Glossary

The language of art — in your language.

Abstract Art: The visual representation of something from real-life that does not look real, but rather is unnaturally composed of shapes, forms, colors, and textures. 

Abstract Expressionism: An artistic movement of the mid-20th century in which artists portrayed thoughts and emotions in response to real life rather than portraying the real-life objects they see.

 

Acrylic Paint: A thick paint made by mixing pigment with a binding agent called acrylic resin.

Art Genres: The classification of types of painting including still lives, landscapes, portraits, and abstracts.

Binding Agent: A wet substance in paint that helps the dry colored pigment stick together.

Blending: The technique of gently melding two or more colors or values to create a gradual transition or to soften lines.

Blocking In: A painting technique used to create a general composition before adding any details or shading, which ensures proper placement, proportions, and color harmony.


Canvas: A firm closely woven cloth usually made from linen, hemp, or cotton that is stretched over a wooden frame.

Collage: An artistic composition made of various materials (such as paper, cloth, or wood) glued on a surface.

 

Color: How the light reflected from an object looks in terms of hue, lightness, and saturation.

 

Composition: The arrangement of figures or materials in a work of art.

Creativity: The ability to consider ideas from a unique perspective or create something meaningful in new or imaginative ways.

 

Crosshatching: A method of shading done by repeatedly drawing two series of intersecting perpendicular lines.

Elements of Art: The building blocks used in the composition of any piece of visual artwork — they include line, shape, form, color, value, texture, and space.

 

Fine Art: Visual art (such as painting or sculpture) made for the sake of beauty.

 

Form: The shape and structure of something, as opposed to what it is made from.

Functional Art: Works of art that have a useful purpose in addition to being beautiful.

Gouache: A type of 'opaque' watercolor made with a higher concentration of pigment and additional material such as chalk.

 

Hue: A particular gradation of color; shade or tint.

 

Impasto: The technique of applying paints in a thick paste-like manner.

 

Impressionism: An artistic movement of the 19th Century in which the works of art gave a visual impression of real life — focusing on light and color — rather than creating an accurate depiction of an object.

 

Inspiration: The enthusiastic feeling experienced when discovering new and creative ideas.

Landscape: An art genre that encompasses the artistic representation of a large area of countryside, especially in relation to its appearance.

Lightness: How much light is reflected in a color.

Line: A one-dimensional continuous mark made by moving a dot or point across a surface.

 

Masterpiece: A work of art done with extraordinary skill.

 

Medium: The material or technical means used to create a piece of art.

Mixing: The process of combining two or more colors to create a unique color.

 

Oil Paint: A type of paint made by mixing pigment with a binding agent called drying oil.

 

Palette: A surface on which artists place and mix their colors before painting; or, a specific range of colors used by an artist.

Palette Knife: A thin blade of varying flexibility set in a handle and used for mixing paint colors or applying them to a substrate.

 

Panel Painting: A painting executed on a rigid support — ordinarily wood or metal — created as one piece or multi-piece artwork.

Pastels: Condensed paste made of powdered pigment that can be used on its own or to make crayons.

Pigment: The natural or synthetic coloring component, which when mixed with a binding agent becomes an art medium such as paint, ink, oil pastel, crayon, etc.

Plaquette: A decorative panel, of natural materials, created as a form of artistic expression.

 

Pointillism: A technique using tiny dots — or points — of pure colors with the intention of encouraging the viewer's eye to blend those colors together.

Pop Art: An artistic movement of the 1950s-1960s in which popular culture and commonplace objects are used as subject matter.

Portraits: An art genre that encompasses the artistic representation of humans or animals that are alive or that have been alive.

Post-Modernism: An artistic movement of the late-20th-century that questions what 'art' is or should be by returning to traditional materials in new ways.

Shape: The two-dimensional area inside an enclosed line or in contrast to its surroundings.

Space: The area between the other elements of art within a piece of artwork.

Still Life: An art genre that encompasses the decorative arrangement and artistic representation of inanimate objects or live objects that do not move.

Study: A literary or artistic piece intended to be an outline, experiment, exploration, or analysis of specific features or characteristics.

Substrate: A solid material to which artistic mediums are applied such as paper, canvas, wood, fabric, etc.

 

Surrealism: An artistic movement of the 1920s-1930s in which artists painted illogical scenes realistically, creating strange scenes from everyday objects, expressing their unconscious.

Tempera Paint: A type of paint made by mixing pigment with eggs as a binding agent.

Texture: The way that the surface of an object looks or feels.

Value: The relative degree of lightness or darkness of a color or of black.

Viscosity: Refers to the density of paint; thicker paint will retain brush impressions longer and thinner paint will flow and drip more easily.

Wash: A light layer of diluted paint or ink, which is spread with a brush over a broad surface evenly to avoid any visible brush stroke marks.

 

Watercolor Paint: A type of paint made by mixing pigment with a binding agent such as glue, casein, or gum arabic, which is then diluted with water.

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