What is Sgraffito?
Sgraffito is an oil paint technique of
scratching. Sgraffito involves scoring into the
oil paint after it has been applied to the oil painting
support. In sgraffito painting technique, an oil paint
brush handle, an oil painting knife, a fork ,
a comb or any rigid instrument is used to scratch
the surface layer of wet paint. This will reveal either
the ground color or a layer of dry color beneath. Sgraffito
allows lines of any thickness to be drawn into the
oil paint. As for the history of sgraffito, sgraffito got its
name from the Italian word graffiare which means to
Sgraffito or scoring in oil painting
Sgraffito painting technique and scoring
painting technique are often used in oil painting
to depict hair, creases in skin and marks on flat surfaces
such as walls or pavements. Examples of sgraffito and scoring
at work by the Old Masters are the works of Rembrandt.
Rembrandt used the sgraffito and scoring technique
extensively, scribbling into thick, wet paint with a brush
handle to pick out individual hairs in a sitter's moustache or
the pattern of lace on a collar.
Best sgraffito painting technique
The best sgraffito painting technique
depends on the thickness of the oil paint and to what
extent the oil paint has dried. Even thoroughly dry oil
paint can be scratched into, as long as a really sharp point is
used. In this case, the scored lines will be white, as all the
layers of oil paint will be removed. It is best to restrict
scratching into dry paint to rigid boards because it might
damage oil painting canvas.