To make (something, such as color or a painting) less brilliant by covering with a thin coat of opaque or semiopaque color applied with a nearly dry brush.
“In an accomplished artist’s hands, oil paint is fluid; it can be scumbled or glazed; it’s a more versatile medium than tempera.”
Did You Know?
The history of scumble is blurry, but the word is thought to be related to the verb scum, an obsolete form of skim, meaning “to pass lightly over.” Scumbling, as first perfected by artists such as Titian, involves passing dry, opaque coats of oil paint over a tinted background to create subtle tones and shadows. Although the painting technique dates to the 16th century, use of the word scumble is only known to have begun in the late 18th century. The related noun form soon followed.