Art Terms — O

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A glossary of art vocabulary and definitions beginning with O.

Octaptych
A work of art consisting of eight panels or sections where each panel depicts a different but related composition. The panels can be hinged together or presented side-by-side to make one large image.
Oil Paint
tubes of oil paintA type of paint made from color particles (pigment) and linseed oil. Oil paint dries slowly, can be used thick or thin, and with glazes. Because it dries slowly, oil paint is easier to blend from dark to light creating the illusion of three-dimensions. Used by most artists since the Renaissance. Click for more information about the various grades of oil paints.
Oil Painting
An artistic composition or representation done in oil paints on a canvas surface. The art or practice of painting with oil paints.
Old Master
A term that traditionally refers to a prominent and highly skilled European artist; especially a famous painter during the period roughly 1300-1830. Also refers to a painting by such an artist.
Orange
OrangeOne of the secondary colors that is created when the two primary colors of red and yellow are mixed together. The complement or opposite of the color blue. The color of carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, oranges, and many other fruits and vegetables.
Origami
The Japanese art of folding paper into shapes that look like birds, animals, etc. The object is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques.
Original
The term ‘original’ can imply exclusivity or the idea that the work is ‘one of a kind’ rather than a copy by any method including offset-lithography, digital printing or by forgery. Not all paintings can be considered original since the term also refers to the image being newly created, so a painted copy of another work is not an original.
Outsider Art
Refers to works by those outside of mainstream society. Outsider art broadly includes folk art and ethnic art as well as by prisoners, the mentally ill and others neither trained in art nor making their works to sell them.
Overpainting
The final layer of paint that is applied over the under painting or under layer after it has dried. The idea behind layers of painting is that the under painting is used to define the basic shapes and design so that the overpainting can be used to fill in the details of the piece.

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UPDATED: 29 March 2021


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