Art Materials and General Art Terms
The left side of the brain and the right side of the brain have two distinct sets of characteristics. In normal everyday activities, the brain is constantly switching back and forth between the two sides to complete whatever tasks are at hand. The brain uses whatever side of the brain that can best handle the current task.
The right side of the brain (right-mode) is 1) holistic - likes to view things all at once, enjoys understanding things in overall structures and patterns which often leads to an assortment of conclusions 2) nonverbal - likes to be conscience of things without giving attention to words 3) intuitive - likes to make broad leaps of insight and understanding which are often founded upon feelings, visual images, guesses or unfinished patterns 4) synthetic - likes to combine things into complete wholes, such as putting together puzzle pieces into one big image 5) spatial - likes to perceive how things are in relation to other things, enjoys understanding how things fit together into a whole 6) concrete - likes to find connections between things as they are at the present moment 7) nonrational - likes to not have an awareness of time and is 8) analogic - likes to find similarities between things and perceive metaphoric relationships.
A French term referring to openwork patterns/designs used in embroidery, carpentry, lacework and metal artworks.
Absolute alcohol (also known as anhydrous alcohol) is ethyl alcohol taken through a process to eliminate any trace of water. 6% of regular grain alcohol is water. Absolute alcohol can be combined with turpentine, mineral spirits or several other types of solvents.
A chalk ground that absorbs oil during the oil painting process; the effect is a matted appearance as well as a quickening of the drying process.
An academician is a person who is an elected representative of an academy who follows academic principles and styles.
Academicism is an adherence to academic methods and ideas. The word can be used to refer to a feature of academic influence in artwork that does not follow traditional methods.
Academie des Beaux-Arts (also known as "the Academy") is the fine arts academy of the Institute of France. The academy is responsible for sponsoring the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts and hosting in Paris the annual official salon.
An academy is an institution created during the Renaissance in order to liberate artists and scholars from the tyranny of guilds, and to raise them to a higher status so people see them as professionals.
Academy blue is a color pigment that leans towards the green spectrum of the color wheel. It is composed of blue pigment in which the best grades are created into viridian and ultramarine blue.
An academy board is a low-cost panel employed for the use of drawings, sketches and smaller oil paintings. The board is created out of smooth, heavy cardboard that is covered with a ground that provides the necessary surface texture needed for oil paint.
Today canvas board and other kinds of specialty boards are frequently used instead of academy board.
Acaroid resin (also known as accroides) is a heavily colored resin that materializes in both yellow and red forms originating from Australian grass trees. The resin (gum accroides) contains film-forming characteristics used for years in the processing of orange, red and yellow varnishes. Acaroid resin continues to be utilized for some industrial uses even though bright dyestuffs have been created to fulfill that particular need in the marketplace.
Xanthorrhoea, black-boy gum and Botany Bay gum are terms used for resin in the past.
Accroides (also known as acaroid resin) is a heavily colored resin that materializes in both yellow and red forms originating from Australian grass trees. The resin (gum accroides) contains film-forming characteristics used for years in the processing of orange, red and yellow varnishes. Accroides continues to be utilized for some industrial uses even though bright dyestuffs have been created to fulfill that particular need in the marketplace.
Xanthorrhoea, black-boy gum and Botany Bay gum are terms used for resin in the past.
Acetone (also called dimethyl ketone) is a strong, volatile solvent that has the properties necessary to remove paint and lacquer. When used correctly, it is among the less toxic solvents to use in projects. The vapors of acetone are highly flammable and may catch fire despite temperatures below freezing point.
Acetylene is a gaseous hydrocarbon without color. It generates almost 15 times more light than normal illuminating gas. Acetylene easily polymerizes, containing a triple bond. Uses for acetylene include oxyacetylene welding in which a blowpipe/torch mixes oxygen and acetylene.
Acetylene black is one of the many kinds of carbon black. It is close to benzol black.
An acid bath is the tray/container of mordant in which the subject to be etched is contained. The tray in which the mordant is placed must be made up of an acid-resistant material (such as glass) to etch metal plates for printing.
Walling wax may be employed to create a hedge along the edges of a plate, eliminating the need to use an acid bath.
Acid resist refers to the resistance employed to stop the destructive action of a mordant over a surface.
A co-polymer or polymer water dispersion of either methacrylic acid, acrylonitrile, or acrylic acid. Emulsions of this kind dry through the processes of water evaporation and film coalescence.
Texture refers to the surface quality of something. Texture may be implied or actual. Actual texture is texture that can be felt.
Adsorption is a molecular cohesion. Adhering to another element as if it were glued on, a thin layer of one element remains solidly attached to another element. Liquids, solids and gases can all be adsorbed by surfaces that are solid. When an element is changed physically or chemically into the colloidal state and when the surface is free of debris, the absorption can be increased.
A person's interaction and response to a piece of work, including its visual, literal and expressive qualities.
The term "aesthetics" comes from the Greek word signifying to perceive; it is the philosophy of art. Criticism of art endeavors to create nonsubjective criteria and rules to explain people's perceptions of style and beauty.
Yellowing is the gradual discoloration of a piece of artwork. The process can result from a number of causes including the use of oils/varnishes susceptible to yellowing, a build-up of dirt on the piece that becomes attached to the varnish and/or by the surplus of linseed oil used on the piece. Fortunately, the majority of oil paintings can be issued a new coat of varnish after the old varnish is taken away, thus bringing back the original's colors.
An afterimage is the word used for an optical illusion in which the eye sees an image even after the original image is taken away. Frequently the secondary image will be seen in the complementary color of the original image's color.
Agate is a semiprecious hard stone of a diversified or striped design. The burnishes in gilding are created by the use of shiny gray agate.
Aggregate is the substances combined with cement to create concrete. Materials such as crushed rock, marble dust or sand can be employed separately or together in the mixture. The term may also refer to substances employed to make rough textures in mortar, plaster and stucco.
Similar in operation to an airbrush, an air eraser is a tool with the appearance of a large fountain pen that shoots small particles at an area of an artwork to remove mistakes. A compartment containing an abrasive that erases paint or ink is attached to the instrument, as well as a small hose. It appeals to artists because it allows for a delicate approach to erasing mistakes.
An airbrush is a tool to which a container with fluid paint is fastened. A skinny hose turns into a chamber of carbonic/compressed gas. The tool applies color and tones in seemless gradations. In essence, an airbrush is a version of a spray gun. Commercial artists generally use airbrush technique far more than fine painters for their art.
Alberene stone is a trade name for a soapstone that comes from the state of Virginia. Its colors can vary from dark black to medium gray.
Munsell created a numerical color notation system that rested upon the five colors of blue, purple, green, yellow and red. The original sphere is made up of ten pure hues around its perimeter. When colors are combined with white they turn into tints, and they move up the vertical scale. When they are combined with mixtures of black, they are positioned further down the scale, and become shades. In addition to moving vertically, the colors move horizontally toward the sphere’s center, and change gradually in purity as they turn into neutral gray tones.
A type of print invented in 1850 by Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard. This type of print (also referred to as a albumen silver print) was the first commercially exploitable means of creating a photographic print on a paper base from a negative.
Alembic is a word used in the past to refer to a still. Physicians during the 3rd century in Alexandria are generally given the honor of having invented distillation. The word originates from the Arabic word alanbig (a still) which is itself derived from the Greek word ambix (a spouted cup).
Alternative words for Egyptian blue.
A design that is repeated and fills an area entirely. Textiles and wallpapers are examples of items that contain allover designs.
Alternating rhythm is one of the five types of visual rhythm. It occurs when positive and negative shapes change design at regular intervals. An example of alternating rhythm can be found on chessboards with their black and white squares.
Aluminum leaf is a type of leaf employed by artists/craftpersons to create a silvery effect in gilding. Palladium and silver leaf are preferred leafs over aluminum leaf, because the later gives off a mated, dull look. Art pieces are not recommended to contain aluminum leaf, because its already rough, dull apperance increases over time.
A type of metallic pigment combined with bronzing liquid to create silver paint. Because of the texture and leaden characteristics of aluminum paint, it is not appropriate for gilding. However, it has many uses for industrial and commericial products/projects.
ASTM is an organization that tests and makes standards for industrial materials. CS 98-62 standards that were made by the National Bureau of Standards have now been taken over by ASTM standard specifications.
Anastatic printing is a relief printing method that leaves behind the sections/marks/lines that need to be inked - in other words, everything except the printing section of the plate is etched. This process is different from etching (an intaglio printing method). Zinc etching is among the best known anastic printing methods. Asphalt varnish is used to paint the design on a zinc plate. Then the plate is held in a mordant bath of dilute nitric acid after the varnish dries. This causes the areas that are not for printing to be bitten away. The artist William Blake (1757 - 1827) created all kinds of picture illustrations and texts using anastatic printing.
Anhydrous alcohol (also known as absolute alcohol) is ethyl alcohol taken through a process to eliminate any trace of water. 6% of regular grain alcohol is water. Anhydrous alcohol can be combined with turpentine, mineral spirits or several other solvents.
An ankh is a symbol representing life used frequently in art from Egypt and also in some Assyrian art. Other words for the symbol include Egyptian cross, ansata and ansate. It looks like a cross with a loop at the top. The origin of the symbol is yet a mystery to Egyptologists.
Anodizing is an electrolytic method that involves coating metal with a decorative or protective surface coating. Placing a uniform layer on aluminum of aluminum oxide through anodizing safeguards the aluminum from corrosion over time and aides in its capacity to firmly grasp coating materials and paints.
An anthemion is a collection of decorations made up of flower shapes and simple leaf forms. The forms were used in ancient Greece and survived until the present day as an established theme. There are about 3-4 main kinds of anthemia, and they can be employed individually or grouped together.
A clear man-made organic pigment that contains wonderful lightfast characteristics. The color may become soluble in powerful solvents that are organic.
Something is said to be an antique when it was created many years ago. An antique may refer to a work of art or just an old object. Often antiques are valuable because of their nostalgic value, limited availability or irreplaceable parts. According to the USA, home furnishings are considered antiques if they are at least 100 years old.
An anvil is a block on which metal is formed. Forging or hammering the metal by hand are the methods used. In the later method, the metal may be placed in a fire until it is red and bendable. Then, it is taken out and hammered on the anvil to the desired shape. The anvil itself may be created out of steel-faced iron.
Applied arts is a term used for the employment of beauty and design to useful objects. Though it can be difficult to separate the two, fine arts are usually placed in the category of art that awakens the mind and/or appeals to one's academic, intellectual response. Fine art can occur in any type of art form, such as music or sculpture. It often requires years of intense study by an artist to create a piece of excellent fine art. Applied arts, on the other hand, apply imaginative ideas to objects that serve everyday needs. Types of art that are regarded as applied arts include fashion design, decorative design and industrial design. As it relates to academics, some parts of education are regarded as applied science and others as applied arts, though both may contain overlapping methods of areas of pedagogy.
. As it relates to academics, some parts of education are regarded as applied science and others as applied arts, though both may contain overlapping methods and areas of st
Aqua fortis is a Latin word used to refer to nitric acid. Its dilution is the main mordant etchers use in their craft.
An aquafortist is a term used for a person who etches, the same way the term painter is used for a person who paints.
Aquatint is a variation of etching; it is an intaglio technique used in printmaking. In this kind of printmaking, a person creates impressions on a matrix (a zinc/copper plate in regards to aquatint) containing ink. After this step, the plate and a paper sheet are inserted in a printing press. The end product is paper coated with an ink layer; this step can be repeated as desired by the artist. Acid is used in aquatint in order to create the impressions on the metal plate. This is different than the engraving method in which a person uses a needle to create the impressions. Aquatint employs rosin in order to make the value gradations. Rosin holds onto the plates surface by heat and resists acid. An image is formed one part at a time by the artist maneuvering the degree of acid exposure over the piece's areas to control the tonal variations. The famous artist Goya (1746 - 1828) created images completed in aquatint with drypoint and/or etched lines. At present, the method of aquatint is favored for use by graphic artists, and is particularly favored when it comes to completing prints in color.
A terms describing the longevity of a piece of material. A material that is archival lasts longer/maintains its state better than items that are not archival. PH neutral materials and alkaline-buffered materials are examples of archival quality items.
Coined by Jean Dubuffet, "art brut" is a term for art created by people on the out-skirts of the established art world such as psychiatric patients and people living on the edge of society. Dubuffet was of the opinion that this type of art - since it derived from people who were not inhibited but educational training or social constraints - was respectable.
The key to perceiving things and drawing them is to have a mental shift in the brain - from the left-mode of thinking to the right-mode of thinking. In each mode, a person perceives things differently.
For example, while in the left-mode of the brain, if a person saw a fire, he/she would run to get some water. But a person in the right-mode of the brain would think, “Look at all the pretty colors of yellow, orange and red!”
This is why artists may mention that they notice a different state of mental awareness as they draw - time seems to fly out the window and does not exist! Words are no longer important, and a state of relaxation combined with an alert mind takes over. Drawing, playing music, painting, cooking....all of these things can bring one into this state of awareness. It is a pleasurable experience.
Therefore, the artist’s way of seeing begins with shifting into using the right side of the brain in order to truly SEE what is in front of him/her. By shifting to the drawing mode, people can begin to draw their perceptions, rather than draw preconceived notions of what is there.
Assemblage refers to adhering three-dimensional objects to an image's surface, adding actual texture to the image. Assemblage should not be confused with collage.
Short for “the American Society for Testing and Materials.” It sets a certain standard by which certain paint qualities are tested. Many manufacturers use it as a standard for quality purposes.
The concept that the viewer's comprehension of the underlying meaning of a piece of artwork should not be influenced by the author's stated intentions, social background or biography.
Automatic writing is a technique developed in the 20th century by the Surrealist and Dada artists to use as a tool to enter into their subconscious minds to write poetry. The artists would endeavor to access their subconscious thoughts in order to write more open, uninhibited poetry.
Amyl acetate is a lacquer solvent that exudes a potent scent smelling of bananas - and hence is often referred to as babana oil. A lacquer diluent called amyl alcohol, exudes a smell similar to amyl acetate but it is not as strong. Amyl acetate can cause health problems; it can for example, irritate the nose, throat and eyes.
A stable adhesive liquid element in paint that joins pigment particles and the paint film together to keep the overall state of the paint in place.
The visual effect achieved when a dark color “bleeds” into a lighter color.
Smoothing edges of shapes or colors one into the other in order to create a seamless gradation from one to the next.
A visual effect that happens on varnished surfaces in damp places; things become gradually more and more opaque and dull.
Opaque paint that has the ability to surface over a color beneath it so none of it can be seen.
Camera obscura refers to a system of mirrors and lenses created during the 16th and 17th centuries. It was used as a primitive camera for artists. Using a camera obscura, a painter could project an image on a 2D surface to use it as a preliminary sketch.
A piece of woven cloth that provides the surface area for paint.
A protein taken from cow’s milk that is used to made a water-resistant flat film.
The all-important part of a painting to which all other elements are supportive in that they do not generate distraction. Competing portions of a painting can diminish the power, intensity, or preferred focus on the center of interest.
Wood that has been burned and compressed; it is a tool used to create drawings. Charcoal is a versatile drawing medium; numerous types of marks can be made. It comes in a few varieties, including soft or hard sticks.
A molecule of more than one kind of structural unit.
A term referring to the puckering that happens on papers after washes if they are not stretched correctly or if they are not very strong.
Collage refers to adhering two-dimensional objects to an image's surface. Collage should not be confused with assemblage.
Chemists work with pigments to test their characteristics, and they use the knowledge they glean from this in order to create paints from colorants. William Henry Perkin discovered aniline dyes created from coal tar in 1856. And since then many improvements have been made in regard to performance and quality of artists’ pigments. Synthetic pigments are available today that provide greater safety in their use, as well as strength and beauty not always available in natural pigments (some of which fade over time). Scientists have been able to restore and save paintings from hundreds of years ago because of their knowledge of pigment permanence.
The organization of the art elements in a drawing or painting. These art elements include shape, color, movement, line, tone, color, edges and perspective.
Conception refers to the initial development of an artist’s idea. It involves the start of a creative idea that is refined aesthetically through careful visualization and the solving problems that come up. As the idea is developed, the execution of the idea begins. The method of how to carry out the idea, as well as the use of materials to be used determines how the conception is realized. Usually artists that follow the traditional genre are more concerned with the techniques of how to make their artwork come about. Contemporary artists, for the most part, frequently put more time and effort towards the initial idea and what they wish to “say” to the viewer.
A type of art in which the concept or idea of the work is the essential element regarding the overall message and assessment of the work. It is the idea behind the work that is considered important, and all the planning and decisions regarding the work stem from the initial idea. Marcel Duchamp, a French artist, is credited with showing conceptualists examples of conceptual works, such as his piece called, "Fountain" in 1917.
A hard resin that is put into painting mediums and varnishes.
Crayon art is artwork made or created with crayon wax. There are several varieties of crayons - including conte crayon and wax crayon. Example of crayon artwork can be seen from artwork individuals do as children. Some artists use crayons professionally to make fine art. Tiona Marco is one such artist. She creates realistic artwork using crayola crayons.
A resin produced from conifer trees that is put into varnishes and oil mediums.
The process of cutting designs from paper and then placing them on surfaces in order to create a collage.
High quality Gouache paints. They are used extensively in commercial art.
Liquids that work as a diluting agent in oil paints. Water is an example of the diluent used in waterbased paints.
Formatting is often used to convey meaning in an artistic work. One way to do this is to create a diptych - combining of two canvases together. By presenting images that relate to one another, an artist is able to make a statement with more force than if the image stood by itself.
The term refers to the process of creating a homogeneous combination of ingredients in paints. Pigment particles are spread evenly in the paint.
A combination of chalk, water-based paint and glue. Artists use it mostly for posters and murals.
Drawing, like anything else, takes practice. By taking the time and diligently practicing drawing exercises, a person will improve his/her draftsmanship over time. And the learning never ends - there is always more to learn in the realm of art. But once the basic master of drawing skills is achieved, a person has the ability to draw anything - ships, portraits, animals, flowers, landscapes...
There are five basic skills to drawing. These basic skills include the perception of edges, the perception of spaces, the perception of relationships, the perception of lights and shadows, and the perception of the whole (gestalt). Switching to the right side of the brain allows one to perceive all of these things in a way that faciliitates greater ease of drawing them.
In order to access the right side of the brain, it is necessary to shut off the left side of the brain so the right side can take over the job. This process is achieved by presenting the brain with information that the left side of the brain does not want to process. In essence, the left side of the brain gives up, thereby giving the right side of the brain the freedom to operate freely. A number of drawing exercises can assist this transition.
Most people prefer to use the left side of their brain to operate on a day-to-day basis. Reading, writing and arithmetic are all activities that the left side of the brain enjoys because the left side of the brain is analytic and verbal. But in order to draw, it is best to switch into the right side of the brain, because it can best handle information that is spatial, nonverbal and holistic. Tapping into the right side allows one to ease into a state of drawing with success.
Through drawing, a person not only learns a new skill, but learns to open up the creative side of his/her brain. The imagination is unleashed and one perceives himself/herself in a whole new way, as well as the rest of the world.
A material that starts or quickens the drying process of oil paint, because it encourages oxidation.
A type of painting technique that involves putting a small amount of paint onto a dry brush. The effect of applying the brush to a surface is a rough, scratchy visual effect.
An oil that absorbs oxygen and then changes into a firm film after being exposed to air.
Changing the types of edges included within a piece of work to avoid monotony and add interest; these edges may be hard, soft, intermediate or lost.
Light is made up of a long band of radiant energy. On one side of the band are X rays and ultraviolet rays. On the other side of the band are invisible heat and infrared rays. The band includes a section of visible light rays where all color is found. This is called the “spectrum.”
A technique in painting that involves a binder that is melted wax.
Artists that draw inspiration from the physical world around them are externally focused. Drawing what is around them is often the first thing people do to start developing as artists, and they may continue to be externally focused as artists for the rest of their lives. However, in time they may change and become more internally focused. Approaching art with an external focus creates objective art - art that is perceived rather than art that is subjective - stemming from the mind or heart.
A description of paint. “Fat” relates to the high oil content in a particular paint.
Pigment that is inert which is mixed into paint in order to thicken it. It is also known as an “extender.” Often times it is much cheaper and more efficient for a painter to use a filler especially if the painting requires a large amount of paint.
A solution sprayed on drawings to stop any possible blurring, smudging or flaking from happening to it. It is used to “fix” the drawing so it remains honest to the initial drawing. It is best to spray fixatives outdoors to prevent the spray (usually alcohol or shellac) from entering the lungs.
Flowing rhythm is one of the five types of visual rhythm. It occurs when curvy positive and negative shapes are repeated and when wavy lines are repeated. Examples of flowing rhythm are found on many wallpapers that contain flowers, leaves and stems.
Colors in dyes or pigments that fade when hit with sunlight.
A material of white ground that prepares a support for the future application of paint. Gesso is made up of glue, chalk and white pigment.
Non-transparent watercolors which are often used to create illustrations.
A monochromatic painting (usually gray) that is often placed underneath other layers of colored glazes.
A substance originating from a plant that is soluble in water.
A substance taken from Acacia trees that functions as a medium for watercolor paints.
An historical movement associated with the Italian Renaissance founded upon the literature and culture of classical Greco-Roman antiquity in regards to scientific, intellectual, literary and educational branches between the 14th - 16 centuries.
A term describing the absorption of moisture from the air.
An illustration is a general term that refers to a drawing or original piece of artwork that often includes a narrative imbedded within the image. Illustrations are often included, for example, within children’s books to provide a visual of what is happening at a set time in a story.
Implied lines are lines that are not necessary drawn in an image, but are lines created by values, colors, textures or shapes that guide the eye though the piece of artwork.
Texture refers to the surface quality of something. Texture may be implied or actual. Implied texture is texture that is visual.
A thin layer of tinted paint spread over a ground in order change its value to a middle value and/or to reduce the absorbency of the ground.
Finished oil paintings benefit from a protective layer to keep dirt, dust, and other material from damaging the work. These varnish and varnish mediums can be bought commercially or made by the artist. Common components of these protective layers are as follows:
Beeswax oil medium - 10 parts raw linseed oil, 2 parts beeswax, 1/16 part litharge.
Beeswax medium - 1 part beeswax, 3 parts turpentine.
Damar varnish - 1 part crushed damar resin, 4 parts turpentine.
Damar varnish medium - 9 parts damar varnish, 9 parts turpentine, 4 parts stand oil, 2 parts Venice turpentine.
Shellac varnish - 1 part shellac (clear or colored), 7 parts alcohol.
Stand oil medium - 1 part stand oil, 3 parts Venice turpentine.
Varnish medium - 1 part copal varnish, 1 part linseed oil, 1 part turpentine.
Known as a French curve, drawing curve, irregular curve or aircraft curve, this skinny, clear, hard material (often plastic), is shaped in a scroll or curved form in order to lead its user past a number of points not found along the curve of a circle. It comes in several forms and sizes and is often named in connection to the particular work it is created for - such as the ship curve employed in ship designs. Draftpersons and artists frequently use French curves in their work.
A soft natural matting that is created from the interior bark of corchorus plants from southern India.
A term describing the main values of a painting or drawing. “High key” is the description of a work that remains predominately in lighter values; “Low key” is the description of a work that contains mostly darker values.
A dye that neither migrates or bleeds, and has been processed either electrically or chemically to join to a particle.
The spread of a solid polymeric material throughout a solution of water.
A method of removing extra liquid through a porous substance.
A term describing paint that has been diluted with a spirit and thus contains a reduced oil content.
The left side of the brain (left-mode) is 1) verbal - likes to use words to explain and describe things 2) digital - likes to use numbers such as adding or subtracting 3) rational - likes to use reason and facts to make judgements on things and situations 4) temporal - likes to know what time it is and enjoys being aware of the sequence of things 5) analytic - enjoys knowing how things go, step-by-step 6) symbolic - likes to use things to represent something 7) abstract - enjoys taking one snippet of information and using it to access the entire situation or whole thing 8) linear - likes to process things in relation to connected ideas, with one thought leading to the next one in a one-path manner and 9) logical - likes to make conclusions with one item following the next in a rational manner.
A process of pulverizing pigments by washing them with water in order to remove any organic matter or salts that cling to them.
Having the ability to resist bleaching or fading that occurs from light exposure.
Canvas not yet prepared for paint application. Priming a canvas or sizing a canvas are examples of how a canvas may be prepared for paint.
An edge is the place where two different colors, textures or values meet. Edges may be characterized in a variety of ways. Lost edges disappear; the transition between two colors/values/textures cannot easily be seen because the transition between the two is gradual.
M.E. Chevreul (Director of Dyes at the Gobelins tapestry works in France) wrote The Law of Simultaneous Contrast of Color in 1839. He included within his work about how the eye perceives color in multiple combinations. He made the point that it becomes more and more difficult for the viewer to pinpoint the focal point of the composition when the picture includes more color and objects. Hiis observations helped to begin the Impressionists’ painting discoveries with light and color.
A process using glue to join a painting the size of a mural onto a wall; the painting may be created on fabric or paper.
Also known as mass color. Masstone is the undiluted pigment color of a paint.
A type of cardboard often used to showcase pieces of artwork. A window cut is removed from its center and it is placed over the piece of artwork. It is then attached to a backboard, such as foam board, to sandwich the artwork and protect it.
Migration refers to the movement of a dye or pigment in a dried film.
In the visual arts, mixed media is artwork created out of two or more visual art mediums. Mixed media art should not be confused with multimedia art, because the former refers to artwork that involves multiple traditional visual art media. The latter refers to art created from a combination of non-visual elements with visual art (such as sound and photography) or combinations with various other arts (like dance and literature).
A type of material having a low molecular weight; it has the ability to chemically react with other materials to create a polymer.
Mordant gilding is the process used to lay leaf in an oil painting. Unlike water gilding where water is used, mordant gilding is laid with an oil or varnish sizing. Used only for a matte finish - because it cannot be burnished like water gilded leaf.
A picture created from small colored pieces of materials such as stone, glass or tile.
A term referring to a painting completed on a wall surface.
A type of ply board created from buffered cellulose or rags of cotton. It is made to create a neutral, stable surface.
A surface area where a painter is able to freely mix and squeeze paint before applying to paint to a piece of artwork. The term “palette” is also a term that refers to the choice of colors an artist is working with.
A mixture of gum, water and pigments combined and then pressed to create a stick for artists to use. The sticks can be used over a variety of surfaces, including paper and canvas. There are different kinds of pastels, including oil pastels and chalk pastels. The term also refers to the name of artworks created using the medium of pastels.
A tool used to create drawings. It may consist of colored wax, charcoal, or graphite that is in the form of a stick. The stick’s end point may be sharpened and held under a surface of wood. It may also be placed in a mechanical holder for better handling.
A certain state of paintings that occurs when pigments containing lead become transparent from aging. The process reveals layers of paint applied earlier on.
Colored particles combined with adhesive binders in order to create paint.
Ingredients mixed into paint in order to increase the paint’s fluidity or to bring it to a state in which it can be quickly dissolved.
A French term that means “open air.” It is applied to paintings that are completed outside right in front of the subject matter.
A number of monomers joined together to create repeating forms.
A material that inhibits microorganisms from growing in organic matter.
A surfacing material used to coat a support to get it ready for paint application.
Progressive rhythm is one of the five types of visual rhythm. It occurs when the positive and negative shapes in a design are changed every single time the design is repeated. An example of progressive rhythm is found in the cloud formations in the sky.
A putto (plural putti) is a plumb, often clotheless male child; such infants are frequently included in artwork from the 1400s. Sometimes putti have wings, but they are not the same as cherubim which are angels. Putti are non-religious in nature and represent a secular passion. When a putto is used to portray a cupid, it is referred to as an amorino. On the other hand, putto gradually came to be known as a symbol of God's omniprescence in Baroque art. In the ancient classical world of art, infants with wings where thought to impact people's lives. Putti were generally not used during the Middle Ages. However, during the 1420s a man named Donatello from Florence brought putti back in a big way and is credited with reinventing putti during the time of the Renaissance. He used putti in art with Christian messages, sometimes using them as angels playing music.
A synthetic resin used in varnishes and works as a painting medium. Its full name is polyvinyl acetate.
Random rhythm is one of the five types of visual rhythm. It occurs when positive and negative shapes are repeated in a manner without order or any planned arrangement. The random rhythm involves design that cannot be predicted. An example of the use of random rhythm can be seen in paintings created with a splattering of paint.
Light that is bent as a result of penetrating various mediums that cause the light to change its course.
The rate at which the light travels in a vacuum in relation to its traveling speed within a substance.
Regular rhythm is one of the five types of visual rhythm. It occurs when positive and negative shapes have the same visual beats. In other words, the shapes contain the same amount of space between them and are predictable once the pattern of the rhythm is established. An example of the use of regular rhythm can be found on brick walls and parking spaces.
A term that relates to fusible transparent materials. They are the main ingredients in plastics and paints.
The rule of thirds is based upon the Golden ratio. It is a principle many visual artists follow when designing a pleasing composition. The aim of the rule is to position the composition’s main areas of interest along lines that separate the image into three equal rows and columns - most preferably at or near the intersection of the lines.
The way in which a paint binder changes into a discolored or transparent state. This process occurs due to alkaline conditions or as a result of the paint being in a moist environment.
A painting technique that involves applying layers of translucent or opaque paint on a painted area. The technique is used to change the hue or look of the surface while maintaining at least a portion of the painted image underneath.
An Italian term meaning “dry.” It is a technique of creating paintings on walls that involves applying paint directly on dry or lime plaster. The plaster is moistened prior to any paint application.
A decorative technique of cutting into a surface in order to reveal other various contrasting colors beneath it.
A yellowish resin made into varnish; shellac is created from the secretions of the LAC insect.
A process of drawing using a piece of silver wire to draw on ground that has been prepared with Chinese white. Da Vinci is one example of an artist who used this method to create many of his drawings. The technique allows one to create many strokes and faulty marks before finding the “ideal” mark on a drawing because the silver wire leaves only a small trace of metal at each stroke.
A reddish brown chalk that can be used to draw out frescoes. It can also be used to create sketches and preparatory drawings for other works.
A substance spread over a surface that acts as a penetrating sealer. It is used to reduce its absorbency as well as to separate it from other coatings.
An edge is the place where two different colors, textures or values meet. Edges may be characterized in a variety of ways. Soft edges blend together, making it difficult to distinguish where one texture/color/value stops and another begins.
A way to transfer a picture to a bigger or smaller format without changing the picture’s proportions.
A type of wooden chassis that is used for textile supports. Its corners are firm and stable.
A type of wooden chassis used for textile supports. It contains corners that are expandable.
A flushed out painting or drawing created from one section or multiple sections of what the final composition will be.
The main support for a painting, including any items such as cotton, paper, wall…etc
A type of painting technique that involves egg yolk (or whole egg), an oil mixture, and water as the binder for the paint. The term also refers to inexpensive opaque paints.
A term referring to materials that are viscous and heavy if left alone; however, if impacted (whether through stirring or shaking it for example) the material will start to move easily.
A dye that is not laked that can migrate or bleed in paint films that are dry.
A type of texture that features a small even grain. It allows for some attachment for layers of a medium, such as paint or pastel.
The traveling or movement of one oil paint layer over another layer of paint.
A binding agent created from Astragalus plants; the gum functions in pastels and watercolor paints.
A French term meaning “deceive the eye.” It refers to a painting that is done with immaculate detail so as to deceive the viewer that what he/she is viewing is in actuality the object, not an illusion of the object.
A transparent-like liquid that changes into a solid film once it dries.
An invite-only private viewing of an art exhibition held by an individual or group, or an institution such as a museum. The time is generally the day or evening before the public opening. Now usually thought of as "opening day", the term comes from the time when artists would varnish and touch-up paintings once they were hung for the exhibit - prior to the public coming for the display.
An Italian term that means “view.” It is a close representation of an urban landscape.
A combination of an oil and a resin created from the larch. It usually functions as a means to make diluents and mediums for oil paintings.
An old Italian term referring to green underpainting.
Visual movement is employed by artists to guide their viewers’ eyes along a specific path throughout their piece of artwork. It is an important part of many piecse of artwork because it ensures viewers see the artwork in the intended order of events - which in turn may influence the overall impact and understanding of the piece. Moreover, visual movement can significantly influence whether a viewer lingers over a piece or quickly glances at it and then dismiss it. Visual movement can be achieved by utilizing elements such as color, shapes, lines, edges and changing the size of objects. For example, since people’s eyes usually follow a line from start to finish, by incorporating definite or implied lines in an artwork, an artist can effectively direct the visual movement of the piece. In graphic design, visual movement is frequently referred to as flow.
Visual rhythm is a principle in art in that involves the rhythm of visual perception. It occurs when positive shapes are repeatedly positioned in a composition while being separated by negative space. There are several different kinds of visual rhythm, including random rhythm, flowing rhythm, regular rhythm, alternating rhythm, progressive rhythm and flowing rhythm.
Visual thinking refers to the method of thinking through the use of visual processing or understanding. It is a method employed by numerous companies and individuals to easily communicate concepts and ideas in a short amount of time using visual stimuli. Visual thinking allows people to organize thoughts in a non-linear and non-verbal way. One of the main benefits of visual thinking is that people can communicate often complex relationships and abstract thoughts that might otherwise take a long time to effectively share. Diagrams, maps, geometric shapes combined with lines and arrows, illustrations, photographs, doodles and sketches are all examples of ways in which people can use visual thinking to communicate their ideas.
A state of being of a substance is said to be “volatile” if it quickly evaporates.
A substance mixed into water-based paints or water in order to lessen the tension of the liquid’s surface.
A painting technique that involves a binder created from water-soluble gum. Opaque and transparent watercolors and their many colors may be used.
Using a waxy medium to create a design; a wash of color is layered over the design to create a desired effect.
The process of applying fresh paint on a surface that is still wet with other paint. Also, called "Wet-into-wet". The term applies both to like-and-like paint and mixed techniques (i.e. tempura into wet oil).
The process of applying fresh paint on a surface that is still wet with other paint. Also, called "wet on wet". The term applies both to like-and-like paint and mixed techniques (i.e. tempura into wet oil).
Also known as a Water Tension Breaker. A substance mixed into water-based paints or water in order to lessen the tension of the liquid’s surface.
A turpentine substitute; it is used to dilute oil paint.
Purified chalk that is ground with water and then dried in order to create pigment.
Drawing is a tremendous asset for those willing to challenge themselves and learn it.