MOF | Glossary of Art Terms
This perpetually growing glossary is for those who dare try to communicate by or understand artspeak, which just about adds up to a whole other language.
2D Art | Two-dimensional visual art that is largely produced in a flattened medium (e.g. drawings, paintings, photography). Despite its nomenclature 3D or three-dimensional digital illustration and graphics (often confused with 3D art) are associated with 2D art when produced, typically through printing, in flattened physical medium.
3D Art | Three-dimensional visual art that is rendered with three-dimensional physical structure (e.g. pottery, sculpture, models, machines, toys, woodwork, etc.).
Advertising Photography | Photographic images of sale goods, portraits and anything used in brochures, direct mail fliers, clothes, cups, newspaper ads, magazine ads, at conventions and trade shows, on Internet banners and web sites, bus and taxi ads, billboards, other promotional modes, music CD’s, CD covers and lyrics sheets, etc.
Aesthetic | An individual perception of beauty and “taste” which may be shared by a social group that happens to also share the same or similar social mores and cultural preferences (i.e. in the late 1930’s, Nazi Germany instituted a social and intellectual attack on and ban of modern art; perceived to be “degenerate art”, as modern art was created by and inspired free individual thinking and experimentation).
Aleatoricism | In art, it is the inclusion of happenstance into the creative process of artwork. To propose an example by this ultra-simplified meaning; when street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson captured his famous image of Place de l’Europe Gare Saint Lazare (1932) — often referred to by names along the lines on “Man Jumping Over Puddle”, Henri had absolutely no idea that he was making that composition at the decisive moment that he pressed his shutter release. He simply placed the lens of his camera up against a hole in the fence behind the train station, and pressed the release while leaving it completely up to chance that something wonderful might have happened. It could, therefore, be said that his creation of the image was aleatoric.
Alternative Exhibition Space | Any location used for the public exhibition of artwork other than a traditional commercial venue such as an art gallery (see Art Gallery), salon (see Salon) or museum (see Museum). Alternative exhibition spaces can be edifices, landmarks or landscapes that have been transformed from other uses such as warehouses, factory lofts, cinema lobbies, store fronts, parks and other terrains.
Applied Art | Visual art that includes industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art.
Archival Print | A gallery or museum quality fine art reproduction of 2D art. Such prints use fine quality papers and inks designed to resist color fading for decades; potentially up to 100 years. Drawings, paintings and photography are reproduced using a fine art printer with exceptionally high resolution on environmentally sustainable papers that contain tree fibre, 25-100% cotton base or a polyester-base “canvas”. They are often termed as being of “archival quality (see Giclée Print and Museum Print).”
Art | (a.k.a.: “artwork”) The act or outcome of creating a visual product or performance in order to express a concept or technical skill, with aesthetic or emotive impact.
Art Collector | Any person or faction who buys art for aesthetic appreciation and/or investment reasons; regardless of actual or perceived social or economic stature.
Art Community | A social group of people, potential businesses and other associations of any size sharing an avid intellectual and potentially business interest in the creation and promotion of art.
Art Elements | The seven fundamental units of design used in the overall composition of visual artwork that include colour, value, line, shape, form, texture and space.
Art Form | Either the physical representation of a creatively expressed idea through a medium (e.g. a bronze sculpture or choreographed modern jazz dance) or a non-physical representation (e.g. a song or electronic game).
Art Gallery | (a.k.a.: “art museum” and “contemporary art gallery”) A building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum’s own collection. It might be in public or private ownership (see Regulated Space), as opposed to a space of no definitive ownership (see Alternative Exhibition Space), and may be accessible to all or have restrictions in place. Although primarily concerned with visual art (see Visual Art), art galleries are often used as a venue for other cultural exchanges and artistic activities, such as performance arts (see Performance Art), music concerts or poetry readings. Art museums also frequently host themed temporary exhibitions which often include items on loan from other collections.
Art Genre | A set of similar or clearly differing artistic styles that are loosely relied on to plan and arrange the aesthetic elements in imagery.
Artist | Any novice or master, amateur or professional person (as opposed to the term “creative”) who engages in one or more activities involved with creating, practicing or demonstrating an art.
Artistic Expression | The conscious use of the imagination in the production of artwork.
Artist’s Morgue | (a.k.a.: “art morgue”) A variant of the original police investigators morgue file that is kept by, usually, a visual artist for storing photographs, magazine clippings, writings and graphics in case they become useful later as quick reference material for inspiration. Artist’s morgues have historically been made out of scrapbooks, sketch and drawing pads, filing cabinet folders and virtually any other lightweight physical material that could be used to contain the reference items. They are extremely useful to both commercial and fine artists. Online social media repositories like Pinterest, that are designed to enable the discovery and saving of information on the World Wide Web, are basically contemporary digital versions of the artist’s morgue.
Artist’s Portfolio | A collection of an artist’s best work that is used to show employers art galleries, although the latter less commonly, an artist’s creative versatility or depth in a specific area of work (e.g. fields of illustration, fine art painting, fine art photography, etc.). Portfolios are sometimes mistakenly referred to as artists’ bodies of work (see Body of Work) which are even more edited collections featuring pieces of artwork that are unified in aesthetics and or subject matter. Although rarely, portfolios are also confused with oeuvres (see Oeuvre) which are collections of artists’ lifetimes of work. Artist’s portfolios were originally examples of original or reproduced artwork contained in a booklet or a specially designed briefcase. As artwork is often digitized or originally digital in the modern computer era for displaying online or other means of communication and advertising, they are often added to what are called electronic portfolios or online portfolios. Within the arts industry, there are varied portfolios with specific names for various types of artists and designers, and there are other types of portfolios that are commonly used outside of the arts industry.
Art Media | The material (e.g. graphite, inks, paints, ink solvents, paint solvents, gesso, varnishes, etc.) used by an artist, composer or designer to create artwork.
Art Movement | A fine art style or propensity to create work with a specific passionate philosophy or aim that is shared by a group of artists who have collectively published a written manifesto (published to a relatively wide audience through a reputable art journal or news carrier), and acquired considerable public recognition within a limited time period, (potentially spanning from as short as a few months [e.g. Vorticism] to as long as a few decades [e.g. Expressionism]) or during a period of years in which the movement is historically and socially viewed as most inspiring or influential (the official names of art movements are always spelled with a capitalized first letter in literature).
Art Patronage | A tradition of art procurement in the Renaissance Era; a client or customer of an artist may become a patron by making financial donations towards artwork under development through an art patronage contract. Art patrons may continue to donate until they can afford the artwork they have chosen. During the period of donation, patrons can make appointments to visit the studio of an artist and be able to claim a non-commissioned work-in-progress as a future purchase. Patrons also have the option to increase their donations in order to pay for artwork in full at any time. Contemporary art patronage includes online membership platforms like Patreon. Membership in online art patronage services involve financial investment by both artists and potential patrons. If an artist is unable to quickly acquire and sustain patrons, then membership may not be economically suitable for the artist.
Art Principles | The use or arrangement of art elements through perspective, proportion (scale), pattern, rhythm (movement), balance, unity or emphasis.
Art Program | An arrangement and process of instructing, managing or promoting a group of artists and their artwork.
Art Project | An artistically creative endeavor like the production of an art series.
Art Series | An art project generally consisting of 8 to 12 associated pieces of fine art (there are no restrictions in size; a series can include more or less pieces of artwork).
Artspeak | An obscure, esoteric and even pretentious jargon used to discuss art and artistic things. Memorizing every term in this glossary, and needlessly regurgitating a lot of them in common dialogue at a moment’s notice with just about anyone victimized into hearing it is using artspeak.
Art Style | The values ascribed or aesthetics achieved in imagery as a result of using specific techniques.
Artsy | Someone, usually, or something that may be genuinely or pretentiously interested in or connected to the arts or art life, or even is art but also makes an exagerated display of showing their artistic connection or importance. Such people and things are also sometimes refered to as “artsy-fartsy”. An example of an artsy person is someone who may genuinely draw, paint or play a musical instrument but tries too hard to show that they are an artist or part of some artistic social entity by speaking and dressing in ways that are stereotypical of that group or community of artists and collectors but aren’t necessarily true of that faction. An example of an artsy thing is artwork that is made in a style that is far too closely copied off of a popular artist. An example of an artsy thing to do is going to an exhibition or auction of the late David Bowie’s visual art collection while dressing the same as or similar to how Bowie had been seen dressed in public. Artsy people and things are often also arty (see Arty).
Arty | Someone or something that is all about pretending to have or show artistic significance. An example of an arty person is someone who doesn’t create, collect, spend quality time regarding or truly promote anything artistic but is always ready to engage others in artspeak (see Artspeak) and namedropping of notables in art communities, in order to test others to see and reveal how disconnected or unknowledgeable about the artworld others may be. An example of an arty thing is a framed sheet of paper on which a single miniscule drop of ink or paint was deliberately (which requires extremely little, if any, applied artistic conceptualization and skill in its creation) or accidentally dropped on, and displayed as though it is artwork. An example of an arty thing to do is buying artwork just because it was once owned by at least one other famous person instead of purchasing the artwork because of a genuinely deep appreciation for the artwork.
Avant-Garde Art | Artwork that is the result of experimentation and unconventional social, cultural, intellectual and creative thinking (often preferred in high-end fine art).
Balance | How the elements of art (line, shape, color, value, space, form, texture) relate to each other within the composition in terms of their visual weight to create visual equilibrium. That is, one side does not seem heavier than another.
Blue Chip | In the art world, the term refers to any art, artist (a.k.a.: “early blue chip artist” [see Artist]) who creates, exhibits or sells, gallery (see Art Gallery) or collector (see Art Collector) that exhibits or purchases high-end art that is expected to reliably increase in economic value regardless of the general economic conditions. The term appears to have originated with insurers and tax bodies associated with the high-end art community. Blue chip galleries tend to focus solely on reselling the work of well-established names; artists whose works are well catalogued and authenticated, and reliably bring higher and higher prices at auction. Due to importance placed on using artwork as commodities, rather than appreciating artwork mainly for their intellectual and cultural value, the term blue chip is regarded by many as vulgar. The importance on utility also causes some critics (see Criticism) to regard the term as one associated with commercial art (see Commercial Art) but it is actually more associated with fine art (see Fine Art), antiquities and decorative art (see Decorative Art).
Body of Work | Multiple pieces of cohesive artwork; a collection of 20 to 30 works of art from an artist which bear an overall signature style, medium, colours and subject matter that is instantly recognizable to most appreciators of art. It is art galleries that are mainly interested in the bodies of work of fine artists for potential gallery representation. Despite common misconceptions, a body of art usually isn’t representative of an artist’s oeuvre (see Oeuvre). The term is also occasionally mistakenly used to refer to a portfolio (see Artist’s Portfolio).
Carving | The act of using tools to shape something from a material by removing portions of that material. A “carving” is also a work of three-dimensional visual art (see 3D Art) that is created through the act of carving, as opposed to more two-dimensional work (see Engraving). The technique can be applied to any material that is solid enough to hold a form even when pieces have been removed from it, and yet soft enough for portions to be carved away with available tools. Carving, as a means for making sculpture (see Sculpture), is distinct from methods using soft and malleable materials like clay, fruit, and melted glass, which may be shaped into the desired forms while soft and then hardened into that form. Carving tends to require much more work than methods using malleable materials.
Ceramics | (a.k.a.: “ceramic art”) Art made from ceramic materials (solid materials comprising inorganic compounds of metal, non-metal or metalloid atoms primarily held in ionic and covalent bonds [e.g., earthenware, porcelain, and brick]), including clay. It may take forms including artistic pottery, including tableware, tiles, figurines and other sculpture. Ceramic art is one of the arts, particularly the visual arts. Of these, it is one of the plastic arts. While some ceramics are considered fine art, as pottery or sculpture, some are considered to be decorative, industrial or applied art objects. Ceramics may also be considered artefacts in archaeology. Ceramic art can be made by one person or by a group of people. In a pottery or ceramic factory, a group of people design, manufacture and decorate the art ware. Products from a pottery are sometimes referred to as “art pottery”.
Chalk | A soft, white (in nature), porous, sedimentary carbonate rock; a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is an ionic salt called calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Chalk may also contain calcium sulfate (CaSO4); otherwise known as gypsum. It forms under reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite shells (coccoliths) shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores.
Chiaroscuro | From Italian meaning “light-dark”, it is reference to the use of strong contrasts between light and dark in two-dimensional visual art (see 2D Art), usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. The more technical use of the term chiaroscuro is the effect of light modelling in painting, drawing or printmaking, where three-dimensional volume is suggested by the value gradation of colour and the analytical division of light and shadow shapes — often called “shading” (see Shading). It is also a technical term used by artists and art historians for the use of contrasts of light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects and figures. The underlying principle is that solidity of form is best achieved by the light falling against it. It is a mainstay of black and white and low-key photography.
Client | A person using a service or idea that is obtained from Modes of Flight through a financial transaction or exchange for money or some other valuable consideration.
Cohesiveness | When a series (see Art Series) or body of work (see Body of Work) of fine art (see Fine Art) from an artist or a collection of fine art appears to have one or more characteristics that are similar or the same. Some of which are known as the seven elements of art (see Art Elements). Characteristics that artists rely on to create cohesive artwork, and that gallerists (see Gallerist) and collectors (see Art Collector) often look for from artists are same or similar use of colour, framing, genre (see Art Genre), media (see Art Media), style (see Art Style), and subject matter. Other less commonly used characteristics like harmony (see Harmony), unity (see Unity), variety (see Variety) and others can also be applied. While cohesiveness is typically advantageous to the marketing of fine art, creating cohesiveness can be a considerable challenge for an artist if the artist has considerable skill and interest in applying many characteristics and disciplines. Creating cohesion can restrict an artist’s freedom of expression (see Artistic Expression).
Commercial Art | Art forms that are usually, not necessarily, visual but are developed primarily for utility (see Fine Art).
Composition (visual art) | The organization of visual art elements, and design principles of perspective and proportion in ways that bring about deliberate visual effects.
Concept Art | A form of illustration (see Illustration) used to convey an idea for use in films, video games, animation, comic books or other media before it is put into the final product.
Conceptual Art | (a.k.a.: “conceptualism”) Artwork of which the idea(s) or concept(s) that is the basis of the creation is more important than the media and techniques used to make the work or even the completed artwork itself; therefore, the artwork can be made with anything that will allow an artist to get an idea across as opposed to using specific art media.
Contemporary Art | Art produced at this present point in time — specifically, since World War II.
Content | The message or meaning within a work of work. Content is fundamental to creating artwork beyond the elements (see Art Elements) and principles of art (see Art Principles).
Contrast | The difference between elements (see Art Elements) used in visual art (see Visual Art). Criticism is fundamental to creating artwork beyond the elements and principles of art (see Art Principles). It is because contrast works is so closely related to variety (see Variety) why it is usually considered a principle. Some art purists, however, argue that contrast simply creates variety.
Convergence | In two-dimensional visual art (see 2D Art), convergence refers to linear perspective. In linear perspective, all lines that are parallel converge together as they run along to a point at a person’s eye level (also known as the horizon line) in the picture place. Where the literal or imaginary line converge is often a focal point (see Focal Point). A place of emphasis (see Emphasis).
Craft | (a.k.a.: “trade” and “handicraft”) An amateur artistic activity, profession or creation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work in order to make functional or utilitarian products.
Creative (as opposed to artist) | Any person who regularly generates effective solutions to problems. A term that has been used needlessly on the Internet and by certain art experts to unnecessarily distinguish artists from creative people who aren’t regarded as artists by themselves or other people. With that consideration, the simplest understanding of a creative person is a person because all reasonably thinking and functioning people create solutions to problems on a daily basis (see Artist).
Creative Vision | The ability to recognize a person, place, event or other thing as not only what it actually is but, in a way, that amplifies or intensifies its existence and/or meaning on the human psyche. Creative vision may also involve the adding of one or more profound meanings to that person, place, event or other thing, and it is needed before that person, place, event or other thing is presented or expressed through some artistic means.
Cremnitz White | An oil paint pigment. The term ‘Cremnitz white’ erroneously originated from the designation of basic lead carbonate manufactured in Klangenfurt, Austria, in the 18th and 19th centuries according to a process similar but not identical to the ‘stack process.’ The lead used in manufacturing lead white in Klangenfurt came from galena mines in the vicinity of Krems (in the state of Carinthia, Austria) and hence the names Kremsweiss, Kremserweiss, Krems White, Kremser White, and the erroneous attributions Cremnitz White or Kremnitz White.
The term ‘Cremnitz white’ as used by most artists’ materials manufacturers today for their white oil paint is for a paint made by grinding basic lead carbonate ground in a vegetable drying oil (linseed, walnut or safflower oil) without the addition of zinc oxide.
Criticism | An organized approach to evaluating artwork. Criticism is fundamental to creating artwork beyond the elements (see Art Elements) and principles of art (see Art Principles).
Customer | The art collector (see Art Collector) or other recipient of art or merchandise that is obtained from Modes of Flight through a financial transaction or exchange for money or some other valuable consideration.
Dammar vanish | It is made from dammar gum mixed with turpentine, and was introduced as a picture varnish in 1826; commonly used in oil painting, both during the painting process and after the painting is finished. Dammar, also called dammar gum, or damar gum, is a resin obtained from the Dipterocarpaceae family of trees in India and East Asia, principally those of the genera Shorea or Hopea (synonym Balanocarpus). Most is produced by tapping trees; however, some is collected in fossilized form from the ground.
Decorative Arts | Arts (see Art) and crafts (see Craft) concerned with the production of objects that equally feature both functionality and aesthetic beauty (e.g.: ornate cutlery, plates, tea sets, chests, luggage, furniture, political or religious books or posters featuring special calligraphy or type, talismans, etc.). The decorative arts include interior design but usually doesn’t include architecture, and are typically distinguished from the fine arts (see Fine Art), specifically drawings, paintings, photography and large-scale sculpture which generally produce creations for their aesthetics and capacity to arouse the intellect.
Depth | A casual one-word expression used in visual art that refers to the appearance of objects and spaces as viewed from the foreground receding to the background. This is related to depth perception. Two-dimensional visual art (see 2D Art) is made with any number of drawing or painting instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium, so an object or space depicted in a composition (see Composition [visual art]) to have a three dimensional physical appearance that has a portion close to the observer and another portion that is distant from the observer, in reality lacks depth. Depth perception arising from visual cues presented in two-dimensional pictures or images, such as shadows, and size perspective are features that are designed to trick the eye and mind into adding depth and distance to the object or space depicted in the image. These cues are termed pictorial depth cues or pictorial depth information. In photography, for many cameras, depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and the farthest objects that are in acceptably sharp focus in an image. In still photography, therefore, the use of specific lenses, planned positioning of the camera and selective focusing techniques; all that take advantage of or distort lines of perspective and quality of light, can create an illusion that truly three-dimensional objects and spaces photographed onto a two-dimensional medium have continue to retain some appearance of what is sometimes referred to as dimensional depth.
Design | Traditionally, artwork bearing visual art elements that can be reproduced exactly in every way by hand, as opposed to an image which can only be produced once by hand (blueprints are designs while pencil drawings, oil paintings, other illustrations and photographs are images); keep in mind that most designs by contemporary considerations are not handmade but are computer generated (e.g. graphic design), as are many contemporary images, and both can be reproduced exactly by technological means.
Dominance | When one or more elements in artwork will attract the eye and get noticed first. A dominant element might even appear to exhibit some sort of control over less dominant elements. Dominance of an element is established through contrast, emphasis and relative visual weight (see Visual Weight). To exert dominance, an element has to look different from the elements it’s meant to dominate. The most common characteristics that can be varied to set different visual weights include size, shape, color, value, depth, texture, density, saturation, orientation, local negative space (see Negative Space) or white space (see White Space), intrinsic interest and perceived physical weight. Dominance can also be created through visual direction (e.g., in graphic design; surrounding an element with arrows all pointing to that element).
Eco-Friendly | Designed to do the least possible damage to the environment.
Editorial Photography | Images that depict the profound impact of the everyday social or work environments of people. Such images are usually, not always, used in publishing under an image licensing agreement between the photographer and the source of the publishing (e.g. news agency, fashion magazine, etc.). Legally, exclusively editorial use images cannot be used for commercial or advertising (see Advertising Photography) purposes. Photographs licensed for editorial publishing (e.g. news report, fashion article, etc.) will usually feature recognizable people (e.g. celebrities, politicians, famous athletes, etc.) and/or something copyrighted (e.g. a logo, brand name, tagline, etc.).
Emerging Artist | A beginning or experienced professional visual artist that has typically created a relatively small body of work, has achieved some local recognition and/or has limited experience exhibiting their work in public.
Emphasis | The principle of art (see Art Principles) that helps the viewer of a work of visual art (see Visual Art) mentally perceive and put the story of the artwork together. Any object or area of emphasis is called a focal point (see Focal Point). The focal point is meant to be the part of an artwork to which the viewer’s eyes are first attracted. Artworks can have multiple focal points. The degree to which the focal points stand out determines the order in which the viewer notices them. An artist can begin to control how a story unfolds for viewers and how they will interact with a work of art by using contrast (see Contrast), isolation (see Isolation), location (see Location), convergence (see Convergence), the unusual (see Unusual) and level of rendering (see Rendering) in artwork.
Engraving | The practice of incising (see Carving) a design onto a hard, usually flat surface by cutting grooves into it with a burin, chisel or other tools. The result may be a work of three-dimensional visual art (see 3D Art) or decorative art (see Decorative Arts), or may provide an intaglio printing plate for printing images as prints or illustrations which are also called “engravings”. Engraving is one of the oldest and most important techniques in printmaking.
Established Artist | A professional visual artist who has produced an extensive body of work – from a dozen to a couple dozen series, and has achieved national or international recognition.
Figurative Illustration | (a.k.a. “figurative art”) A genre of illustration that depicts an object derived from a real source to represent something or someone but is not to be mistaken for figure drawing or figure painting which exclusively involves depictions of the human form.
Fine Art | Art forms that are not necessarily visual but are developed primarily for aesthetics and/or conveying and analyzing ideas rather than practical application (see Commercial Art).
Flake White | An oil paint pigment. The term ‘flake white’ originated from the fact that when basic lead carbonate is made according to the old Dutch method or ‘stack process,’ it falls off the metallic pieces of lead as flakes. According to artist paint pigment experts, this is not the case when lead white is made according to modern processes, which is the pigment type used by all artists’ paint manufacturers today.
The term ‘flake white’ as used by most artists’ materials manufacturers today for their white oil paint designates a paint made by grinding basic lead carbonate ground in a vegetable drying oil (linseed, walnut or safflower oil) with a small amount of zinc oxide.
Flow | (a.k.a.: “visual flow”) The effect of an artwork that causes the attention of a viewer to impulsively trace a path over an image or scene, so as to seemingly lead the viewer deeper into it. The path is followed as opposed to either frantically trying to see all points of the image or scene at once or remaining focused on a single point. As a stream or river flows from one location to another, sweeping anything movable up into its current, the artistic effect converts the viewer from being a passive observer of the art into an active participant, giving them a sense of being in the image or scene. The creation of flow can be beneficial in artwork that lacks a focal point (see Focal Point).
Focal Point | The focal point of a painting, photograph or graphic design is the area in the composition to which the viewer’s eye is naturally drawn. It is essential to classic art, although abstract artists may deliberately create compositions without focal points. Focal points may be of any shape, size or color. Composition theory dictates that focal points ought not to be in the center of paintings, photos or graphic designs but rather one-third of the way across or up the composition, in one of the rectangle’s four quadrants. The creation of a focal point can be beneficial in artwork that lacks flow (see Flow).
Form | An element of art (see Art Elements), means objects that have three dimensions; length, height and width. Form and shape (see Shape) are related. A shape can be transformed into the illusion of a form by adding value (see Value), and a form from life can be simplified (see Simplicity) into a shape.
Freeform Shape | (a.k.a. “organic shape”) An irregular and uneven shape as opposed to a geometric shape (see Geometric Shape). Their outlines may be curved, angular or a combination of both.
Gallerist | An owner or operator of a gallery (see Art Gallery).
Geometric Shape | A precise shape that can be described using a mathematical formula (e.g. a square, triangle, octagon, circle, etc.) as opposed to an organic shape (see Freeform Shape).
Gesamtkunstwerk | Artwork that incorporates all or many art forms in its makeup or attempts to do so.
Giclée Print | A fine art reproduction of 2D art that is marketed as being of archival or museum quality. It is the French word giclée (meaning; a spray or a spurt of liquid) that is used to indicate the likely museum quality of a print to prospective art collectors. As such reproductions are typically made by large format digital inkjet printers with expectedly, not guaranteed, exceptionally high resolution (digital photographs as low as 72 dpi can be acceptable but continuous tone and line art [paintings and drawings] are usually best to be photographed or scanned as digital files at a minimum of 300 dpi) it is not an official industry term (see Archival Print). Other high-quality fine art reproductions could be made through offset, lithographic and other printing processes.
Glass | (SiO2) A non-crystalline, often transparent amorphous material commonly used in windows, tableware, optoelectronics, and decorative items.
Glass Etching | (a.k.a.: “French Embossing”) A popular technique developed during the mid-1800s that is still widely used in both residential and commercial spaces today. Glass etching comprises the techniques of creating decorative art (see Decorative Arts) on the surface of glass by applying acidic (see Glass Etching Cream), caustic or abrasive substances. Traditionally this is done after the glass is blown or cast, although mold-etching has replaced some forms of surface etching. The removal of minute amounts of glass causes the characteristic rough surface and translucent quality of frosted glass.
Glass Etching Cream | (a.k.a.: “glass etching solution”, “etching acid” and “glass etchant”) A substance used to chemically etch glass (see Glass), usually in decorative art (see Decorative Arts). It consists of fluoride compounds, such as hydrogen fluoride and sodium fluoride. As the types of acids used in this process are extremely hazardous (e.g.: hydrofluoric acid [some creams consist of chemical mixtures of sodium bifluoride, ammonium hydrogen difluoride, sulfuric acid and barium sulfate]), abrasive methods have gained popularity in glass etching (a.k.a.: “French Embossing [see Glass Etching]”).
Graphic | A visual image (see Image) or design (see Design) used to convey information, illustrate (see Illustration) or entertain.
Graphic Arts | A category of fine art that covers a broad range of visual artistic expression, typically two-dimensional (i.e. produced on a flat surface). The term usually refers to the arts that rely more on line or tone than on colour, especially drawing and the various forms of engraving; it is sometimes understood to refer specifically to printmaking processes, such as line engraving, aquatint, drypoint, etching, mezzotint, monotype, lithography, and screen printing (silk-screen, serigraphy). Graphic art further includes calligraphy, photography, painting, typography, computer graphics, and bindery. It also encompasses drawn plans and layouts for interior and architectural designs.
Graphic Design | The process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, photography, and illustration. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term “graphic design” is used synonymously. Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages. They use typography, visual arts, and page layout (see Page Layout) techniques to create visual compositions. Common uses of graphic design include corporate design (logos and branding), editorial design (magazines, newspapers and books), wayfinding or environmental design, advertising, web design, communication design, product packaging, and signage.
Harmony | The principle of art (see Art Principles) that creates cohesiveness (see Cohesiveness) by stressing the similarities of separate but related parts. Harmony should not be mistaken for unity (see Unity) in art. Harmony does, however, enhance unity in artwork. Specifically, harmony uses the seven elements of art (see Art Elements) as a vehicle to create a sense of togetherness amongst otherwise separate parts. A set of colours that relate according to a specific scheme creates harmony. Likewise, a uniform texture of brush strokes across the surface of a canvas creates harmony.
Hierarchy | (a.k.a.: “visual hierarchy”) The order in which a viewer mentally processes information presented in artwork. By assigning different visual characteristics to sections of information (e.g., more detail in a figure or larger fonts for headings), an artist can influence what users will perceive as being further up in the hierarchy. The visual characteristics that an artist can use to influence a viewer’s perception of the information are size (the larger the element, the more attention it will attract), colour (bright colours are more likely to draw attention over muted ones), contrast (dramatically contrasted colours will catch the eye easily), alignment (an element that breaks away from the alignment of others will attract more attention), repetition (repeating styles can give the impression that content is related), proximity (closely placed elements will also appear related), whitespace (more space around elements will attract the eye toward them), and texture and style (richer textures will attract more attention than flat ones).
Illustration | Any visual art that is created to enhance, explain, or beautify something. Illustration is also frequently created for utility; hence illustration is also a commercial art.
Image | Traditionally, artwork bearing visual art elements that can only be produced once by hand, as opposed to a design which features visual art elements that can be reproduced exactly in every way by hand (pencil drawings, oil paintings, other illustrations and photographs are images while schematics are designs); keep in mind that most designs by contemporary considerations are not handmade but are computer generated (e.g. graphic design), as are many contemporary images, and both can be reproduced exactly by technological means.
Impasto | A technique used in painting (usually oil or acrylic painting), in which pigment is applied to an area of a surface very thickly, usually thick enough that the brush or painting-knife strokes are visible. The technique can be a layered approach, and paint can also be mixed right on the canvas. When dry, impasto provides texture; the paint appears to be coming out of the canvas.
Isolation | A straight-forward way to ensure that something of importance; often referred to as the “main character”, of a composition (see Composition [visual art]) is noticed by a viewer. The placing of an object of emphasis (see Emphasis) outside of a grouping will force a viewer to take notice of it.
Juxtaposition | The placing of two or more things side-by-side, often with the intention of comparing or contrasting the elements (see Art Elements). It is commonly used in the visual arts (see Visual Art) to emphasize a concept, form unique compositions (see Composition [visual art]), and add intrigue to paintings, drawings, sculptures, or any other type of artwork. Juxtaposition may take the form of shapes, changes in mark-making, contrasting colors, or representations of actual objects. For example, an artist may use aggressive mark-making next to an area of very controlled shading, or an area of crisp detail against something handled more softly. Juxtaposition is not to be confused with proximity (see Proximity) in art, which is a judgement of how close components in a composition appear to be to one another in order to make those parts be perceived by a viewer as unified (see Unity).
Kitsch | Artwork, objects or designs considered by most to be in poor taste or quality because of excessive garishness or sentimentality but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way. Neon signs, hardcore pornography are all well-known and highly admired examples of kitsch or “kitschy art” even though many are unlikely to openly state their attraction to such things. Kitsch is the true opposite of fine art, and is often also commercial art although commercial art usually is not kitsch. The word is originally an old German expression for something regarded as tacky or trashy.
Liberal Arts | (a.k.a.: “the seven liberal arts”) Subjects or skills that in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free person (liberalis, “worthy of a free person”) to know to take an active part in civic life, something that (for ancient Greece) included participating in public debate, defending oneself in court, serving on juries, and most importantly, military service. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric were the core liberal arts (the trivium), while arithmetic, geometry, the theory of music, and astronomy were the following stage of education (as the quadrivium). Liberal arts today can refer to academic subjects such as literature, philosophy, mathematics, and social and physical sciences; and liberal arts education can refer to overall studies in a liberal arts degree program (usually at university level). For both interpretations, the term generally refers to matters not relating to the professional, vocational or technical curriculum.
Limited Edition Print | A reproduction (referred to by print makers as an “impression”) of 2D artwork that is of a fixed number ensuring that no other reproduction will be produced later. Making a limited edition (a.k.a.: “LE”) that is collectible by art collectors requires 1) making all impressions from a single printing plate or electronic file (i.e. when making giclée prints), 2) destroying the plate, and 3) ensuring that the original artwork is never traded or sold even if it means destroying the art. LE prints are typically — not always, hand signed and numbered in graphite (pencil) by the artist who created the original artwork. The number of a print is often conspicuously displayed as a fraction on a white boarder in the lower left corner. For example, if 237 impression are made in a print run, the first impression to come off of the press would be numbered 1/237 (see Open Edition Print).
Line | A point that moves. One of the seven elements of art (see Art Elements). It is considered by most to be the most basic element of art. A line can be used to show where an object ends. This type of line is called a contour line or outline. By varying the line quality (thickness or thinness; a.k.a.: “line quality”) an artist can show form in a drawing with just the use of line. The use of cross contour lines can also indicate shadow and form (see Form).
Linseed Oil | An oil paint binder. Also known as flaxseed oil or flax oil, it is a colourless to yellowish oil obtained from the dried, ripened seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum). Linseed oil is a common carrier used in oil paint. It can also be used as a painting medium, making oil paints more fluid, transparent and glossy. It is available in varieties such as cold pressed, alkali refined, sun bleached, sun thickened, and polymerized (stand oil). The introduction of linseed oil was a significant advance in the technology of oil painting.
Location | Where a compositional element (see Art Elements) is placed in a work of art in order to emphasize (see Emphasis) its importance (see Photography Shoot Location). All things being equal, a viewer will look at the center of a composition (see Composition [visual art]) first. Placing important objects or people near the center of a canvas or photograph will add to their emphasis. Artists (see Artist), gallerists (see Gallerist) and collectors (see Art Collector) must use caution in critiquing (see Criticism) a work of art during its creation, exhibition or collection – rarely should important objects be placed directly in the center of a composition. It is usually best that they be placed near the center. Placing a focal point (see Focal Point) in the exact center of a composition that features many other focal points will often greatly de-emphasis everything else in the composition. Even to the extent that the viewer may not consider the entirety of the image.
Marker | Also known as a marker pen, fineliner, marking pen, felt-tip marker, felt-tip pen, flow marker, texta (in Australia), sketch pen (in India) or koki (in South Africa), is a pen which has its own ink-source, and a tip made of porous, pressed fibers such as felt. Markers may be waterproof, dry-erase, or permanent. A permanent or indelible marker consists of a container (glass, aluminum or plastic) and a core of an absorbent material. This filling serves as a carrier for the ink. The upper part of the marker contains the nib that was made in earlier time of a hard-felt material, and a cap to prevent the marker from drying out.
Marketing Communications | The way a business entity conveys a message to a target market or the overall market through one or more viable tactics and strategies such as networking, personal selling, direct marketing, advertising, exhibiting, sponsorship, communication, promotion and public relations.
Master | (see Masterpiece)
Masterpiece | A term that has seems to have lost its original meaning in modern times because it is not based on a verifiable and universally or broadly accepted standard. The earliest uses of the term appear to date back to late 16th century Europe when apprentices or journeymen aimed for recognition as master craftsmen in the old European guild system. To qualify for guild or academy membership a tradesperson or artist had to be judged, in part, by their ability to produce a high-quality piece of work in whatever their trade, craft (see Craft) or art form (see Art Form). If the applicant was able to show a guild’s review board that the applicant has met the critical standards of their trade, then the applicant would be regarded as a master and the piece of work would be retained by the guild or academy as a masterpiece. Contemporary art guilds and academies technically do not have the same type of masters’ review boards — not even in universities in which an artist may study for a Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts (BFA or MFA). So today, a masterpiece is commonly regarded as a creation in any area of the arts that receives considerable critical praise from others merely considered to be knowledgeable in the arts. Especially artwork that is presumed to have been created with the very best creativity, skill, profundity or workmanship of an artist’s career. Not that the work has been judged to have met a set standard.
Mid-Career Artist | A professional visual artist who has completed a couple to a dozen art series (usually a project of 8 to 12 pieces), and have received recognition outside of his or her local arts community.
Modern Art | Artwork produced between the 1860s and 1970s, although the term sounds like it means the same thing as contemporary art, and made with that era’s popular philosophies of artistry — free thinking and experimentation as opposed to applying strong traditional considerations of narrative and realism.
Modernism | Both a philosophical movement and an art movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the factors that shaped modernism were the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed then by reactions of horror to World War I. Modernism also rejected the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, although many modernists also rejected religious belief.
Molding | The process of manufacturing by shaping liquid or pliable raw material using a rigid frame called a mold or matrix. This itself may have been made using a pattern or model of the final object.
Motif | (pl. motifs and motives) A graphic that is or is meant to be repeated in a pattern or design.
Multidisciplinary Art | Art forms that heavily incorporate other art forms and fields, that are related or even unrelated to the arts, into their overall creation such as visual art, performance art, literary art, acrobatics, athletics, martial arts, etc.
Muse | (a.k.a.: “art muse”) A person, especially a female, or a personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist (see Artist). The concept originates from Greek mythology in which the Muses were nine goddesses who symbolized the arts and sciences. Commonly, a muse is thought to be a beautiful girl who models in the nude or semi-nude for whatever masculine sexual interest. She is never, and could never be the artist’s equal unless she’s manipulative of a man whom everyone would agree is weak-minded or even effeminate. A muse, however, is more than a person who merely models frequently for a visual artist (see Visual Art). From perhaps a traditional or historical sense the purest character of a muse is that she is the anima to a male artist’s animus — to refer to a Jungian theory, with which he must be in tune if he is to create new and important artwork. Sexual connotations are typically associated with this relationship but the concept of the muse seems to indicate, in consideration of historical relationships that are presumed or suspected of being artist-muse bonds, that physical intimacy is not a certainty. Art history indicates that a bond between an artist and a muse is what is sometimes considered to be a seeming reversal of gender roles in which she is responsible for penetrating and impregnating him through inspiration. He gestates from the womb of his creative mind. A muse would not be so simply because of the role she plays in an artist’s intimate life but because of the role she plays in his intellectual life. That a muse is usually a female who serves as a prime source of inspiration for an artist who would presumably be male can still be viewed as old phallocentric sexist thinking. Why is it less likely for a male to be the muse of a female artist? Have there ever been any in history? What of same-sex partnerships? Have there been male muses for male artist’s, and female muses for female artists? What are, have been or could be the possibilities between two-spirit artist and muse partnerships? What’s the viewpoint of the muse? The supposed muses of history all seem to have entered the roll by happenstance — some are presumed to have been chosen by their artists, although there doesn’t appear to have been strong evidence of this. Is being a muse an admirable position to be in? Has anyone ever even consciously desired or aspired to being an artist’s muse?
Museum | An institution that cares for (conserves) a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical or scientific importance. Many public museums make these items available for public viewing through exhibitions that may be permanent or temporary.
Museum Print | A gallery or museum quality fine art reproduction of 2D art (see 2D Art). Such prints use fine quality papers and inks designed to resist color fading for certainly one complete century if not more. Drawings, paintings and photography are reproduced using a fine art printer with exceptionally high resolution on environmentally sustainable papers known as rags that contain a 100% cotton base. They are often termed as being of “museum quality (see Archival Print and Giclée Print).”
Motif | (pl. motifs and motives) A graphic that is or is meant to be repeated in a pattern or design.
Narrative Art | Artwork that tells a story either through a single piece of artwork or a series of pieces — either an entire story, more than one story or part of one story.
Negative Space | The space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space occasionally is used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image (see White Space).
Oeuvre | A French word typically referring to all of the artwork created by an artist in his or her lifetime. This word is often misused to mean a body of work or a portfolio (see Body of Work and Artist’s Portfolio).
Oil Paint Drier| Driers, or siccative such as cobalt and clear drier, are usually metallic salts that are combined with oils or resins and then mixed into the paint and/or medium and/or varnish to accelerate the drying time by speeding the rate of oxidation and polymerization (but it is important to remember that driers diminish the life of the paint or varnish).
Open Edition Print | A reproduction (referred to by printmakers as an “impression”) of 2D artwork that is of a number of quality reproductions made by a single printing plate before the plate becomes unusable or however many quality copies made from the same plate that are sellable. Making an open edition (a.k.a.: “OE”) that is collectable by art collectors requires 1) making all impressions from a single printing plate (reproducing the same image from any additional plates is called reprinting, and reprints are of extremely less value, if any, to collectors) or electronic file (i.e. when making giclée prints) and 2) saving and protecting the original plate for future printing until it wears out (see Limited Edition Print). OE’s typically — not always, have a much greater number of impressions produced than limited editions (LE’s). Whereas LE’s rarely number greater than a thousand copies, OE’s can range from a few thousand reproductions to tens of thousands of reproductions — considered virtually limitless. As OE prints are so common, theoretically, they have to be marketed at significantly lower price values than LE prints.
Organic Shape | (see Freeform Shape).
Outsider Art | Art that is created by self-taught creators. Typically, those labeled as outsider artists have little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions. Outsider at, therefore, shouldn’t be confused with wild art (see Wild Art) which is created within the mainstream art world.
Page Layout | The part of graphic design (see Graphic Design) that deals in the arrangement of visual elements on a physical or electronic page. It generally involves organizational principles of composition to achieve specific communication objectives.
Participant | Any a person or enterprise who knowingly takes part in or helps with a photography shoot.
Pencil | A writing implement or art medium constructed of a narrow, solid pigment core inside a protective casing which prevents the core from being broken and/or from leaving marks on the user’s hand during use.
Performance Art | Art forms that create works which rely most heavily on some manner of kinetic involvement in their production, and are produced for an audience (e.g. music, drama, oral art and dance are the performance arts).
Perspective | In the graphic arts (see Graphic Arts) is an approximate representation, generally on a flat surface (such as paper), of an image as it is seen by the eye. The two most characteristic features of perspective are that objects appear smaller as their distance from the observer increases; and that they are subject to foreshortening, meaning that an object’s dimensions along the line of sight appear shorter than its dimensions across the line of sight.
Perspex | Poly(methyl methacrylate), also known as acrylic, acrylic glass, or plexiglass as well as by the trade names Crylux, Plexiglas, Acrylite, Lucite, Perclax and Perspex among several others, is a transparent thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass.
Photographic Vision | Profound foresight on the creative presentation of an image of a person, place, event or other thing through the recording of light or other electromagnetic radiation.
Photography Shoot | (a.k.a.: “photo shoot”) An event or engagement whereby a model poses for a photographer at a studio or any other location where multiple photos are taken to find the best ones for a required assignment or brief. The “model” is not always a person, however; for instance, advertising in print often requires photographic depiction of advertised goods, and food can be the subject of magazine articles (often in very elaborate presentations). Even a place or space can be a photography subject and, therefore, in effect is a “model” of a photo shoot.
Photography Shoot Location | (a.k.a.: “location”) Any indoor or outdoor site where a photography shoot is carried out.
Photorealism | A genre ad attempt to push visual art aesthetics to the point of creating literal and photographically accurate representations of subject matter, and an art movement (always spelled with a capital P when specifically referring to the movement) that has endured since the 1960’s.
Plastic Art | Art forms (see Art Form) which involve physical manipulation of a plastic medium by molding (see Molding) or modeling such as sculpture (see Sculpture) or ceramics (see Ceramics). Less often the term may be used broadly for all the visual arts (such as painting, sculpture, film and photography), as opposed to literature and music. Materials for use in the plastic arts, in the narrower definition, include those that can be carved or shaped, such as stone or wood, concrete, glass, or metal.
Provenance | The chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object. Often, art is accompanied by documentation, commonly known as provenance, that confirms its authenticity mainly through ownership history. Good provenance (ownership history) leaves no doubt that a work of art is genuine and by the artist who it is stated to be by or whose signature it bears. The provenance of works of fine art (see Fine Art), antiques and antiquities are of great importance, especially to their owner. There are a number of reasons why painting provenance is important, which mostly also apply to other types of fine art. A good provenance increases the value of a painting, and establishing provenance may help confirm the date, artist and, especially for portraits, the subject of a painting. It may confirm whether a painting is genuinely of the period it seems to date from. The provenance of paintings can help resolve ownership disputes. For example, provenance between 1933 and 1945 can determine whether a painting was looted by the Nazis. Many galleries put a great deal of effort into researching the provenance of paintings in their collections for which there is no firm provenance during that period.
Proximity | The appearance of physical closeness between different components in a work of visual art (see Visual Art). By placing parts close together, the mind is able to see the parts as one thing, a mass. The more that negative space (see Negative Space) or “empty space” is limited, the more unified (see Unity) the areas of a composition may feel. Proximity is not to be confused with juxtaposition (see Juxtaposition) in art, which is done with the intent of creating contrast (see Contrast).
Realism | A genre and effort to create visual art that realistically or “truthfully” represents something as it likely would be seen to the unaided eye, and a 19th century art movement (always spelled with a capital R when specifically referring to the movement).
Regulated Space | Any physical location (e.g. an art gallery or street alley) or non-physical location (e.g. a virtual reality environment) that is owned or controlled by a person or faction, in which artwork may be installed and exhibited.
Rendering | The process of illustrating objects or scenes in artwork by including shading, colour and texture as opposed to only basic lines and curves.
Repetition | Within a composition (see Composition [visual art]), the use of repetition will ensure a feeling of unity (see Unity) in the mind of a viewer. Tessellations (see Tessellation) are an obvious example of how repetition unifies a composition. Repetition can also unify an entire series of artworks (see Art Series), like a group of paintings. A certain shape, object or texture that is repeated among a group of paintings acts as a motif (see Motif), helping each painting to feel as though it is part of a greater whole.
Representational Art | Artwork created to signify something else (i.e. a portrait photograph is a representation of someone’s physical likeness).
Rhythm | In visual art (see Visual Art), rhythm is a principle of design that suggests movement or action. Rhythm is usually achieved through repetition of lines, shapes, colors, and more. It creates a visual tempo in artworks and provides a path for the viewer’s eye to follow.
Salon | From the seventeenth century to the early part of the twentieth century, artistic production in France was controlled by artistic academies which organized official exhibitions called salons. In a traditional salon-style exhibition, even in a contemporary art gallery (see Art Gallery), artwork, especially 2D art (see 2D Art) is displayed from floor to ceiling. In a museum-style exhibition, on the other hand, art is hung on walls or otherwise displayed in a single horizontal row at eye-level, which is probably most common in galleries today.
Sculpture | The branch of the visual arts (see Visual Art) that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts (see Plastic Art). Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the removal of material) and modelling (the addition of material, as clay), in stone, metal, ceramics, wood and other materials but, since Modernism (see Modernism), there has been an almost complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded or cast.
Shading | The depiction of depth perception in 3D models in two-dimensional visual art (see 2D Art) by varying levels of darkness.
Shape | An element of art (see Art Elements) that is a two-dimensional area that is defined in some way. A shape may have an outline around it or it may be recognized it by its area.
Shell | (a.k.a.: “seashell”) A hard, protective exoskeleton of an invertebrate (an animal lacking a spinal column) that lives in a sea, lake, river, stream or brook. Invertebrates include snails, bivalves (clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, scallops, etc.), squids, octopi and many other species. After the animal has died, and its soft parts have either been consumed by another animal or decomposed, its empty shell may be found washed up on shores and beaches. Shells are typically composed of calcium carbonate or chitin. Most shells that are found on beaches are the shells of marine mollusks (clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, scallops, squids, octopi), partly because these shells are usually made of calcium carbonate, and endure longer than shells made of chitin.
Simplicity | The deliberate reduction in the amount of potential variety (see Variety) in visual art (see Visual Art). For example, a graphite pencil drawing is likely to exhibit some measure of unity (see Unity), given the lack of colour. By eliminating colour, the image is simpler than it potentially could have been if colour was introduced.
SMM | Social Media Marketing the use of SMMP’s and blogs in self-promotion.
SMMP | Social Media Management Platform (e,g. Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler, Twitter and Google+).
Solvent | A liquid that is used to dissolve a solid material. Thinners, turpentines, mineral spirits, xylenes, driers, varnishes (not usually used to break down solids), pen and airbrush cleaning fluids, glues, fixatives, chemicals for processing film negatives and photographs are common types of solvents used in the creation of artwork. In addition, inks and paint pigments contain limited amounts of solvents to inhibit premature drying. Conversely, solvents are sometimes applied to wet paint in open air, and in the presence of a chemical binder (e.g. linseed oil [see Linseed Oil]) in order to thin pigments and hasten drying (this is using such a substance more as a dilutent than a solvent) or affix graphite to supportive illustration stock.
Space | The area around, above, and within an object.
Spray Fixative | A liquid, similar to varnish, which is usually sprayed over a finished piece of artwork, usually a dry media artwork (see Artwork), to better preserve it and prevent smudging. Artwork media requiring fixative include drawings done in pencil (see Pencil), charcoal, and pastel. An artist will often fix layers of a work in progress, in order to easily add further layers. Such a technique requires a workable fixative as opposed to a final fixative which is used after all artwork is completed. Fixative is most commonly available in aerosol sprays.
Modern fixatives are usually alcohol based, and hydrocarbon (organic compound) propelled. Certain manufacturers produce fixatives that are specified for a certain media only, such as soft pastel fixatives. Modern fixatives are elevated in quality in terms of transparency, colourlessness, age-resistance and UV resistance, which prevents yellowing and fading caused by exposure to light.
Stone | A hard earthen substance that can form large rocks.
Sustainable | Prof. Dr. Frank-Martin Belz defines “sustainable” products as having:
- Customer satisfaction: any products or services that do not meet customer needs will not survive in the market in a long term.
- Dual focus: compared with purely environmental products, sustainable products focus both on ecological and social significance.
- Life-cycle orientation: a sustainable product is constantly environmental-friendly during its entire life. That is, from the moment the raw materials are extracted to the moment the final product is disposed of, there must be no permanent damage to the environment.
- Significant improvements: sustainable products have to contribute to dealing with socio-ecological problems on a global level, or provide measurable improvements in socio-ecological product performance.
- Continuous improvement: since the state of knowledge, technologies and societal expectation keep on developing, so sustainable products should also be continuously improved regarding social and environmental variation.
- Competing offers: sustainable products may still lag behind competing offers; therefore, the competing offers may serve as a benchmark regarding social and ecological performance.
e.g. Original art made partially or totally from recycled materials, images printed on tree-free and chlorine-free media without solvent inks on vinyl canvas that off gas toxic chemicals that are known respiratory toxins and neurotoxins, etc.
Sustainability may also be applied to art-making implements.
Symbolism | The use of objects or arrangements in visual art (see Visual Art) to represent an alternate meaning. Symbolism is fundamental to creating artwork beyond the elements (see Art Elements) and principles of art (see Art Principles).
Tear Sheet | A cover or page that is torn or sliced from a publication featuring the work of an artist (tear sheets are not exclusive to artists or the arts industry), that can be used by the artist as part of his or her portfolio or other means of self-promotion (e.g. online artist’s portfolio, website, blog, etc.). As tear sheets are often digitized or originally digital in the modern computer era for displaying online or other means of communication and advertising, they are sometimes referred to as electronic tear sheets or virtual tear sheets.
Technical Illustration | A genre of illustration used to visually and expressively communicate technical information of how something appears or functions, more often than not to a non-technical observer.
Tension | A balance (see Balance) maintained in an artistic work (such as a poem, painting, or musical composition) between opposing forces or elements; a controlled dramatic or dynamic quality. Wildlife artist Robert Bateman has frequently created tension by depicting animals near the edge of his paintings, and with their bodies and faces either pointing away from the center of the image or away from the viewer. In graphic design, it is common to create tension by positioning shapes, text or pictures asymmetrically. Often, artwork that is believed to contain tension deliberately makes viewers uncomfortable or question their own thinking by disregarding rules or preconceived notions about how art should be created. For example, some people grew up being falsely taught in schools that illustrating a scene with the horizon line deliberately placed on an angle instead of horizontally is improper. In actuality, artistic expression (see Artistic Expression) isn’t so restricted, and a tilted horizon is the best approach. Still, some of such people become highly critical of artwork that violate this long held belief.
Tessellation | The tiling of a plane using one or more geometric shapes or other images, called tiles, without overlapping and without gaps between the tiles.
Texture | The way an object feels to the touch or looks as it may feel if it were touched. Texture is one of the seven elements of art (see Art Elements).
Unity | The principle of art (see Art Principles) that gives an artwork a feeling of “oneness” by making the separate parts of a piece work together. Unity and harmony are similar, but unity is broader. There are numerous ways to create unity in art. Some of those ways are particular to an individual artist’s style. Different from the elements of art (see Art Elements), unity is an impression – a feeling the artwork conveys to the viewer. One can imagine a solitary shape and hold that shape in the mind. One cannot, however, simply imagine unity and hold that concept in the mind. We must evaluate unity by looking and analyzing. Therefore, developing unity in artworks requires the artist to pay attention to its development throughout the process of creating. Some proven methods that ensure a unified composition include simplicity, repetition and proximity.
Unusual | A way to create emphasis (see Emphasis) in a visual art (see Visual Art) composition (see Composition [visual art]) is to have an element (see Art Elements) stand-out because it is so different – a round object among angular shapes, a line of people with one facing the wrong way.
Urban Exploration | (often shortened as urbex, UE, bexing, urbexing and sometimes known as roof-and-tunnel hacking) The exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment. Landscape photography, fine art photography, editorial photography (especially fashion) and historical interest/documentation are heavily featured in the hobby and, although it may sometimes involve trespassing onto private property, this is not always the case. Urbex or urban exploration may also be referred to as draining (an alternate form of urbexing where drains are explored), urban spelunking, urban rock climbing, urban caving, or building hacking.
The nature of this activity presents various risks, including both physical danger and, if done illegally and/or without permission, the possibility of arrest and punishment. Some activities associated with urban exploration violate local or regional laws and certain broadly interpreted anti-terrorism laws or can be considered trespassing or invasion of privacy.
Value | The lightness or darkness of a colour. Value is one of the seven elements of art (see Art Elements).
Variety | The principle of art (see Art Principles) that adds interest to an artwork. Variety works through juxtaposition (see Juxtaposition) and contrast (see Contrast). when different visual elements (see Art Elements) are placed next to one another. Straight lines (see Line) next to curvy lines add variety. Organic shapes among geometric shapes add variety. Bright colors next to dull colors add variety (if an artist uses variety to draw the viewers’ attention to a specific area in a composition [see Composition (visual art)] then variety morphs into emphasis [see Emphasis], which is another principle of art [art principles often overlap]).
Visual Art | Art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, and often modern visual arts (photography, video, and film-making [new media art]) and architecture.
Visual Weight | The visual force that appears in artwork due to the contrast of light among the visual elements that compound it. The visual weight is a visual force which prevails in the image balance. Every element in a work of art exerts a visual force that attracts the eye of the viewer. The greater the force, the more the eye is attracted. These forces also appear to act on other elements, imparting a visual direction to their potential movement and suggesting where you should look next. Elements with the most visual weight have dominance (see Dominance).
Voice | An artistic style that is distinct and usually recognizable in the work of a specific artist as a result of the artist having unique life and creative experiences, inspirations, adhering to certain materials, techniques, themes and color palette, and using most or all of them together most or all of the time to create art — because of the impact of personal experiences, an artistic voice may change over time.
Waste Art Media | Unwanted or unusable art media that must be disposed of in an eco-friendly (see Eco-Friendly) manner.
Wastewater | Unwanted liquid generated by the production of art containing a mixture of water and various art media in virtually any chemical consistency that must be disposed of in an eco-friendly (see Eco-Friendly) manner.
White Space | In page layout, illustration and sculpture, white space is often referred to as negative space (see Negative Space). It is the portion of a page left unmarked: margins, gutters, and space between columns, lines of type, graphics, figures, or objects drawn or depicted. The term arises from graphic design practice, where printing processes generally use white paper. White space should not be considered merely “blank” space — it is an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all; the balance between positive (or non-white) and the use of negative spaces is key to aesthetic composition. Inexpert use of white space, however, can make a page appear incomplete.
Wild Art | Alternative art that is not to be confused with outsider art (see Outsider Art) that isn’t created within the mainstream art world, but features unconventional ideas through reasonably sophisticated artistic expression or even kitsch (see Kitsch) which isn’t created with considerable artistic conceptualization or skill. The genre is analogous to wild animals versus domesticated animals. Although spreading new ideas and ways of thinking and seeing like Avant Garde art (see Avant-Garde Art), wild art is neither a leader nor inspirer of social advancement or artistic innovation as Avant-Garde art has been. In spite of this lack of recognition by the art establishment, the border between wild art and fine art is nebulous; therefore, more accepted by the mainstream art world that outsider art.