To soften the surface of a painting by applying color thinly and lightly with an almost dry brush. Scumbling, such as that seen in Cole's unfinished Lake Mohonk (c. 1846), leaves a brushy painterly surface.



A coat of glue or resin applied to raw canvas to protect and preserve the support. Unsized canvases quickly deteriorate when they come into contact with linseed oil, an essential ingredient in oil paint—hence the need to prepare the canvas with sizing.


Sketch Club

Founded in 1827 (the date is often incorrectly given as 1829), the Sketch Club brought landscape artists together for meals, socializing, and professional conversations. Cole hosted the first meeting of the Sketch Club in his rooms on 2 Greene Street in New York City. Most of the other Hudson River School artists were also members, as well as important writers, critics and patrons. The Century Club—an organization founded in 1847 and still in existence today—evolved from the Sketch Club and included many of the same members.



The combined feelings of awe, pleasure, and fear associated with viewing a dangerous landscape, such as the summit of a mountain or a large waterfall. The viewer becomes entranced by the infinity of nature and forgets himself in the contemplation of the landscape; only afterwards does the viewer realize that he has experienced the sublime. Cole often tried to communicate this feeling in his landscape paintings: see for example, The Clove, Catskills (1827).



The surface on which an artist paints. Cole used both canvases and panels made of wood as supports for his paintings.