Artist's Resources∼Artist's Dictionary A
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A Symbol used on a tube of paint indicating a standard degree of color permanence.
AA Symbol used on a tube of paint indicating the highest degree of color permanence.
Abbozzo A Sketch or rudimentary drawing, a "First draft" or Underpainting.
ABC Art A 1960' American Movement related to the non-Art theories of DuChamp,
in which the Artist's means are reduced to an apparent minimum; closely related are the bare surface
paintings of Frank Stella, and the publicized wrapping of buildings and Islands, Mountains by Christo.
Abrasive A substance that wears away or smooths a surface. In
Graphic Arts, this would include "engraver's charcoal, Jewler's rouge, pumice powder,
and snake slip". In Photography, "rotensions".
Absorbent Ground A ground or base on a surface to be
painted that absorbs the liquid from the paint.
Abstract Art An Art form in which the essence of a subject is stated in
a brief or simple manner, with the emphasis on design and little or no attempt to represent forms or
subject matter realistically. See also"Design elements;
Abstract Expressionism A style of non-geometric abstract Art that started in
the 1940's and became more popular in the 50's. Paintings were usually large and forceful.
Wassily Kadinsky, Arshile Gorky, and
Jackson Pollock are among
others who were classified in this style.
Academician 1. An elected member of an Academy.
2. One who follows the princibles of the conservative academic tradition.
Academy Blue Pigment; a mixture of viridian and
Academy Board A cardboard once used by students
in Oil painting, replaced by Canvas Board.
Academy Figure A nude figure (life drawing or painting) about half
life size, used for instruction and not considered a Work of Art.
Acanthus A plant with thorny leaves seen on capitals
of Corinthian columns and elsewhere as a decorative motif.
Accent To emphasize by drawing attention to an area
in the picture. This is usually accomplished by stressing in a limited area one or more
of the design elements such as value or color contrasts, textures, etc.
Accidental Color Color that "happens" without
concious preliminary planning during the painting process.
Acetate A strong, transparent or semi-transparent
sheet of plastic; available in various thicknesses and used in covers for ArtWorks,
in color seperation, retouching and in animation drawings.
Acetate Color Opaque, waterproof paint that
does not crawl or peel when used on acetate, foil, glass, or other slippery surface.
Acetate Ink A special ink that can be used
with pen or brush on slippery surfaces without a crawling effect.
Acetic Acid In graphics, a liquid used to clean a plate just before the Mordant
Acetone A flammable, volatile solvent,
mildly toxic, often used in the restoration and cleaning of old Paintings.
Achromatic Without color, as in white,
black and any gray made from the mixture of black and white.
Acid Bath In the etching process, an
acid or acid mixtures in which a plate is immersed to be "bitten" or etched.
Acid-Free Said of paper with a 7 PH ideal∼
Above 8.5 PH or below 6.5 PH is not considered acid-free.
Acid-resist substance A stop-out substance used to block the action of acid.
Acra Pigment; a violet color with a decided reddish-pink cast when reduced; permanent.
Acrolith A statue made of more than one material.
Acrylic flow improver A medium
used with acrylic paint to improve its flow without the loss of color strength.
Acrylic Inks A variety of toxic,
flammable synthetic inks used in silk-screen process on acetate and acrylic sheets such
as Lucite and Plexiglass.
Acrylic Paints Synthetic paints
with a water base, fast-drying, lightproof, waterproof, non-fading; used on any non-oily
surface. Can be used opaquely or impastoed as with oils, or thinned and applied transparently as
with watercolors; thinned with water or special painting emulsions, cleaned up with soap
Acrylic Retarder A medium added to acrylics to
slow the drying time.
Acrylic Sheets Crystal-clear sheets of plexiglass
(trade-marks, Lucite, Plexiglas) that can be carved, sawed, cemented or molded.
Acrylic Varnish A final varnish used
on oil Paintings to protect them and give them a uniform finish. See
Action Lines In cartooning,
extraneous lines used to suggest action.
Action Painting Imageless, spontaneous
Painting, marked by drips, splashes, and splatters; represented by
Jackson Pollock, Mark
Toby, Franz Kline and others.
Additive Color mixing The scientific
method of adding colors in the form of light rays to create mixed hues of light important in color
photography; in painting, the use of small points of color placed in close proximity and mixed by
the Artists' eye, as in pointillism. Also see
Subtractive Color mixing.
Adhesive Mounting Spray A fast-drying
spray adhesive for mounting papers permanently or temporarily.
Adjustable triangle A triangle that has
one adjustable arm that can be clamped at differnt angles, with a protractor between the adjustable
arm and the main area of the triangle.
Advancing Colors Colors that appear
to move forward or "closer" to the viewer, usually red, yellow or orange.
Adventure Strip A realistically treated
cartoon strip that deals with a continuing adventure story; usually syndicated in newspapers.
Adz, Adze In sculpture and woodcarving,
a cutting tool used to rough-shape wood.
Aegean Painting Painting of Crete,
Mycenae, and the Cyclades, 2600-1200 B.C.; colorful, stylized, but with a strong feeling for
Aerial perspective In Painting,
achievement of an effect of atmosphere and apparent distance by receding values and indistinctiveness
Aerugo 1. A thin deposit if posionous
pigment, often greenish or brownsih, caused by corrosion or age, that appears on Bronze or
Copper Artworks. 2. Also the name given to a mellowing with age; and may be imitated in
Painting with glazing; also called Patina, Aes ustum, Verdigria.
Aestheticism A doctrine whereby art exists solely
for its own sake; the nineteenth-century aesthetic movement.
African Art Ceremonial sculpture, masks,
and crafts derived from African tribal cultures.
Afterimage An optical image that
continues after its source is removed; often tends toward the complemetary color of the
Agate In Printing, a small-size type, approximately
Agate line A unit of measurement for
depth of a column of printed advertising, in which fourteen agate lines equal one column inch.
Agent A business representative for an Artist.
Agglutinant An adhesive used as a binder in watercolor paints,
pastels and some inks.
"Air" A term used to indicate 1. Atmosphere
in a landscape or waterscape. 2. Space in a Painting around objects or Potraits. 3. Open,
unprinted space in printed materials.
Airbrush A miniature precision
spray gun attached to an air compressor, carbon dioxide tank, or other means of air pressure; used
by commercial Artists to create a smooth application of paint gradiations in value and color;
frequently used in photo retouching and sometimes in Illustration and other types of Painting.
Airbrush Lithography A lithography
technique in which the airbrush is used to draw directly on the stone or plate.
Air Eraser A tool similar to the
airbrush; uses an abrasive in a fine, controlled spray to erase ink or paint; sometimes
used to blend highlights and shadows in Drawings or Paintings.
Air Gun See Airbrush.
Alabaster A whitish semitranslucent
gypsum that can be carved and cut into sculpture.
A la Colle A matte-finish paint
process using powdered pigment mixed with water-base glue size for large areas such as walls and stage sets;
popular around 1900; Poster and Showboard colors, but not tempura paints, are offshoots of this
process; also called "Distemper."
A la Poupee In Intaglio, a means
of printing several colors at one time by applying each color to the plate separately with
a pad of felt.
Alexandrian Blue A pigment
very close to cobalt blue, also called Egyptian blue.
Alexandrian Style A soft and
sentimental style developed by Lellenistic Artists of the 3rd to 1st centuries B.C.
Alizarin Blue Pigment; a clear
transparent lake generally used in printing inks and for semi-permanent ArtWork; close to indigo on
the color chart.
Alizarin Brown Pigment; a
reddish transparent brown, permanent; close to burnt sienna on the color chart.
Alizarin Green Pigment; a
clear transparent lake generally used in printing inks and for semi-transparent ArtWork.
Alkyd Colors Artists' paints
similar to oils but with a faster drying time, distributed by Windsor and Newton; can be used with any
medium used with Oil paints.
Alla Prima Painting Italian, "the
first time". Method of direct painting (usually in oil) often in one sitting, with minimal or
Almohad Style An Art style
introduced into Spain by the Almohads, a Morracan Berber Moslem dynasty, in
the 12th and 13th centuries.
Alto-Rilevo Italian, "high-relief".
In Sculpture, a type of relief where the design projects almost entirely away from the surface.
Amarna Art Egyptian, during the time
of Akhenaten, a religious reformer (1375-1358 B.C.); a more natural than stylistic art, based upon
expressing the truth.
transparent, amber colored masking film used in making mechanicals and in the film
processes of photolithography.
American Gothic A hard-edge,
realsitic type of Painting associated with the American Painter, Grant Wood; title of a popular Painting by
American Indian Prints Geometric
patterns often in horizontal or vertical stripes.
A.N.A. Associate member
of the National Academy of Design.
Anaglyph Sculpture or
decoration (such as a cameo) in relief.
Analogous Colors Colors that
are closely related, such as blue, blue-green, and green; 3 or 4 colors that are adjacent
(touch one another) on the color wheel.
Anglo-Saxon Art An Art
Style of the 5th to 11th centuries in England, characterized by interlaced
motifs. Also see Arabesque.
Also called Two-Point Perspective, it is a type of perspective in which object in a picture
viewed on an angle will have two vanishing points, with verticals remaining parallel to the sides
of the picture plane.
Aniline Colors Colors
that are made from coal tars; a disparaging term for synthetic dyes and pigments that are
not sufficently lightfast for an Artists' use.
Anthemion A decorative
design of honeysuckle or palm leaves.
human characterics to nonhuman beings or things.
Anti-cerne A white space
in the form of a line between two areas of color in a picture; frequently used by the Fuave Artists;
the opposite of a black line.
Antimony Colors Pigments; bright
ornage and vermillion, now generally replaced by cadmiums.
Antiquing Using a glaze
of burnt or raw umber over a Work of Art to create an appearance of age.
Apex The highest point or Summit.
Applique In design, one material cut out and applied to another.
Aqua fortis Latin, nitric acid
In etching, the mordant or solution used to etch the plates, diluted for use with one to
five parts water.
Aquagraph A monoprint made
by painting with a water medium on a metal, glass, or plastic plate and pulling one print from
that plate; additional colors can be printed by aligning the paper to the plate design.
Aquarelle brush A particular style of watercolor brush, used for flat or
large areas and on the edge for fine lines.
Aquatint An intaglio
printing process which tones can be etched, rather than just lines, and rich darks as
well as transparent tints can be produced; often resembles a wash drawing.
Aquatint mezzotint In etching,
a plate is first bitten in a solid aquatint, then a design is worked on top of the aquatint with a
scraper and burnisher, producing a result similar to mezzotint.
A.R.A. British Associate
of the Royal Academy of Art.
Arabesque An interlaced ornamental design, floral and/or geometric.
Arc-en-Ciel A brand name of pastels made without fillers.
Archaic 1. Retaining the character of earlier Art.
Arches or D'Arches Tradename of a
popular 100% rag watercolor paper made in France; available in various weights and textures;
hot and cold press.
Architectural sketch paper see
Armory Show, The In 1913,
innovative and avant-garde Artists from America and Europe held a show at the 69th Regiment Armory
in New York City; the public derided the Works. Nonetheless; the impact on American Art was
lasting. "The Armory Show" has beome an historical benchmark in America, seperating earlier modes of
Art from "Modern Art".
Arrangement A setup or
composition of items/objects used for a still life in painting and drawing.
Art Brut (French, art in the raw)
Jean Dubuffet (early 1900's) patterned his Art after the primitive works of children and the insane.
He found it to have directness and vitality.
Art Buyer The person who is
a link between an Agency and Freelance Artist; buys ArtWorks for the Agency.
Art Deco A geometric, sleek,
elegant style of decorative Art popular in the 1920's and the 1930's.
Art Director One who directs or
supervises the Work of other Artists.
Art engage (French,"art involved in life")
Art with a social or political significance.
Artgum An eraser that crumbles
as it erases, not scratching or discoloring the ArtWork.
Artists' Bridge A tool used to balance the
hand and keep it clear of the working surface while drawing or painting delicate passages.
Artists' Proof One of
the first proofs of a limited Edition of prints, for the Artists' own copyright use; marked as Artists' Proofs (A.P.)
and not numbered; may draw a premium price. May also be marked "E.A." (epreuve d' artiste) instead
Art Nouveau (French, "the new art")
Art movement popular in the 1890's and early 1900's in Europe and America, a busy, decorative style
characterized by flowing vines and flat shapes (as seen in Tiffany glass) and undulating line (seen
in Toulouse-Lautrec posters) Aubrey Beardsley and Gustav Klimt are among the other noted Artists with
the movement, but its beginnings are attributed to William Morris. It is also known as "Jugendstil"
and "Yellowbook" style.
ASAP (As Soon As Possible)
Often found in a listing of specifications for the return of ArtWork.
Ascender The part of a lower
case letter that projects above the main line, as in "d, f, h,
k, l, t.
Ashcan School An early
20th century American Art movement started in opposition to established academic forms; the name
was coined by a Reporter when describing the groups' realistic city-type subject matter. The Founders
were known as "The Eight" and included Robert Henri, Maurice Prendergast, Arthur B. Davies, Ernest
Lawson, John Sloan, Everett Shinn, George Luks and William Glackens.
Asphaltum 1. In
etching, a liquid used on plates as a soft ground and on the backs of plates to protect them from
the mordant. 2. In lithography, used to chemically process the drawing.
3. An old Oil color, destructive to Paintings.
Assemblage A technique of combining together
pieces of "this and that" to create a 3-D ArtWork.
Asturian Art A 9th Century
Gothic style with Moorish derivation used in Spanish churches in the Asturias region.
Asymmetry An informal balance
arrived at by the informal ditribution of elements; balance similar to that of a
steelyard scale, or that of a Mobile.
Atectonic In Sculpture,
describes shapes or forms that tend to reach out into open space.
Atelier French for Artists'
Studio, Workshop. Pronounced "at-aah-lay".
Atlantes In Sculpture,
supporting columns carved in the form of heroic men. See also
Atmospheric Perspective See
a Work of Art to an Artist, or denying attribution, by studying brush strokes, paint
quality, clay application, or other identifiable mannerisms to make a determination.
Au premier coup painting (French,
at first blow). See Alla prima painting.
Aureole The halo, or
nimbus, painted around the head of a holy person as seen in Medieval and Rennaissance Art.
Autographic Ink A greasy ink used in lithography.
Automatic Drawing See
Automatism A surrealist
technique of closing the eyes and letting the hand draw without concious direction;
sometimes called "automatic drawing".
Autone prints Trademark,
in commercial Art, for color or metallic-based photoprints.
Avant Garde (French, "vanguard")
A term applied to Art that is considered ahead of its' time, innovative and experimental.
Avignon School Late 15th and early 16th Century School of painting
centered around Avignon, France; influenced by Italian and Flemish styles.
A.W.S. Abbreviation for
"American Watercolor Society".
Axis 1. A real or imaginary area in
a picture that serves as a fulcrum in visually balancing the elements of the composition.
2. An imaginary line to which a Work of Art sre referred to for measurement.
In mechanical drawing, includes isometric, dimetric, and trimetric projection; used to represent
3-D objects, not for an illusion of reality, but to show dimensions and other geometric
information. See also