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For those new to art or who might want to brush up on the various terms used in art and at art websites and in art literature I've gathered this wonderful list to help you out.   I hope it's useful to you.



Black, white and greys.  Artwork that is executed without color.


Thicker and stronger than tempera or watercolor paint, Acrylic is a water-based "plastic" paint.

    Artists Proof

A small group of outstanding prints for the artists use which have been set aside from the edition prints.


An art and design principle concerned with the arrangement of one or more elements in a work of art so that they appear symmetrical (even) or asymmetrical (uneven) in design and proportion.




Fabrics that are prepared for painting.  It's available in panels, stretched on frames, or obtained by the yard.


An impression made by an artist, or by the printer seal.


A process where a photographic print can be made directly from a color transparency.


Collage is from the French meaning "paste up".  The combination of pieces of cloth, magazines and other found objects to create artwork.

    Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are those which appear opposite to one another on a color wheel.  The complimentary colors are red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple.


The arrangement of lines, colors & form.

    Contour Drawing

Contour drawing shows the outline of the subject, and not the volume or mass of an object.  Blind contour drawings are those created by looking only at the subject, and not the paper while drawing.


Contrast is created by using opposites near or beside one another, such as a light object next to a dark object or a rough texture next to a smooth texture.




In this case it's not the disease that dogs can get.  This painting technique involves the use of powdered colors that are mixed with glue size, or such things as egg yolk.


Dominance is an object or color that stands out in relation to the rest of the painting.

    Dry Brushing

Technique used in paintings using more pigment then water.

    Dye Transfer

This is one of the most permanent color processes.  This method gives maximum control of color, balance and contrast for color prints or transparencies.



A group of identical prints that can be numbered and signed by the artist.  For example, Open Edition:  An unlimited number of prints & Limited Edition:  Prints that have a known number of impressions, and are usually signed and numbered by the artist.

    Egg Tempra

A water-base paint made with an egg yoke binder.

    Elements of Art

Elements of art are the basic visual symbols found in the work such as lines, shape, form, space, point, light, motion, direction, scale, dimension, texture and color.


Pigment is applied directly to damp plaster making this wall painting medium one of the most permanent form of wall decoration.



    Gesture Drawing

This quick drawing captures the energy and movement of the subject.  It does not necessarily have to be realistic.


Color that is thinned to a transparent state and applied over previously painted areas to modify the original color.


(Tempera) Opaque watercolors and the technique of painting with such colors using white to make tints.




A manner of painting where the paint is laid on thickly so texture stands out in relief.


Impressionism is referred to as the most important art movement of the 19th century.  The term impressionism came from a painting by Claude Monet.  His painting was titled titled Impression Sunrise.  Impressionism is about capturing fast fleeting moments with color, light, and surface.

    Intermediate colors

Obtained by mixing adjoining Primary and Secondary colors.


This is a printing process.  A small stone, or metal plate is used.  The printer, usually with the artists supervision covers the plate with a sheet of paper which are then run through the printer.




The art material that is used in a work of art such as clay, paint or pencil.  Describing more then one art medium is referred to as media.  Any substance added to color to facilitate application or to achieve a desired effect.


A print that has the same underlying common image, but different design, color or texture.


A one of a kind print made by painting on smooth metal, creating a texture that is not possible to paint directly on paper.




 Shapes that are not regular or even, using a combination of edges that are curved or angular.


 Applying metal oxides to the clay, mixing with water, you can create an effect of stained wood.




Colors go from soft to brilliant in a stick form.  When the paper is covered completely, it is known as a pastel painting. When the paper is exposed through the pastel, it is known as a pastel sketch.

    Primary colors

Red, yellow, blue.


When the regular repetition of particular forms or elements occurs in a work of art, that work is said to have rhythm. It suggests motion.



    Secondary Colors

Orange, Violet, Green.  Each color is midway between the Primaries from which it can be mixed.


Using a mixture of black mixed with a color to make it darker.  The opposite of shade is tint.

    Silver Prints

This generic term covers all prints made on paper that is coated with silver salts.  Black and white photographs are usually silver prints.




Tempera is a word used to describe any type of binder such as oil, water or egg that makes a pigment workable as a paint form.

    Tertiary colors

Colors that represent a mixture of secondary colors.


Tint is the opposite of shade. Tinting is combining white with a color to make it lighter.


Preliminary painting used as a base for textures or for subsequent painting or glazing.




Shadows, darkness, contrasts and light are all values in artwork.


A photograph printed within a few years of the negative being made.

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