thicker glutinous medium is not advisable, as it is apt to become white with the varnish. On the whole, perhaps, an oil varnish is safest for recently painted pictures. [pp. 365-366]



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