In refining the modelling, and getting rid, if necessary, of hard edges made in the earlier stages, do not soften one tone into another by brushing them together. If the earlier tones had been laid with sufficient deftness, nothing of the kind would have been necessary. But perfection of handling is not one's constant experience, and something has usually to be done to mend imperfections. Brushing two tones together, besides devitalising the paint, as all subsequent touching is apt to do, also produces a tone that you don't want. Two tones come together too suddenly because another tone is needed between them to unite them. And it is very unlikely that the right hue of this tone can be got by mixing the two together. The new tone should be carefully made and deftly placed between them. I say deftly, as it cannot be too often insisted upon that the canvas should be touched by the brush as seldom as possible in oil painting. The more often paint is touched, the less vital the impression.
- Harold Speed, Oil Painting Techniques and Materials
In one way or another, I think every teacher with whom I have studied since college has expressed this idea to me, but, though I can mentally process this idea, I never seem able to execute the practice of it. I overblend, or "lick" my paint. I don't believe my values suffer during this blending, but I do think that the overall look of the painting does. It is my goal to continue working on this aspect of my paintings, so that I may learn to be a more "painterly" painter.