ScrumbleI’m not suggesting that Claude Monet move over or anything, but I’m pretty jazzed with the new art technique I learned this weekend. Scrumbling. The authority on all things web-wise, Wikipedia says scrumbling “is a technique similar to glazing, except that the coating is opaque, and is just painted on very thinly to allow bits of the paint below to shine through. Scumbling works by the principle of mixing colors optically. While most painters glaze with dark colors, scumbling is more popularly used for lighter colors; especially atmospheric effects when rendering fog or clouds.” Or misty spring garden scenes.

A reminder email appeared in my inbox a few days before a scheduled art day with creative friends. It encouraged us to bring a photo of a favorite Monet, if desired. Our hostess, teacher/artist friend Susan Ludes was going to guide us through the process of how the beloved artist created his impressionistic masterpieces of the gardens at Giverny. Susan and her husband had attended an art workshop the prior weekend sponsored by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Using several Monet paintings from their collection, participants were invited to “paint under the influence of Monet” creating their own interpretation of his masterpieces. It was an opportunity to look deeply at a painting, to study the optic complexity of mixing colors as one color built upon another, and to experiment with reproducing a similar painting on a much smaller scale.

My art day colleagues were astonished at our friends’ artwork. And eager to learn how Monet had achieved his sublime results. The only difference was that we would going to be using cheap paper plates for our palettes, inexpensive craft acrylic paints rather than oils, stiff bristled brushes, photo reproductions rather than the gardens, and not so inexpensive titanium white gouache, an opague form of watercolor. Dollops of the desired colored began to circle our plates; a small blob of white gouache front and center. Mixing colors, next to no water, circular scrumbling strokes of the brush, one color leading into another, experimenting, adding layers, adding bright lightlights, marveling at the results. A soothing, satisfying art form that left us each surprised by joy. Filled with joy, bubbling over.

But the filled with joy, bubbling over was also about making art in community, one of my all time favorite things to do. There’s just something about setting purposeful time aside to be intentionally creative, learning from one another, sharing sparks of inspiration, laughing, forgetting to eat, encouraging one another, laughing some more, all washed down with myriad cups of tea. Earl Grey, thanks you very much. That feeds my soul. And fills my creative tank to bubbling joy overflowing.

If you’ve learned an art technique that made you bubble with joy, what was it? What are some of the ways that you purposefully fill your creative tank? If you were to gather some friends for an art day, who would you invite? What would you bring with you, other than art supplies, to the art day? And what would you hope to take home?

Scrumbled PalettePS – Far be it from me to waste paint or pass on a change to explore “I wonder what if” …. here’s my spiral cut scrumbled paint palette ready to become part of a prayer mobile.

3 comments to Scrumbling

  • Susan Lesnik

    Looks like a Monet to me! Interesting technique, even though I probably don’t understand the process, being totally unartistic! Is that even a word?
    I did have a success recently, however; a first! A group of ladies from our church went to a place that does glass fusion, using bits and pieces of different colored glass. I made a small oblong pendent necklace, using black and red pieces. It actually turned out really nicely, and I even wore it to a wedding. That, my friend, is my one and only artistic work! This is after taking clay sculpture classes with a friend for quite a few years! Believe me, those pieces are not on display in the house.
    Anyway, thank you for your ongoing blog. I love reading all your adventures, with the ladies group, your own travels and art efforts.

  • sharron luft

    Okay,Lynne Dearie, how about a scrumbling, scrambling, sacred, sillymaking day with you and your art-making friends, including me? I feel myself bubbling over as I think about it.

  • fabric still my favourite
    although i dabble in many other media
    do you too have something at which you are ‘better’?

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