Absorption of Light
Retention of light by the surface and conversion to heat, rather than reflection.
A 20th century style of painting in which non-representational lines, colors, shapes, and forms replace accurate visual depiction of objects, landscape, and figures. The subject is often stylized, blurred, repeated or broken down into basic forms so that it becomes unrecognizable. Intangible subjects such as thoughts, emotions, and time are often expressed in abstract art form.
Mixing of colored illumination, including the blending of color in the eye rather than in pigments.
A chemical substance that has a pH of less than 7.0. Acids can react with photographs, paper memorabilia, metals, and scrapbook products shortening their life span, causing corrosion, discoloration, brittleness or a variety of other problems.
Yellowish-brown lines that appear on artwork that was not framed using conservation materials. This causes the artwork to discolor and become brittle.
Paper or canvas treated to neutralize its natural acidity in order to protect fine are: and photographic prints from discoloration and deterioration. These materials have a 7 pH or very close to 7 pH. Acid-free materials are more permanent and less likely to discolor over time. The term archival or conservation quality more accurately describes true acid-free conservation quality mat board.
Adhesive Transfer Tape
A double-sided tape used to stick mat boards and other materials together. Usually used with an applicator or "ATG gun.".
See Atmosphere Perspective.
Refers to the branch of philosophy that studies art and beauty.
A visual sensation that remains after an external stimulus has ended.
Photographic print most popular from 1855 to 1890. Albumen positive prints are made on paper coated with frothy egg white and salt solution and sensitized with silver nitrate solution. The print is then finalized by exposure to sunlight through a negative.
Alkali, Alkaline or Base
A chemical substance that has a pH greater than 7.0. It can be added to materials containing acid to neutralize the acid or act as a reserve for the purpose of counteracting acids that it may come into contact with in the future.
Alla Prima, the Direct Method or "wet into wet" is an oil painting technique. The term "Alla Prima" is Italian for "at first attempt" which describes this face paced technique in which the work is completed before the first layer of paint has dried up or is still wet. This technique was used a lot during the Impressionist Movement where painter would paint a scene outside in one sitting because a painting could be finished in hours instead of weeks.
Alla Prima, the Direct Method or "wet into wet" is an oil painting technique where the work is completed in one session. The term "Alla Prima" is Italian for "at first attempt" which is why it refers to this face paced technique in which the work is completed before the first layer of the painting has dried up or is still wet. This technique was opposite the traditional oil painting technique or Indirect Method where the artist has to wait for one layer of painting to dry before applying the next one, with the "alla prima" method, wet painting is applied over still wet painting. Impressionist loved to use this technique because they could paint outside and complete the painting in one sitting instead of weeks. The primary benefit of this is the speed at which the work can be finished: hours instead of weeks.
Alexander's Dark Band
The relatively darker region between the primary and secondary rainbows.
A generalized and relatively directionless illumination that remains when the key light is removed.
Hues that are adjacent to each other along the outer edge of the color wheel.
Patterns of small specular highlights that form into concentric rings around a light source or a principal highlight.
The point in the sky or below the horizon that is 180 degrees from the sun.
The hole in the lens that lets in light Measured in "f-stops" (i.e. f/5.6, f/22).
Printing technique capable of producing unlimited tonal gradations to re-create the broad flat tints of ink wash or watercolor drawings by etching microscopic crackles and pits into the image on a master plate, typically made of copper or zinc. The majority of Spanish artist Goya's (1746-1828) graphic works were done using this technique.
A term used to describe museum quality material (acid-free) that will protect your art for extended periods of time. Usually describes a framing procedure where all materials are completely acid free. Also referred to as conservation framing.
Light not produced by natural sources, especially electric light.
Print intended for the artist's personal use. It is a common practice to reserve approximately ten percent of an edition as artist's proofs, although this figure can be higher. The artist's proof is sometimes referred to by its French name, epreuve d'artist (abbreviated E.A.). Artist's proofs can be distinguished by the abbreviation A.P. or E.A., commonly on the lower left corner of the work.
Atmosphere (or Aerial) Perspective
The change in appearance of objects as they are viewed at increasing distances through layers of illuminated air.
A color scheme based on a triangular gamut that does not include neutral grey.
See Form Shadow.
A sheet of mat-board or foam core placed behind the artwork and it's associated mat to provide stiffening and protection.
Al light that shines on the area behind the subject to raise the value of the background or to define it more clearly.
A light that shines on the subject from behind to separate it from the background.
A kind of art wherein paraffin or beeswax is used to resist paint on fabric or paper. The design patterns are formed on the unwaxed areas.
Balance is arranging elements so that no one part of a piece overpowers, or seems heavier than any other part. The are two different kinds of balance: 1) Symmetrical (or formal) balance is when both sides of an artwork, if split down the middle, appear to be the same. The human body is an example of symmetrical balance. 2) Asymmetrical is the absence of or violation of symmetry.
The 45-degree cut on a mat board. This allows about 1/16" of the core to be seen. A reverse bevel means the core will not be seen from the front of the mat.
Printing using an un-inked plate to produce the subtle embossed texture of a white-on-white image, highlighted by the shadow of the relief image on the un-inked paper. This technique is used in many Japanese prints.
The perceived intensity of a light.
A form of portrait lighting where the light shines more on the nearer or broader side of the face.
The placement of adjacent strokes of contrasting hues, which mix in the eye to form another color.
The addition of an alkaline reserve to a material to control the pH over an extended time. Commonly used in the paper industry to identify that alkaline filler has been added during the papermaking process to offset any acid that is present or that it may come in contact with later. Common buffers for paper are magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate. In addition to papers, buffering is sometimes used in adhesives and other materials where the manufacturer wants to control the pH.
Felt or rubber attached to the back of a large and heavy frame at the bottom corners to provide a cushion between the frame and the wall and help the frame to hang flat against the wall.
Art reproduction on canvas which is created by a process such as serigraphy, photomechanical, or giclee printing. Some processes can even recreate the texture, brush strokes, and aged appearance of the original work of art.
The first permanent photographic printing process used between 1866 to 1890. Made in three different tones: black, purple-brown, sepia. It is made by using 3 layers of stable pigment in registration on top of each other and requires a minimum of 12 hours to create a single print. Carbon prints are highly sought after and rare.
A shadow projected by an object onto another surface, as opposed to a form shadow. This is the darkest value which is the black in the first box on the left of your value scale. This value occurs in places that are completely shielded from the light source or any reflections. These areas are usually to be found among the shadows the subject casts on other surfaces.
Charcoal is probably the oldest, or one of the oldest, art materials. It was, after all, what our pre-historic ancestors used to draw on cave walls. Charcoal is an impure form of elemental carbon made by burning selected woods in anaerobic conditions.
The reflection or refraction of light by curved glass or by water waves, causing spots, arcs, or bands of light to be projected onto another surface.
Refers to the distribution of light and shade within a picture or a work of art created entirely with light and shade only.
Refers to the intensity, strenght or purity of a color. It is the perceived strength of a surface color, that is, the degree of difference from neutrality, defined quantitatively in relation to standard color samples. High chroma surface colors reflect light of high saturation and brightness for a given level of illumination.
The tendency of the visual system to adjust to a given color of illumination.
A positive print process known for its sharpness, rich color saturation, and permanence. Unless interpositives are made, these prints are made from slides and transparencies, never from color negatives.
In photography, the loss of information due to the photo-sensor's inability to respond to to relatively bright or dim light levels.
Taken from the French word paste up. This is basically done by combining pieces of cloth, magazines and other found objects.
Printing technique in which proofs are pulled from a block on which the artwork or design is built up like a collage, creating a relief.
Color is the most expressive element of art and is seen by the way light reflects off a surface. Color is used to create illusion of depth, as red colors seem to come forward while blue seems to recede into the distance. Color, and particularly contrasting color, is also used to draw attention to a particular part of the image.
A small area of color that stands out from the rest of the composition, usually because it's complementary or more intensely chromatic.
The dominant wavelength of a light source, typically measured in degrees Kelvin. Also, the dominant color woven throughout a color scheme, express as the center of area of a gamut.
The perception of stability of local colors, despite changes in overall color cast.
A region of brightly colored light surrounding an intense light source, such as a setting sun or a streetlight; similar to a lens flare in photography.
A particular color sample or swatch defined by hue, value, and chroma.
Color Rendering Index (CRI)
A measure of how accurately artificial light simulates the appearance of colors in natural sunlight.
The selection of colors used in a composition.
In a sequential form such as an illustrated book or animated film, the planning of the limited range of colors within each given sequence, and the transitions between them.
The three-dimensional volume defined by the dimensions of hue, value and chroma.
A series of prepared paint mixtures, usually modulating a color note in various steps of value.
A psychological attribute of color, relative to its proximity to orange (warmest) or blue (coolest).
Color Variant Suite
A set of identical prints in different color schemes.
A circular figure made by distributing the hues of the spectrum around a circle.
Two hues of opposing or balanced color characteristics.
Art composition is the visual arrangements in a work of art. The term composition means 'putting together' and can apply to any work of art that is arranged or put together using conscious thought. Depending on the context, composition is often used interchangeably with various terms such as design, form, visual ordering or formal structure. In graphic design and desktop publishing, composition is commonly referred to as the page layout. Composition includes: The Rule of Thirds, The Rule of Odds, The Rule of Space, Simplification, Limiting Focus, Geometry & Symmetry
Cone or Cones
Retinal receptor specialized for color vision and discrimination of detail. There are two types of photoreceptors in the human retina, the rods and the cones. The cones are active at higher light levels (photopic vision). They are capable of color vision and are also responsible for high spatial acuity.
Conservation, Conservation Framing
Describes the framing procedure where all materials that come in contact with the artwork; mat board, mounting board, etc, are completely acid-free. It is designed to minimize the deterioration of the artwork caused by exposure to the environment.
Glass or acrylic treated in any of various ways to afford the artwork greater protection or visibility.
Refers to what the work of art means; the idea(s) it expresses.
Contrast shows the differences and diversities in an artwork by combining an unusual or different element. This can also create a focal point. Contrast provides an artwork with something interesting to break up any repetitions.
(French) A type of backlighting where the subject is seen in front of a bright field of light.
A blend of pigments that provides a useful paint color for which no single pigment exists.
Colors tending toward blue and away from orange on the hue circle.
Material (likely cardboard) that protects the corners of a frame when in transit.
A device for evaluating sky colors.
A photographic process invented in 1838 which is renowned for the detail and the depth of its rendering. An direct positive image was formed on a copper plate coated with highly polished silver. Following exposure, the image is developed in mercury vapor, resulting in a unique image on metal that cannot be used as a negative for replication.
Damar Varnish is used on oil paintings. It is used to protect the painting for years to come and dries within a few hours. It has a satin medium gloss finish. It can be removed with turpentine or white spirit.
The patchwork of circular or elliptical spots of light caused by sunlight passing through small opening in an overhead canopy.
Depth of Field
How much of the picture is in focus Use a large aperture (lower f-stop number, i.e. f/40) to get a very shallow focus. Good for close-ups. The photographic quality that results from the inability of a lens to focus on more than one plane of distance at a time. The image becomes blurry away from the plane of focus.
A person with color blindness, especially the inability to distinguish red from green.
See Reflected Light.
Light that reflects irregular off an uneven surface, as opposed to spectacular reflection.
2D space such as paintings, drawings, prints and photographs (flat space) is essentially limited to height and width. The following represents some of those techniques to create space: 1) Linear perspective create distant objects which are rendered proportionately smaller than closer ones. The determining factors of this space depends upon the horizon line and vanishing points. 2) Atmospheric Perspective is the application which renders distant objects and spaces with less detail and intensity than closer objects. For example, the use of bluer colors for distant shapes can suggest space between the viewer and the shapes. 3) Placement of objects can give the illusion of space. Distant shapes are higher and closer shapes are lower in the picture plane. 4) Overlapping of objects on the picture plane can suggest space.
3D space is recognized as having height, width, depth, and is referred to as actual space. This would include sculpture, furniture, architecture, ceramics and jewelry. In the setting of a three dimensional work of art the viewer can freely move around and (in the case of architecture) through it. Three dimensional art may use both positive and negative space as a means of revealing content and meaning. For example, in sculpture the spaces in and around the form can be described as negative space. Whereas the form itself may be described as occupying a positive space.
An image based on electronic data and storage rather than on the chemical processes of traditional photography.
The Direct Method, Alla Prima, or "wet into wet" is an oil painting technique. The term "Alla Prima" is Italian for "at first attempt" which is why it refers to this face paced technique in which the work is completed before the first layer of the painting has dried up or is still wet. This technique was opposite the traditional oil painting technique or Indirect Method where the artist has to wait for one layer of painting to dry before applying the next one, with the "alla prima" method, wet painting is applied over still wet painting. Impressionist loved to use this technique because they could paint outside and complete the painting in one sitting instead of weeks. The primary benefit of this is the speed at which the work can be finished: hours instead of weeks.
A technique where the artwork is matted using two separate mat boards, one on top of the other.
An ébauche is a type of under-painting or oil sketch. Unlike the monochromatic grisaille under-painting which is used in preparation for the glazing of color layers, an ébauche is used to block-in color with thin paint and helps the artist connect color with form so that further decisions on hue, value and chroma can be made.
Light that comes from behind to illuminate the fringes of the form, separating it from the background. Also called rim light or kicker.
The painterly control of blurriness, especially along the boundary of a form, useful for immersing a form in a background, creating a sense of depth, or suggesting dim illumination.
Elements of Design
The various visual elements, known as the elements of design or the elements of art, are the vocabulary with which the visual artist composes. These elements which are used in the design usually relate to each other and to the whole art work. They are: Line, Shape, Color, Texture, Direction, Size, Perspective & Space
Emphasis, which is also called the focal point is used to use emphasis an object or attract the viewer's eyes to a place of special importance. It can makes one part of an artwork appear dominant over the other parts or it makes an element or object in a piece stand out.
Printing technique in which an intaglio image is produced by cutting a metal plate or box directly with a sharp engraving tool. The incised lines are inked and printed with heavy pressure.
Printing technique in which a metal plate is first covered with an acid-resistant material, then worked with an etching needle to create an intaglio image. The exposed met-al is eaten away in an acid bath, creating depressed lines that are later inked for printing. This technique was thought re-, have been developed by Daniel Hopfer (1493-1536). Etching surpassed engraving as the most popular graphic art during the active years of Rembrandt and Hercules Segher in the 17th century, and it remains one of the most versatile and subtle printing techniques today.
The effect of the weakening of a light source in relation to the distance of the object away from it.
Fat Over Lean
Fat Over Lean refers to the principle in oil painting of applying paint with a higher oil to pigment ratio ("fat") over paint with a lower oil to pigment ration ("lean") to ensure a stable paint film, since it is believed that the paint with the higher oil content remains more flexible Paint with less oil pigments drys faster and is less flexible, therefore they are more brittle. Paint with a higher oil pigment content takes longer to dry but is more flexible and less likely to crack.
Light that illuminates the shadow side of a form and whose effect is to reduce contrast.
The absorption of light at one wavelength and reemission at a longer wavelength, typically converting ultraviolet to visible light.
Emphasis, which is also called the focal point is used to use emphasis an object or attract the viewer's eyes to a place of special importance. It can makes one part of an artwork appear dominant over the other parts or it makes an element or object in a piece stand out.
Form is the effect of the visual elements in a work of art; the way it looks. It is also the simplest definition of a shape is a closed contour or an element defined by its perimeter. Form is the shape and structure of a dimensional element within a given composition. Form can be both two-dimensional and three-dimensional and can be realistic, abstract or somewhere in between. The terms form and shape are often used synonymously, which is why they are both included here. In reality, form is derived from the combination of point, line and shape.
The analysis of objects in terms of solid geometric objects and the application of that knowledge to the representation of the other elements in nature.
The shadowed side of an object, as opposed to a cast shadow. Also called attached shadow.
The area of the retina corresponding to the central point of vision, specialized in distinguishing fine detail.
The practice of producing paint mixtures as needed throughout the painting process. Also called open palette. See also Premixing.
This is done by applying pigment directly to damp plaster making this wall painting medium one of the most permanent form of wall decoration.
A lighting arrangement where the key light shines directly forward on the subject, leaving little visible shadow. Also called front lighting.
Susceptible to fading, especially after exposure to light.
The full range of color notes that can be mixed by an given set of primary colors; also, the region on the color wheel that represents that range.
The practice of marking the outer boundaries of a region of the color wheel in order to describe, define, or plan the limits of a color scheme.
Galkyd is a painting medium that is alkyd resin. It increases the fluidity of oil colors and speeds up their drying time. Oil paint in thin layers using Galkyd can be within 24 hours. The viscosity of Galkyd is similar to traditional painting mediums made from linseed oil. Galkyd levels brush strokes and creates a strong flexible paint film, leaving an enamel like glossy finish. It is ready to use out of the container and it will thin with odorless mineral spirits. Painters can add mineral spirits or Linseed Oil to thin the viscosity of this medium for glazing.
Galkyd Lite is a painting medium that is alkyd resin. It is similar to Galkyd but, it has a lower viscosity. The viscosity is very similar to that of traditional damar/refined linseed oil painting medium. This medium will leave brush strokes in thick layers because it is so thin. Glazes made with this medium look slightly less glossy than with Galkyd. This medium is used to thin oil paint while maintaining a strong flexible paint film. Galkyd lite also has a longer drying time than Galkyd but, not by much.
Galkyd Slow Dry
Galkyd Slow Dry is painting medium, formulated to have strength and flexibility while keeping the surface of an oil painting open for approximately three days. This is a great medium for alla prima painters, who paint wet into wet.
Galkyd Gel "G-Gel"
Galkyd is a painting medium, formulated for painters who want to create a transparent inpasto. G-Gel will hold brush strokes and marks, even impasto that is 1/4" thick. This medium is used for adding multiple layers of paint. It is very transparent and very lightweight.
A transparent material placed in front of a light to change the color amount or quality of light.
Geometry & Symmetry
The "rule of odds" suggests that an odd number of subjects in an image is more interesting than an even number. Thus if you have more than one subject in your picture, the suggestion is to choose an arrangement with at least three subjects. An even number of subjects produces symmetries in the image, which can appear less natural for a naturalistic, informal composition. Related to the rule of odds is the observation that triangles are an aesthetically pleasing implied shape within an image. In a canonically attractive face, the mouth and eyes fall within the corners of the area of an equilateral triangle. Paul Cézanne successfully used triangles in his compositions in the still life genre.
Gesso primer is actually an acrylic medium, however it is widely used as a base coat for art canvases when oil painting.
Strongly polarized light creating a region of intense illumination around a source.
A transparent layer of paint laid over a passage to intensify, deepen, or otherwise modify a color.
Glazing is an oil painting technique. The glazing technique is where a translucent color is painted over another dry color. The lower one glows through but, is affected by the density of the top glaze, creating a misty or smoky effect. The effect is created by a transparent layer of paint spread over the top of an opaque passage that has been given some time to dry. Light travels through the glaze and is reflected back off of the opaque layer below. This can cause a glowing effect similar to looking at a brightly lit white wall behind a film of colored cellophane. The thin oily layers of a glaze can facilitate the rendering of details that would be more difficult with opaque paints -- e.g. the complexities of skin tones. Glazing mediums are used in this process such as Linseed Oil or Galkyd, etc.
Gloss or Matt Picture Varnish
Gloss or Matt Picture Varnish is a spirit based varnish used on oil or acrylic paintings. It is used to protect the painting for years to come, as it dries to a gloss finish and will not yellow or bloom. Gloss and matt varnishes can be mixed to give a satin finish and can be removed with turpentine or white spirit.
Golden Hour Lighting
The light qualities of the first and last hour in the day, together with the effects of sunrise, sunset and twilight. Also called the magic hour.
Gouache painting is an extremely versatile painting medium that offers artists quicker drying times than oil paints, better opacity than water colors and more opportunity for blending than acrylics. For all intents and purposes, gouache paints are merely watercolors that have been mixed with an opaquing agent such as chalk or talc. This opaquing agent causes the paints to be less translucent than regular watercolors, which means that colors will not show through when another color is placed on top. The pigment-to-binder ratio is also much higher with gouache paints, which means less water is mixed into them.
A smooth transition from one color note to another, changing in hue, value, chroma, or all three at once.
Grisalle is a type of under painting used in oil painting made of grey tones. It is a French term which means "grey". A Grisalle under painting is entirely monochrome, near-monochrome and is usually in shades of grey. This type of under-painting is used in preparation for the glazing of layers in color. Grisalles were considered to be a quicker and less expensive way to paint back when colored paint was made by hand or sometimes the technique was chosen for aesthetic reasons. Grisalle paintings resemble the drawings that artists from the Renaissance were trained to produce because they were easy for their assistants to reproduce, while the master was able to free up and design another painting.
The region of the light side of the form approaching the terminator, where low, raking light accentuates texture.
Any of a series of intermediate tonal values that can be observed as the planes of a form transition from full light to the edge of shadow. Also called half-tint or demi-teinte.
A focused, directional light emanating from a relatively small source, which creates deep shadows, bright high-lights, and sharp transitions.
A subjective evaluation of the compatibility of two or more colors. The principle of harmony is similar to unity in that it contributes to a pleasing whole, but whereas unity describes a bringing together, harmony describes distinct parts complementing one another.
Having a lighter overall tonal range. In film lighting, having a low contrast between light and shadow.
A spectacular reflection of the light source on a wet or shiny surface.
Holograph comes from the Greek words "holo", meaning whole and "graph", meaning message. The combination means "the whole message" which is exactly what the holograph gives the viewer. A Holograph is a "reflective holograph" requiring only an ordinary uncoated light bulb on one side of the film plate to become a magical window displaying three dimensional visions of objects. These objects shift position and perspective exactly as they would if they were really there, where they only appear to be.
This is another term for color. The attribute of a color that allows it to be classified as red, yellow, blue and so on. It can be used to describe the entire range of colors of the spectrum, the component that determines just what color is being used.
Hyper-realism and Photographic Realism (or Photorealism) are alternative names, and some artists who practice the style do indeed work from photographs (sometimes using color slides projected on the canvas); sharpness of detail is evenly distributed over the whole picture (except where out-of-focus effects in the photograph are faithfully recorded), but the scale is often greatly enlarged, as when portrait heads are blown up to giant size. (Some critics prefer to use the terms ‘Photographic Realism’ or ‘Photorealism’ only when a picture has been painted direct from a photograph, but most are not so restrictive.).
Shorthand for hue/value/chroma, a way of defining a specific color note.
Refers to when an object or symbol in a work of art represents something more than its literal form.
Impasto is an Italian term that refers to the manner of painting where the paint is laid on thickly thus texture stands out in a relief.
Fine art made by any printing or stamping process.
The emission of visible light by an object heated to a high temperature. as opposed to luminescence.
The Indirect Method is an oil painting technique. This technique is the traditional oil painting technique where the artist waits for one layer of painting to dry before applying the next one.
The accentuated perception of a hue caused by the stimulation from another, usually complementary hue.
This is to describe the brightness or dullness of a color.
Refers to a printmaking process. The process of incising a design beneath the surface of hard metal or stone. Plates are inked only in the etched depressions on the plates and then the plate surface is wiped clean. The ink is then transferred onto the paper through an etching press. The printing is done with a plate bearing an image in intaglio and includes all metal-plate etching and engraving processes. The reverse of this process is known as relief printing.
Inverse Square Law
The rule which states that the intensity of light from a point source falling on a surface varies inversely as the square of the distance between the source and the surface.
Iris or Giclée
"Giclée," from the French word that means to spray, is a process of printmaking that eliminates the use of screens or mechanical devices to avoid any visible dot screen pattern. Pioneered in the late 1970's through the use of 4-color ink jet printers, technology has now advanced the process so that prints are created with multiple color inkjet printers providing an enhanced color quality. The current giclée process also provides superior color accuracy than other methods of reproduction and creates images of incredible detail and vibrancy. Giclée prints can be reproduced on a variety of surfaces, the most popular being archival paper and canvas and can be created to almost any size. Our giclées are printed on high quality archival watercolor paper.
Any type of art that is originally from what is now modern day Japan.
The dominant light, usually illuminating the object from above or in front.
The lightfastness refers to the ability of a pigment or a dye to resist fading as a result of exposure to sunlight. Also referred to as permanence.
The ratio of key light to fill light.
Printing technique using a planographic process in which prints are pulled on a special press from a flat stone or metal surface that has been chemically sensitized so that- ink sticks only to the design areas, and is repelled by the non-image areas. Lithography was invented in 1798 in Solnhofen, Germany by Alois Senefelder. The early history of lithography is dominated by great French artists such as Daumier and Delacroix, and later by Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Braque and Mir6.
Set of identical prints numbered in succession and signed by the artist. The total number of prints is fixed or "limited" by the artist who personally supervises the printing. All additional prints have been destroyed.
A restricted selection of pigments, often resulting in a painting with a reduced gamut. Also called a restricted palette.
Visually separates the subject from its background. In photography and also in 3D graphics, one approach to achieving simplification is to use a wide aperture when shooting to limit the depth of field. In painting, the artist may use less detailed and defined brushwork towards the edges of the picture. Zoom in to fill the picture with the subject or have the the subject in focus and the background out of focus. In photography this is called "depth of field". When used properly in the right setting, this technique can place everything that is not the subject of the photograph out of focus.
A Line is the mark made by a moving point, such as a pencil or brush. The edges of shapes and forms also create lines. It is the basic component of a shape drawn on paper. Lines and curves are the basic building blocks of two dimensional shapes like a house's plan. Characteristics of a line are: 1) Width - thick, thin, tapering or uneven 2) Length - long, short, continuous or broken
Linseed oil is an oil painting medium. It gives colors a high gloss. It can also be used for a glazing effect. This medium also slows the drying time of the paint.
The color of the surface of an object, as opposed to the actual paint mixture you use to represent it.
The ability of an object to emit light at low temperatures, as opposed to incandescence, see also Value.
Maroger is a painting medium, that is soft and silky like a gel. It maintains the body of the paint and produces a luminous atmosphere, while suspending and supporting paint in a soft gel. This medium was used by the old masters. It allows you to overlay thicker light impasto over previous layers without collapsing and it maintains a transparency of your oil colors. Some Marogers contain lead and can be very toxic.
A pigment as it appears in a thick layer, straight from the tube, as opposed to an undertone.
Mediums are used in oil painting to dilute the paint, making it easier to achieve certain brush strokes and effects. They vary from one manufacturer to another.
(mezzo= half + tinta= tone), a reverse engraving process used on a copper or steel plate to produce illustrations in relief with effects of light and shadow. The surface of a master plate is roughened with a tool called a rocker so that if inked, it will print solid black. The areas to be white or gray in the print are rubbed down so as nor to take ink. It was widely used in the 18th and 19th centuries to reproduce portraits and other paintings, but became obsolete with the introduction of photo-engraving.
The description of form using a controlled set of light and dark values.
An orderly and predictable series of tones representing planes of a solid form, including highlight, light, halftone, core and reflected light.
Composed of variations in value or chroma of a single hue.
One-of-a-kind print conceived by the artist and printed by or under the artist's supervision.
One-of-a-kind print made by painting on a sheet of metal or glass and transferring the still-wet painting to a sheet of paper by hand or with an etching press. If enough paint remains on the master plate, additional prints can be made, however, the reprint will have substantial variations from the original Image. Monotype printing is not a multiple-replica process since each print is unique.
An artwork comprising of portions of various existing images such as from photographs or prints, and arranged so that they join, overlap, or blend to create a new image.
Softening of edges that occurs when a form moves rapidly in front of a stationary object.
Action, or alternatively, the path the viewer's eye follows throughout an artwork. Movement is caused by using elements under the rules of the principles in art to give the feeling of action and to guide the viewer's eyes throughout the artwork. Movement can be defined as motion of objects in space over time, and is often described in one of two ways: 1) Literal movement is physical movement. Examples of literal movement include: Products such as the automobile, motion pictures and dance. 2) Compositional movement is the movement of the viewer’s eye through a given composition. Static movement jumps between isolated parts of a composition. Dynamic movement flows smoothly from one part of the composition to another.
Movement of Light
The impression that a given lighting arrangement derives from a source understood by the viewer (usually in film).
A set of identical fine prints in which the artist personally conceived the image, created the master plates and executed or supervised the entire printing process. For example the etching process produces multiple originals before the artist destroys the plates used to create them.
A set of identical fine prints reproducing the image of an original artwork created by a non-printing process. For example the serigraph of an oil on canvas produces multiple reproductions.
Neo Megilp is a painting medium, that is soft and silky like a gel. It maintains the body of the paint and produces a luminous atmosphere, while suspending and supporting paint in a soft gel. This medium is similar to Maroger medium which was used by the old masters. It is made from contemporary materials so unlike Maroger, it will not yellow or darken with age.
Slightly frosted glass or acrylic glazing to reduce the reflection of light sources, which can create visual hotspots that may obscure the view of part of the artwork.
1. A color made by mixing two complementary colors together, thereby eliminating any hue identity. 2. A color note with zero chroma, namely white, grey or black.
The process of making a solution or material pH neutral (pH of 7.0). If a material is acidic, it can be neutralized by adding an alkali or base material. If it is alkaline or base, it is neutralized by adding an acid. Pure water has a pH of 7.0, which is considered neutral.
Small, dense areas of shadow occurring at points of contact or proximity, where forms come close enough to each other to interface with the light.
A special photo-mechanical technique in which the image to be printed is transferred to the negative plates and printed onto papers. Offset lithography is very well adapted to color printing.
Offset, Mat Board Offset
The reveal of the bottom mat board when one mat window is stacked on top of another. A standard offset between the top and bottom mat is 1/4".
Rubbing the surface of a dry painting with a thin layer of medium to make it more receptive to paint. Also called oiling up.
The resistance of a pigment to the transmission of light.
A series of prints or objects in an art edition that has an unlimited number of copies. For example, an original print or a one-of-a-kind print in which the artist personally conceived the image, created the master plates and executed the entire printing process.
See Free Mixing.
Opponent Process Theory
The theory of human vision which originally stated that all perceived colors are the result of interactions between pairing of red/green, blue/yellow, and black/white receptors. This theory is now an element of zone theory, which states that inputs from long-, medium-, and short-wavelength receptors are converted into red/green, blue/yellow and brightness signals.
A class of widely varying types of chemical compounds with one common characteristic, they absorb ultraviolet light and re-emit it as visible blue and violet wavelengths. Their presence in and on a substrate tends, therefore, to "whiten" it. They are also known as "fluorescent agents" because they strongly fluoresce under "black light" (U.V. light of longer wavelengths). Due to the fluorescent effect and re-emission of blue/violet visible light, optical brighteners add a "sparkle" or brilliance to some substrates in addition to their "whitening" effect.
The blending of separate, usually adjacent, colors in the eye.
The selection of pigments used by a painter; also the surface where the paints are stored and mixed.
Pastel is pure pigment, the same pigment used in all art media. It is the most permanent of all when applied to conservation ground and properly framed. Pastel has no liquid binder that may cause the surface to darken, fade, yellow, crack or blister with time. Technically, pastel is powdered pigment, rolled into round or square sticks and held together with methylcellulose, a non-greasy binder. It can either be blended with finger and stump, or left with visible strokes and lines. Generally, the ground is toned paper, but sanded boards and canvas are also popular. If the ground is covered completely with pastel, the work is considered a Pastel Painting; a Pastel Sketch shows much of the ground. When protected by fixative and glass, pastel is the most permanent of all media, for it never cracks, darkens or yellows. 1
Pattern is the repetition of shape or form. It also reflects the underlying structure of a design by organizing the surfaces or objects in the composition. There are three different kinds of patterns: 1) Flowing patterns are based on the repetition of an undulating line and reflect a natural meandering throughout a composition. 2) Branching patterns are the repetition of forking lines, or the patterns of deviation. These kinds of patterns can be found in almost all plants and in many other places in the natural world. 3) Spiraling is a circular pattern, or a pattern that winds in and around itself.
Peak Chroma Value
The value at which a given hue reaches its highest chroma.
The resistance of paint to various forms of fading, darkening, or otherwise changing. See also Lightfastness.
A final coating for oil paintings or a varnish which combines the flexibility and hardness qualities of its components. It can also be used for other mediums.
Powdery, dry, insoluble materials that selectively absorb and reflect wavelengths of light to produce color.
Refers to a printmaking process. The process to print impressions from a smooth surface rather than from creating incised or relief areas on the plate. The term was devised to describe lithography.
Pochoir is a refined stencil-based technique employed to create prints or to add color to pre-existing prints. It was most popular from the late 19th century through the 1930's with its center of activity in Paris. Pochoir was primarily used to create prints devoted to fashion, patterns, and architectural design and is most often associated with Art Nouveau and Art Deco. The use of stencils dates back to as early as 500 C.E. and was also used in Europe from the 1500's onward to decorate playing cards, postcards and to create simple prints. It was, however, the increase in popularity of Japanese prints in the middle of the 19th century that spurred the refinement of the use of stencils culminating in the development of pochoir. At the peak of its popularity in the early 20th century, there were as many as thirty graphic design studios in France, each employing up to 600 workers.
A point is an element that has position, but no extension. It is a single mark in space with a precise, but limited, location. Alone it can provide a powerful relation between negative and positive space, but when grouped with other points the Gestalt grouping principal of closure tends to kick in and the brain compulsively connects the points together. Line or form is a natural result of multiple points in space. Direction is the information contained in the relative position of one point with respect to another point without the distance information. Directions may be either relative to some indicated reference (the violins in a full orchestra are typically seated to the left of the conductor).
Poppy Oil is an oil painting medium similar to Linseed Oil but, it has a slower drying time. This medium is used for lighter colors and white, because it is less inclined to yellow.
The practice of preparing organized paint mixtures on the palette in advance of painting. Also called a palette.
In Isaac Newton's theory, any purely monochromatic hue. In pigments, the smallest set of colors that can yield the widest possible gamut of mixtures, especially yellow, magenta, and cyan or their nearest pigment equivalents. Traditional painting primary colors are Red, Blue and Yellow. In lgihting and digital photography the primary colors are Red, Green and Blue.
Principles of Art
The principles of art are a set of rules or guidelines for art that should be considered when creating a piece of art. The principles include: Movement, Unity, Variety, Balance, Emphasis, Contrast, Proportion & Pattern
Proportion is the measurement of size and the quantity of elements within a composition. In ancient arts, proportions of forms were enlarged to show importance. This is why Egyptian gods and political figures appear so much larger than common people. Ancient Greeks found fame with their accurately-proportioned sculptures of the human form. Artists began to recognize the connection between proportion and the illusion of 3-dimensional space, during the Renaissance Era, which produced the first true perspective drawings.
Record of ownership for a work of art, ideally from the time it leave the artist's studio to its present location, thus creating an unbroken ownership history.
A perceptual effect in very dim light where the rods, which are most sensitive to bluish wavelengths, cause greenish or bluish hues to appear lighter in value.
Quinacridone is a red powder, used in pigments. This synthetic pigment is used to make high performance paints. These paints have exceptional color and weather fastness. They were first created for automobile paint but are not used in oil & acrylic paints.
The width and depth inside the frame that fits over the glazing, mat, artwork, and backing material.
The effect of small air molecules upon light passing through them, resulting in the refraction of more short (blue) wavelengths than the long (red) wavelengths, resulting in the blue color of the sky.
Realism, also known as the Realist school, was a mid-nineteenth century art movement and style in which artists discarded the formulas of Neoclassicism and the theatrical drama of Romanticism to paint familiar scenes and events as they actually looked. Typically it involved some sort of sociopolitical or moral message, in the depiction of ugly or commonplace subjects. Daumier, Millet and Courbet were realists.
Refers to a Printmaking process. All printing processes in which the non-printing areas of the block or plate are carved, engraved, or etched away. Inks are applied onto the protected surface and transferred onto the paper. The reverse process is known as intaglio printing.
Light bounced from an illuminated surface, usually into a shadow. Also called diffuse inter-reflection.
Reflection Control Glazing
Glazing that reduces the mirror effect in which reflections of objects can create distracting or obscuring ghost images superimposed over the artwork, but does not itself obscure the artwork in any way.
The bending of light rays as they pass from a medium of one density into another medium of a different density.
Small sketch in the margin of an art print or additional enhancements by the artist on some or all of the final prints within an edition.
A portrait lighting arrangement where the head is lit on the far side of the face, leaving a lighted triangle on the cheek closest to the viewer.
Pattern and rhythm, which is also known as repetition shows consistency with colors or lines. Rhythm or the repetition of elements can make a piece seem active or indicate movement.
See Limited Palette
Additional prints made from a master plate, block, lithograph stone, etc. after the original edition has been exhausted.
Retouch Varnish is used on oil paintings. It is a thin varnish which can be painted over a touch-dry painting to 'lift' areas where the oil has sunk into the canvas leaving dull spots. It can also be used as a temporary varnish, where thicker paint on a recently completed painting may take many months to dry through completely. It can be removed prior to, or left underneath the final varnish coat.
Reverse Atmospheric Perspective
Progression of color from cooler colors in the foreground to warmer colors in the background.
The Rhythm of a painting refers to the visual beat. It invites the viewer's eye to move about a painting in a regular or irregular manner. It can also visually communicate a sense of actual movement. Rhythm is created by the deliberate repetition of elements that may be the same or only slightly different. Rhythm can be also achieved when a line, shape or form is repeated in a spaced sequence. Variation in the spacing of the sequence can make the rhythm dyanmic.
See Edge Light.
There are two types of photoreceptors in the human retina, the rods and the cones. The rods are responsible for vision at low light levels (scotopic vision). They do not mediate color vision and have a low spatial acuity.
Rule of Odds
The rule of odds in visual arts states that by framing the object of interest in an artwork with an even number of surrounding objects, so that the total number of objects is equal to an odd number, it becomes more comforting to the eye, thus creates a feeling of ease and pleasure. Multiple items look better when the total number is an odd number. It is based on the assumption that humans tend to find visual images that reflect their own preferences/wishes in life more pleasing and attractive. An image of a person surrounded/framed by two other persons, for instance, where the person in the center is the object of interest in that image/artwork, is more likely to be perceived as friendly and comforting by the viewer, than an image of a single person with no significant surroundings.
Rule of Space
The rule of space applies to artwork picturing object(s): - to which the artist wants to apply the illusion of movement or - which is supposed to create a contextual bubble in the viewer's mind. The space in front of the moving object is called the 'active space' and the space behind the subject is called the 'dead space'. This can be achieved by e.g. leaving white space or 'active space' in the direction the eyes of a portrayed person are looking at. When someone views an image and and realizes a subject is moving in a direction, their eye naturally moves in that direction too.
Rule of Thirds
The rule states that an image or canvas should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would. Imagine a tic-tac-toe board over a photograph or a work of art. The most interesting places in the piece should be at the intersection of the lines in this imaginary tic-tac-toe board.
Intensity or saturation is a measurement of how different a pure color is from grey. Often used for perceived "purity" of a surface color, meaning in effect chroma, or chroma relative to the maximum possible or envisioned. Saturation is really not a matter of light and dark, but rather how pale or strong the color is. The saturation of a color is not constant, but it varies depending on the surroundings and what light the color is seen in.
The inevitable reduction in chroma produced by mixing colors of different hues.
Vision at very low levels of illumination, usually involving only the rods.
Scumbling is a painting technique that is capable of creating smooth gradations, which is opposed to glazing. This technique uses a dry brush with no medium and semi-transparent paint over a dry darker color, allowing the darker color to show through. This technique requires a skill to deftly drag the brush while applying paint. The technique results in a pearled opalescence and the painting can also enhance a smooth smoky effect.
The halfway or intermediate mixtures between any two primary colors.
a style of painting in which the subject remains recognizable although the forms are highly stylized in a manner derived from abstract art.
A printing technique that makes use of a squeegee to force ink directly on to a piece of`paper or canvas through a stencil creating an image on a screen of silk or other fine fabric with an impermeable substance. Serigraphy differs from most other printing in that its color areas are paint films rather than printing-ink stains.
The creation of multiple plein air studies of the same subject under different lighting conditions, or a set of closely related studies made one after another, like frames from a film or comic book.
A hue mixed with black or otherwise darkened in value.
A atmospheric effect where a shadow cast by clouds, contrails, or tree branches appear as a darker shaft within a region of illuminated air.
The simplest definition of a shape is a closed contour or an element defined by its perimeter. Shape is an area which is enclosed by lines or curves. It can be geometric or organic. Importantly, a shape automatically creates a negative space around it. Value helps with form, it gives objects depth and perception. Value is also referred to as tone although, basically it is shading. The three basic shapes are: 1) Circle 2) Rectangle (square) 3) Triangle
A lighting arrangement where the foreshortened farther side of the face is illuminated, leaving the closer side more in shadow.
Shutter Speed refers to how long the hole in the lens of a camera is open, when taking a picture. It is measured in fractions of a second. For example, a fast freezes motion will be set at 1/250 to 1/500 shutter speed. Slow blurs any motion and may need a tripod if under 1/60th of a second.
Images with clutter can distract from the main elements within the picture and make it difficult to identify the subject. By decreasing the extraneous content, the viewer is more likely to focus on the primary objects. Clutter can also be reduced through the use of lighting, as the brighter areas of the image tend to draw the eye, as do lines, squares and color.
The phenomenon in which a color appears to change due to the effect of an adjacent color.
A surface prepared with a sky colored gradation to be used as a base layer for future painting.
Openings or apertures within the silhouette of a tree through which the light of the sky is visible.
Light that emanates from a diffused or wide source, resulting in gradual fall-off, less noticeable highlights, and less contrast.
Space can be described as either two dimensional or three dimensional. Nothing exists without it. Space can be thought of as the distance or area around, between, above, below or within places. 1) Positive space is the space taken up by objects (i.e. the surface of an object). 2) Negative space is the distance between objects (i.e. the white-space in between objects).
Spectral Power Distribution
A graph showing the amplitude of each of the wavelengths of visible light in a given light source.
A continuum of pure hues distributed according to their wavelengths, as when white light is refracted through a prism.
The tendency of shiny objects to behave like a mirror, reflecting light rays at the same angle of incidence from a surface.
A reflection of the light source on a wet or shiny surface.
Softening of edges that occurs when a camera tracks along with a fast-moving object, blurring the entire background along the path that the camera travels.
A concentration of light on the central focus of a scene.
Stand Oil is an oil painting medium similar to Linseed Oil but, it drys faster. This medium thins out the paint and reduces the amount of brush strokes seen.
This is a kind of panting wherein the subjects are not moving, usually food, fruits,flowers,pottery etc.
Refers to the subtle and minute gradation of tone and color used to blur or veil the contours of a form in work of art, especially the lines. The Italian word sfumato (pp. of sfumare, 'to smoke') captures the idea precisely.
Refers to the manner in which an individual artist handles materials and elements in his/her art.
Any three starting colors used to mix a gamut of other colors. Subjective primaries may be any hues and they may be reduced in chroma. The subjective neutral is the center of area of a particular gamut.
The phenomenon where light enters any thick, translucent material and spreads out beneath the surface, creating a glow.
The mixture of color by means of pigments, dyes or gels.
The effect of an afterimage on the experience of a currently viewed subject.
A shaft of sunlight made visible in dust-or moisture-laden atmosphere.
Sunset Color Bands
Horizontal bands of colors that form low in the sky or in sunset; usually orange near the horizon and blue above.
Rainbows that form at angles of less than 42 degrees inside the primary rainbow.
Used to describe any type of binder such as oil, water or egg that makes a pigment workable as a paint form.
The part of a form where the light transitions into shadow.
This is usually used for ceramic sculpture. It is a brownish-orange earthenware clay.
In Lation, tessella is a small cubical piece of clay, stone or glass used to make mosaics, the word "tessella" measns "small square". These shapes form a pattern and completely cover a surface or plane withoutcreating any irregular shapes. This is the process of creating a two-dimensional plane using the repetition of a geometric shape with no overlap. Tessellations are seen throughout art history from ancient artchitecture to modern art.
A person with four sets of color receptors.
Texture is used to create surface appearance, and it relates to the physical make-up of a given form. Texture often refers to the material that something is made of and can be created using any of the elements previously discussed. Texture is both a visual and a tactile phenomenon. There are two types of texture which include: 1) Physical or tactile texture also known as actual texture. It is the actual tactile variations upon a surface. This can include but is not limited to fur, wood grain, sand, smooth surface canvas or metal, clay, glass and leather. 2) Visual texture is the illusion of having physical texture. Photography, drawing and painting use visual texture in order to portray the subject matter realistically, usually by repetition of its shape and its line. Texture like white pebbles embedded in a concrete wall gives a three dimensional look to the wall and a few shades of its colors. Texture is the roughness of the surface of a material. Surfaces with same or similar textures like fireplace marble tiles and drywall usually look more visually appealing.A smooth and polished surface on a marble tile is also a texture. Smooth quality finishes can enhance the visual appeal of natural material finishes like marble tiles on a wall.
Illumination angled at about 45 degrees to the subject, leaving a fourth of the form in shadow.
A hue mixed with white.
The degree to which a pigment maintains chroma with the addition of white.
A hue mixed with grey. Lightness (sometimes called value or tone) is a property of a color, or a dimension of a color space, that is defined in a way to reflect the subjective brightness perception of a color for humans along a lightness–darkness axis.
See Up-facing Planes.
Light that has passed diffusely through a thin, translucent material, sometimes becoming richly colored.
The tendency to permit the unscattered transmission of light, as opposed to the transluceny (permitting the scattered transmission of light) and opacity.
A color scheme with three primaries whose gamut is a triangle.
A person with normal human vision, consisting or three kinds of color receptors.
Turpentine is the best known paint thinner or cleaner for oil paints and brushes. Sometimes it is mixed with linseed oil (50/50) and used an an oil paint medium.
Ultraviolet Protection Glazing
Glazing that protects artwork from fading do to ultraviolet light exposure. This means it matters which side of the glazing is facing out. Natural sunlight and fluorescent lamps emit ultraviolet light.
Underlighting is a light technique where the primary illumination from a source is below the subject.
See Down-facing Planes.
The appearance of a pigment spread thinly, as opposed to a masstone.
Unity or harmony is the quality of wholeness or oneness which is achieved through the effective arrangement of elements. It can create a feeling of completeness in the piece.
Up-facing planes are the parts of a form that face upward, also called top planes.
The value is the lightness or darkness of a color in relation to a grey scale, sometimes called luminance. The brighter a color is the higher its value and the more light it emits. For example, a vivid yellow is brighter than a dark blue, therefore its value is higher than that of the blue.
Variety (also known as alternation) is the quality or state of having different kinds forms or different types. Differences that can give a piece visual and conceptual interest include: Contrast, Emphasis, Size & Color.
Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In other words, the viscosity is the "thickness" or "internal friction" of a fluid. Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity. This term is used to describe the thickness of oil painting mediums.
Warm colors are colors tending toward orange on the color wheel.
Well of the Sky
The well of the sky is the part of the sky that is the darkest and purest color of blue.
Wet into Wet
"Wet into Wet", The Direct Method, or Alla Prima is an oil painting technique. The term "Alla Prima" is Italian for "at first attempt" which is why it refers to this face paced technique in which the work is completed before the first layer of the painting has dried up or is still wet. This technique was opposite the traditional oil painting technique or Indirect Method where the artist has to wait for one layer of painting to dry before applying the next one, with the "alla prima" method, wet painting is applied over still wet painting. Impressionist loved to use this technique because they could paint outside and complete the painting in one sitting instead of weeks. The primary benefit of this is the speed at which the work can be finished: hours instead of weeks.
White Spirit is a less expensive version of a low odor paint thinner or turpentine. It is good for cleaning brushes but, it not so great for an under-painting.
The opening in a mat board through which the image will show. The window is usually 1/8 to 1/2 inch smaller than the image so the image can be taped to the back of the mat.
Printing technique in which the printing surface has been carved from a block of wood. The traditional wood block is seasoned hardwood such as apple, beech, or sycamore. A modern trend, however, is to use more inexpensive and easily attainable soft woods such as pine. Woodcut is one of the oldest forms of printing. It was first used by the Chinese in the 12''' century and later in Europe toward the end of the 14th century.
Wood Pulp Paper/Board
A paper manufactured with wood pulp. Wood pulps are manufactured to a variety of lignin contents and therefore have various levels of stability. Highly purified wood-pulp fiber contains very little lignin and has more recently been considered an appropriate material for us in photographic storage enclosures and framing packages. Full purified wood-pulp papers appear to be as stable as cotton-pulp papers when used for preservation purposes.
Xylography also means "not typography", it is a type of wood graving. As the oldest known relief printmaking technique known, it was first practiced in China and then in Europe later on. Using a block of wood the xylographer would cut or carve the wood away the parts of the design that would not be printed. The wood that was not carved it what made the print.
A Yurmby Wheel is a color wheel with yellow, red, magenta, blue, cyan and green (YRMBCG) evenly spaced around the circumference.
Zackenstil is a German word that means "jagged style". It is used to describe the zigzag style of art that was used in painting created in the 13th century Byzantine art.
Zenga is a style of Japanese calligraphy and painting that was done in ink.