/Art Terminology

Term Definition
Abstract A 20th century style of painting in which nonrepresentational lines, colors, shapes, and forms replace accurate visual depiction of objects, landscape, and figures. The subjects 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.
Abstract Expressionism 1940's New York painting movement based on Abstract Art. This type of painting is often referred to as action painting.
Acrylic A fast-drying paint which is easy to remove with mineral spirits; a plastic substance commonly used as a binder for paints.
CairnA heap of stones piled up as a memorial or a landmark to help you find your way
Cubism An art style developed in 1908 by Picasso and Braque whereby the artist breaks down the natural forms of the subjects into geometric shapes and creates a new kind of pictorial space. In contrast to traditional painting styles where the perspective of subjects is fixed and complete, cubist work can portray the subject from multiple perspectives. Paul Cezanne, artist once said – “Everything in nature takes its form from the cylinder, the cone or the sphere.” Interestingly, this later turned into the basis of ‘cubism’. This is another expression of abstract art and geometrical shapes form a very important part of this style.
Expressionism An art movement of the early 20th century in which traditional adherence to realism and proportion was replaced by the artist's emotional connection to the subject. These paintings are often abstract, the subject matter distorted in color and form to emphasize and express the intense emotion of the artist.
Fine Art An art form created primarily as an aesthetic expression to be enjoyed for its own sake. The viewer must be prepared to search for the intent of the artist as the all-important first step toward communication and active participation
Gouache Opaque watercolors used for illustrations. Watermedia paint consisting of natural pigment, water, a binding agent (usually gum arabic or dextrin), and sometimes additional inert material.
Hard-Edge Painting A recent innovation that originated in New York and was adopted by certain contemporary painters. Forms are depicted with precise, geometric lines and edges.

Harmony The unity of all the visual elements of a composition achieved by repetition of the same characteristics.

Hatching A technique of modeling, indicating tone and suggesting light and shade in drawing or painting, using closely set parallel lines.
Impasto A thick, juicy application of paint to canvas or other support; emphasizes texture, as distinguished from a smooth flat surface.
Impressionism An art movement founded in France in the last third of the 19th century. The artist's vision was intensely centered on light and the ways it transforms the visible world. This style of painting is characterized by short brush strokes of bright colors used to recreate visual impressions of the subject and to capture the light, climate and atmosphere of the subject at a specific moment in time.
LampworkLampworking is a type of glasswork where a torch or lamp is primarily used to melt the glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking, as the modern practice no longer uses oil-fueled lamps.
Medium / Media The material used to create a work of art. Also, a term used for the binder for paint, such as oil.
Mixed Media Descriptive of art that employs more than one medium – e.g., a work that combines paint, natural materials (wood, pebbles, bones), and man-made items (glass, plastic, metals) into a single image or piece of art.
Monochromatic Having only one color. Descriptive of work in which one hue - perhaps with variations of value and intensity - predominates.
Negative Space The space in a painting around the objects depicted. Sometimes used to have the viewer fill in the space visually.
Painterly Descriptive of paintings in which forms are defined principally by color areas, not by lines or edges. Where the artist's brushstrokes are noticeable. Any image that looks as though it may have been created with the style or techniques used by a painter.
Perspective The representation of three-dimensional objects on a flat surface so as to produce the same impression of distance and relative size as that received by the human eye. In one-point linear perspective, developed during the fifteenth century, all parallel lines in a given visual field converge at a single vanishing point on the horizon. In aerial or atmospheric perspective, the relative distance of objects is indicated by gradations of tone and color and by variations in the clarity of outlines.
Pointillism A branch of French Impressionism in which the principle of optical mixture or broken color was carried to the extreme of applying color in tiny dots or small, isolated strokes. Forms are visible in a pointillist painting only from a distance, when the viewer's eye blends the colors to create visual masses and outlines. The inventor and chief exponent of pointillism was George Seurat (1859-1891); the other leading figure was Paul Signac (1863-1935).
Representational Works of art that closely resemble forms in the natural world. Synonymous with naturalistic
Sculpture A three-dimensional form modeled, carved, or assembled
Still Life A painting or other two-dimensional work in which the subject matter is an arrangement of objects - fruit, flowers, tableware, pottery, and so forth - brought together for their pleasing contrasts of shape, color, and texture.
Study A detailed drawing or painting made of one or more parts of a final composition, but not the finished sized work.
Style A characteristic, or a number of characteristics that we can identify as constant, recurring, or coherent. In art, the sum of such characteristics associated with a particular artist, group, or culture, or with an artist’s work at a specific time.
Symbol An image or sign that represents something else, because of convention, association, or resemblance.
Value The relative lightness or darkness of a hue, or of a neutral varying from white to black.
Wash Used in watercolor painting, brush drawing, and occasionally in oil painting and sculpture to describe a broad thin layer of diluted pigment, ink, glaze or patina. Also refers to a drawing made in this technique.
Watercolor A painting medium in which the binder is gum Arabic. Water is used to thinning, lightening or mixing.
Printmaking Techniques Below the various types of printmaking
Etching 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 metal is eaten away in an acid bath, creating depressed lines that are later inked for printing.
Giclée A computerized reproduction technique in which the image and topography are generated from a digital file and printed by a special ink jet printer, using archival ink, acrylic or oil paints. Giclée printing offers one of the highest degree of accuracy and richness of color available in any reproduction techniques.
Lithography 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.
Monotype One-of-a-kind print made by painting on a sheet of metal or glass and transferring the still-wet painting onto 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.
Printmaking Definitions Below a listing of printmaking definitions
Print -General Term An image created from a master wood block, stone, plate, or screen, usually on paper. Prints are referred to as multiples, because as a rule many identical or similar impressions are made from the same printing surface, the number of impressions being called an edition. When an edition is limited to a specified number of prints, it is a limited edition. A print is considered an original work of art and today is customarily signed and numbered by the artist.
Print-Limited Edition A limited number of identical prints numbered in succession and signed and supervised by the artist. Any additional prints have been destroyed.
Print-Monoprint One-of-a-kind print conceived and printed by the artist and or under the artist's supervision.
Print-Open Edition A series of prints or objects in an art edition that has an unlimited number of copies.
Provenance Record of ownership for a work of art, ideally from the time it left the artist's studio to its present location, thus creating an unbroken ownership history.
Print Proof Types Proofs are prints authorized by the artist in addition to the limited signed and numbered edition. The total size of an art edition consists of the signed and numbered prints plus all outstanding proofs. If a set of proofs consists of more than one print, numbers are inscribed to indicate the number of the prints within the total number of the particular type of proof, (e.g., AP 5/20 means the fifth print in a set of twenty identical prints authorized as artist proofs). Proofs are generally signed by the artist as validation of the prints and can also be found in Roman Numeral context (e.g., AP I/IV
Artist's Proof (AP) Print intended for the artist's personal use. It is 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 épreuve d'artist (abbreviation E.A.). Artist's proofs can be distinguished by the abbreviation AP or E.A., commonly on the lower left of the work.
Cancellation Proof Final print made once an edition series has been finished to show that the plate has been marred/mutilated by the artist, and will never be used again to make more prints of the edition.
Hors d'Commerce Proof (HC) Hors De Commerce prints, or HC's as they are called in the industry, are very similar to Artist Proofs except they are only available through the artist directly. Usually there are only 25 made per edition. The artist gives these away as gifts or sells them. They are valued as Artist Proofs, or higher since they are even rarer. The term "Hors De Commerce" means "Out of Trade" in English.
Printer's Proof (PP) Print retained by the printer as a reference. Artists often sign these prints as a gesture of appreciation.
Trial Proof (TP) Pre-cursor to a limited edition series, these initial prints are pulled so that the artist may examine, refine and perfect the prints to the desired final state. Trial proofs are generally not signed.

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