The reproduction of a continuous tone original, such as a photograph, in which detail and tone value are represented by a series of evenly spaced dots of varying size and shape.
Refers to a twentieth century movement in painting in which the edges of shapes are crisp and precise rather than soft or blurred. This technique consists of rough, straight edges that are geometrically uniform and encompasses rich solid colors, neatness of surface, and the arrangement of forms all over the canvas.
Colors that go well together and/or sit next to each other on the color wheel. For example: red and orange, orange and yellow, yellow and green, green and blue, blue and purple, purple and red. Complementary colors, analogous colors, and other such related colors are also considered to be harmonious. For more information on color harmony see: Color, Part 1 and Color, Part 2.
The unity of all the visual elements of a composition achieved by the repetition of the same characteristics or those which are similar in nature. Harmony serves to bind the various parts into a whole.
A technique used in art to create tonal or shading effects by drawing or painting closely spaced parallel lines. When lines are crossed or placed at an angle to one another, the method is called cross-hatching. Artists use this modeling technique, indicating tone and suggesting light and shade, by varying the length, angle, closeness and other qualities of the lines, most commonly used in drawing, linear painting, engraving, and ethnic art.
An area of of intense brightness which reflects the most light. A technique used in art to direct attention or to emphasize, through use of pigment or color.
In a painting, a level line where land or water ends and the sky begins. Vanishing points, where two parallel lines appear to converge, are typically located on this line. A horizon line is used to attain the perspective of depth Click for information about horizontal lines.
The components that are balanced left and right of a central axis.
The name of the color, such as red, green or yellow. Hue can be measured as a location on a color wheel, and expressed in degrees; the main attribute of a color which distinguishes it from other colors.
An acronym for “Joint Photographic Experts Group” is a commonly used standard method of compressing photographic images on the Web. JPEG graphics are capable of reproducing a full range of color while still remaining small enough for Web use.
A color print executed from woodblocks in water-based inks and developed to a high degree of artistry by the Japanese especially in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The influence of Japanese art, fashion and aesthetics on Western culture, especially Impressionism.
Jewish ceremonial art or artifacts used by Jews for religious rituals or practices.
Three dimensional works of art composed from old or discarded items, such as junk or trash, of little or no value. This form of artwork is deliberately not visually pleasing; unattractive (a.k.a. anti-aesthetic).
In typography, text spaced out between words to create columns with both edges flush or evenly aligned. With narrow columns, justification can create awkward gaps. However, with wide columns, justification can add elegant symmetry.
Fine art works produced by artists during their youth.
The act of placing or positioning items in the image area side by side or next to one another to illustrate some comparison.
Used in typography to reduce or adjust the amount of space between letters or characters to give them the appearance of more even spacing so those characters appear better fitted together. Also referred to as kerning. Letters most often benefiting from kerning include the letters i, l, and t.
(Pronounced “kill”) refers to an oven or furnace burning, baking, or drying, especially one for firing pottery or ceramic.
A form of art that has mechanical parts which can be set in motion. The moving parts are generally powered by wind, a motor, or hand pressure. Kinetic art was established as a major artistic movement in the 1950s.
A term of German origin used to categorize art or design considered to be in poor taste, lacking the sense of creativity and originality displayed in genuine art, because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.
A tool used by artists to remove graphite and charcoal particles from a paper drawing. It is made from a pliable material that resembles putty or gum that can be manipulated (kneaded) by hand into any shape for precision erasing, creating highlights, or performing detailing work.
An old craft form of textile-making using knotting rather than weaving or knitting. Its primary knots are the square knot and forms of hitching (full hitch and double half hitches). It has been used by sailors, especially in elaborate or ornamental knotting forms to decorate anything from knife handles to bottles to parts of ships (see illustration).
One of the four process colors, or CMYK, the M is for magenta. A color also known as fuchsia and hot pink; a moderate to vivid purplish red or pink.
An artistic movement that developed in the sixteenth century as a reaction to the classical rationality and balanced harmony of the High Renaissance; characterized by the dramatic use of space and light, exaggerated color, elongation of figures, and distortions of perspective, scale, and proportion. El Greco was a major practitioner of this style.
The art or process of producing certain patterns of a veined or mottled appearance in imitation of marble by means of colors so prepared as to float on a mucilaginous liquid which possesses antagonistic properties to the colors prepared for the purpose.
Any art that gets its inspiration from the sea. It is a genre of art that often depicts ships and life out on the open sea. Also referred to as marine art. Click for more information about maritime art or marine art.
A work done with extraordinary skill, especially a work of art, craft or intellect that is an exceptionally great achievement.
Material or technique an artist works in; also, the component of paint in which the pigment is dispersed.
An inexpensive paint thinner which cleans brushes, thins paint, cleans furniture, and removes wax often used as a substitute for turpentine.
A representational work of art made on a greatly reduced scale.
Omitting all non-essential or un-important elements and details which don’t really contribute to the essence of the overall composition in order to emphasize what is important.
A movement and style of art from the 20th century which attempts to reduce art to the basic geometric shapes with the fewest colors, lines, and textures. Minimal art does not seek to be representational of any object. Also known as ABC art.
The art technique where an artist employs different types of physical materials such as ink and pastel or painting and collage etc. and combines them in a single work.
A person who poses for an artist.
A color scheme limited to variations of one hue, a hue with its tints and/or shades.
Painting done in a range of tones of a single color.
An artwork comprising of seemingly unrelated shots or scenes which, when combined of various existing images such as from photographs or prints and arranged so that they join, overlap or blend to create a new image which achieve meaning (as in, shot A and shot B together give rise to an third idea, which is then supported by shot C, and so on) (see illustration).
An art medium in which small pieces of colored glass, stone, or ceramic tile called tessera are embedded in a background material such as plaster or mortar. Also, works made using this technique.
As it applies to art, the path that our eyes follow when we look at a work of art. One of the Good Design Principles. See more info.
A large wall painting, often executed in fresco (see illustration).
Refers to a clear or colored finish material that dries to a hard, glossy finish. Usually applied with a sprayer, lacquer dries too quickly for smooth application with a brush, unless it is specially formulated.
A painting, drawing or photograph which depicts outdoor scenery. They typically include trees, streams, buildings, crops, mountains, wildlife, rivers and forests. Click for more information on landscapes.
In typography, (rhymes with heading) the space between lines of type, often measured from the baseline of one line to the baseline of the next, and less frequently measured from ascender to ascender. Dates back to hot metal days when strips of lead were inserted between lines of type to provide line spacing.
Drawings of a human figure. Usually of nude figures so that the artist can understand how the muscles look and how light, tone and shadow reflect around the body.
Refers to a table made especially for working with negatives, viewing transparencies and slides, and pasting up artwork, that has a translucent top with a light shining up through it.
Refers to the similarity in appearance or character or nature between persons or things.
A limit placed on the number of prints produced in a particular edition, in order to create a scarcity of the print. Limited editions are signed and numbered by the artist. Once the prints in the edition have been sold out, the digital file is then destroyed by the Giclée Printmaker in order to maintain the integrity of the limited edition. The image will not be published again in the same form.
An actual or implied mark, path, mass, or edge, where length is dominant. Click for more information about line.
A system for creating the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface. The system is based on a scientifically or mathematically derived series of actual or implied lines that intersect at a vanishing point on the horizon. Linear perspective determines the relative size of objects from the foreground of an image to the background.
The most popular drying oil used as paint medium. The medium hardens over several weeks as components of the oil polymerize to form an insoluble matrix. Driers can be added to accelerate this process.
Uses the principle that oil and water don’t mix as the basis of the printing process; a method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non image areas repel ink. Non image areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink.
An objects true color; the actual color as distinguished from the apparent color of objects and surfaces; true color, without shadows or reflections.
In typography, small letters of a typeface, as opposed to the capital letters, or uppercase letters. Derived from the location of the type cases in which typographers used to store metal or wood letterforms.
Art created by untrained artists. It is characterized by simplicity and a lack of the elements or qualities found in the art of formally trained artists. Click for more information about naïve art.
A type of visual art that tells a story or represents elements of a story. An example of this genre would be Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” or illustrations often found in children’s books.
The unoccupied or empty space left after the positive shapes have been laid down by the artist; however, because these areas have boundaries, they also function as shapes in the total design.
Colors of very low saturation, approaching grays. Neutral colors include blacks, whites, grays and browns.
New media art
A genre of art that encompasses artworks created with new media technologies, including digital art, computer graphics, computer animation, virtual art, Internet art, interactive art, video games, computer robotics, 3D printing, and art as biotechnology.
A work of art (most often a painting or sculpture) depicting an individual without clothing or with very little clothing.
A term used in printmaking to indicate the number of editions struck from one plate. The number is generally placed over the size of the edition. For example 24/100 shows the unique number of that impression and the total edition size. Modern artists produce only limited editions of their works, normally signed by the artist in pencil, and numbered.
A 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Painting technique characterized by openness of form, in which shapes are defined by loose brushwork in light and dark color areas rather than by outline or contour. Click for more information about the painterly art style.
The act or process of using a brush to apply pigment, color or other medium to a surface such as canvas, to make a picture or other artistic composition; also refers to a painted representation or composition.
A thin piece of glass, wood or other material, or pad of paper, which is used to hold the paint to be used in painting; also, the range of colors used by a particular painter. Click to learn more about the artist palette.
A tool originally used by artists for scraping up and mixing the paint from the palette, this implement has been adopted for the application of heavily impacted paint which is spread thickly like butter (see illustration). Click link for more information about palette knives.
Pantone Matching System (PMS)
An internationally recognized system of over 3000 pre-mixed colors representing shades on both coated or uncoated stock, along with the precise printing formulas to achieve each color. Each PANTONE color has a specified CMYK equivalent which is numbered and is listed in the swatch guide for quick reference when choosing colors for printing purposes. This system is highly accurate and produces consistent results.
The craft of making decorative designs out of thin strips of paper. Also called quilling paper. See “Quilling“.
A technique for creating forms by mixing wet paper pulp with glue or paste. The form hardens as it dries, and becomes suitable for painting. Although paper mâché is a French word which literally means “chewed paper”, it was originated by the Chinese – the inventors of paper.
The predecessor of modern paper made from the pith of the papyrus plant used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
An early paper material highly valued during the middle ages. Originally made from goat or sheep skin, parchment today is made from organic fibers and affords artists such as calligraphers a crisp, smooth, high quality surface on which to write.
A crayon made from pigment mixed with gum and water and pressed into a stick-shaped form; a work of art created from pastels; a pale color.
Refers to any pigment which is expected to last or remain without essential change and is not likely to deteriorate under certain atmospheric conditions, in normal light or in proximity to other colors.
The art of picturing objects on a flat surface so as to give the appearance of distance or depth. Click for information on perspective drawing.
A style of painting in which an image is created in such exact detail that it looks like a photograph; uses everyday subject matter, and often is larger than life. Click for more information about photorealism art.
A professional image-editing and graphics creation software from Adobe. It provides a large library of effects, filters and layers.
Any coloring agent, made from natural or synthetic substances, used in paints or drawing materials; the substance in paint or anything that absorbs light, producing (reflecting) the same color as the pigment.
A shape which is essentially two-dimensional in nature but who’s relationship with other shapes may give an illusion of the third dimension.
French for “open air”, referring to landscapes painted out of doors with the intention of catching the impression of the open air. Plein air is when an artist goes out on location to paint.
Point of view
The position from which something is seen or considered; for instance, head-on, from overhead, from ground level, etc.
A painting technique in which pure dots of color are dabbed onto the canvas surface. The viewer’s eye, when at a distance, is then expected to see these dots merge as cohesive areas of different colors and color ranges.
A style of art which seeks its inspiration from commercial art and items of mass culture (such as comic strips, popular foods and brand name packaging). Certain works of art created by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein are examples of pop art. Click for more information about pop art.
A painting, photograph, or other artistic representation of a person.
Space that is occupied by an element or a form.
A craftsman who shapes pottery on a potter’s wheel and bakes them it a kiln.
A horizontal disk revolving on a spindle and carrying the clay being shaped by the potter.
A form of ceramic technology, where wet clays are shaped and dried, then fired to harden them and make them waterproof.
Red, yellow, and blue. With these three colors (and black and white) all other colors can be made. The primary colors themselves can not be made by mixing other colors (see illustration).
Art that has imagery of folk art, it places emphasis on form and expression and often looks child like.
Principles of design
The basic aesthetic considerations that guide organization of a work of art. They include balance, movement, emphasis, contrast, proportion, space and unity. See the discussion on Good Design Principles in this website for more information.
The process by which a work of art can be recreated in great quantity from a single image usually prepared from a plate.
The Qajar artistic style refers to the art, architecture, and art-forms of the late Persian Empire, most notably the Qajar dynasty, which lasted from 1781 to 1925. It is characterized by an exuberant style and flamboyant use of color.
A term that emerged during the Baroque period to describe a type of painting on a ceiling or a wall to create the illusion of limitless space; i.e. architectural features that seem to extend beyond the actual space of the room.
In geometry, a four-sided polygon; examples include squares, rectangles, parallelograms, trapezoids, etc.
A pen is made from a flight feather (preferably a primary) of a large bird, most often a goose. Quills were used as instruments for writing with ink before the metal dip pen, the fountain pen, and eventually the ball point pen came into use.
A form of art that involves the use paper strips that are rolled, curled, looped, shaped, twisted, and glued together to create decorative designs (a.k.a. paper filigree).
The process of making a quilt from beginning to end. Or the actual act of sewing the layers of a quilt together, either by hand or by machine. Also refers to the finished lines of sewn thread that make up the quilting design.
In art, the “L” cut all around the perimeter of the frame, against which glass, mat, or picture panels are installed (see illustration).
The balance as the result of components that are distributed around a center point or spring out from a central line.
A style of painting which depicts subject matter (form, color, space) as it appears in actuality or ordinary visual experience without distortion or stylization. Click for more information about realism art.
Artistic imagery or representation depicting religious motifs as a subject matter intending to uplift the mind to the spiritual. Click for information about religious or sacred art.
One of the principles of good design. It is a series of repeated elements having similarity. For more information see blog article titled “Good Design Principle: Movement“.
A copy of an original print or fine art piece. A reproduction could be in the form of a print, like an offset-lithographic print, or even reproduced in the same medium as the original, as in an oil painting.
Stands for Red, Green, Blue. In web design and design for computer monitors, colors are defined in terms of a combination of these three basic additive colors.
A continuance, a flow, or a feeling of movement achieved by the repetition or regulated visual units.
Refers to a theory in which the right side of the brain is the creative side, responsible for art and spatial comprehension, while the left side is responsible for reading, verbal, and mathematical sorts of tasks.
Rule of odds
A principle of composition that states an odd number of elements in an image is more interesting to look at than an even number. Therefore, if there is more than one element in a painting, the composition should comprise a minimum of three elements. Click for more information about the composition technique rule of odds.
Rule of thirds
A composition rule that divides the scene into three rows and three columns. The rule states that the painting is much more interesting if the focal point is not in the center of the canvas but rather in one of the outlying regions, preferably at one of the intersection points (see illustration). Click for more information about the rule of thirds composition technique.