Lesson #2 – Scumbling in the dark

My attempt at scumbling (right) which looks disturbingly like my MRI scan

Okay, I hear you say… ‘don’t give up the day job’.  It’s not a masterpiece, but an experimentation with pencil shading. Besides, I’ve already given up my day job. And of course it’s the process that’s important rather than the product (well that will be my excuse for a crap drawing).

No, I haven’t misspelt stumbling… although I’ve done quite a lot of stumbling recently. The word is ‘scumbling’. I’ve never heard the word before. I had to ask the understanding art teacher to spell it out. What a great undiscovered word from me. Just imagine, I’ve been on this planet earth for 55 years and I’ve never come across it. It sounds like a ‘down and out’ kind of word – some kind of activity a street urchin might engage in. Let’s check it in the dictionary…

  • soften the colors or outlines of a drawing by rubbing.

Yes, teacher is right. I should never have doubted her. Well, in fact the picture that you see has crosshatching on the left and scumbling on the right. But I’m still fascinated by the word. I guess I’m a pedant without the knowledge to be pedantic. Words fascinate me… how could this incongruous word have escaped my clutches.

Class continues… we all have a chat and a laugh. I thought I was doing well coping with my disability. But now it seems we are being asked to introduce new ‘disabilities.’ Sketching with our ‘non-dominant’ hand and holding the pencil at the very end. This is going to end badly I know.

Wow, I’m mistaken. And I’m not alone. What is appearing before our eyes is almost decent. It’s out of control and has escaped the grasp of my right brain. This is the way to go. No more analysis; just hand to paper. What a relief – it’s left-hand all the way for me.

I see there’s another second meaning for scumbling

… to blur the outlines of….  e.g. a writer who scumbled the line that divides history and fiction.

It seems to be appertain to the world we now live in. Aren’t they all just playing at scumbling with facts… those politicians.

9 thoughts on “Lesson #2 – Scumbling in the dark

    1. Hi Nicky. I don’t think I’ll be poached by anybody with so few followers. But I know what is important is not the number of followers but the quality of the readership. It’s just good to know that I am having conversations with such discerning folk such as yourself.


  1. Being a man of empirical knowledge or science ‘scumbling’ must seem a bit of an anathema to you.However it has been the way l have travelled through life to date!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a child ‘scumbled’ described the patterning made by varnish on a front door. The doors were always on houses owned by the old folks where I lived and weren’t painted just very heavily varnished and it created random kind of marks on the door, like brush strokes I suppose. But remember I’m a northerner and we’re queer folk!!
    Loved reading this tho’ and I think your art work isn’t half bad and if it’s doing you good and challenging your creative brain then all to the good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jane. Thanks for your encouraging comments – I guess I’m in it for the long haul. Yes I have noticed that the word scumbling seems to mean slightly different things in the art and craft world. Yes, they were doing that in Manchester when it was trickle treat night – but I think they just called it graffiti 😉 We miss the North of England… we miss being able to say hello to strangers…


  3. At last we see the results of your adventure to the shops for equipment! Well done!
    Your Swiss cheese plant leaf? Or perhaps a drying out ‘weed’ leaf? (lol – I jest of course)
    I just finished my 3rd weeks homework – a stylised cottage – which resembles 1930’s Art Deco style. I’m happy with it though. Have fun this week – no snow!! Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kim. Ive now discovered the reply button. Yes…I think its a cheese plant as you say. Thought your recent landscape was really gifted. Im sorry that i cant pretend to match your skills…but heck its revelatory this social prescribing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice work Eddy! …. not sure if you remember the walls in my flat on Addington Road back in Reading. I had them all covered with my hand drawings and sketches. It does not matter if others like your work or not… as long as you get a kick out of it! … AND you seem to be enjoying this new experience. Have fun with it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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