Art Terms and Definitions — O

Octaptych     |     Overpainting

A dictionary of art terms and definitions that begin with the letter O.

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
Art Terms and Definitions -- OA 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 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.
OrangeOne of the secondary colors that is created when the two primary colors of red and yellow are mixed. The complement or opposite of the color blue. The color of carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, oranges, and many other fruits and vegetables.
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.
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 forgery. Not all paintings can be considered original since the term also refers to the newly created image, so a painted copy of another work is not an original.
Outsider Art
Refers to artworks by those outside of mainstream society. Outsider art broadly includes folk art and ethnic art and art 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 underpainting (or underlayer) after it has dried. The idea behind layers of painting is that the underpainting serves to define the main outlines and design of the piece, allowing the overpainting to fill in the details.

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Contributing to The Art Dictionary

This art dictionary is a work in progress. New terms and definitions are added on a regular basis. If you know of an art term and definition that isn’t already listed in it, but you believe it should be, send it to us and we’ll consider adding it. We’ll let you know if we do. Thanks!

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UPDATED: 08 June 2021

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