Art Vocabulary

Homemade Carbon Paper.....This is my own personal coined term. But, it is a great skill for students. If you color the back of a sketch you want to copy with a soft leaded pencil, it is easy to trace the object onto final art paper. By tracing on the top of the sketch, the soft lead is transferred to the final paper.

Horizon.....the baseline where the earth and the sky meet.

Hue.....the name of the color. Red, Yellow and Blue are hues.

Illuminated Manuscript .....a written document where the text is enhanced with additional decoration. Illuminate comes from the Latin word "illuminare" that means to adorn. The Latin word for hand was "manus" and writing was "scriptum".

Impressionism.....a style of art developed in France in the 1870's by Monet, Renoir, Pissarro and Sisley. Paintings were rendered quickly to capture the light of the moment.

Intensity.....the brightness or dullness of a color

Intermediate Colors .....Intermediate means "in the middle" or " in between". Intermediate Colors on the Color Wheel are "in between" like red-orange, blue-green and violet-blue. To help students remember this, I stress the first two letters, IN.

Line.....the basic foundation of art. Lines are used to draw the world around us.

Media.....the materials used to create a piece of art

Tooling .....a decorative work done with tools. Okay, I know you aren't supposed to use "tool" in a definition of "tooling". But, it's the only way to write this definition.

Modified Contour Drawings.....a drawing practice where students focus on looking at the shape (contour) of an object. However, unlike Blind Contour Drawings, students can look at their artwork every ten seconds. So, the key to a good drawing is to draw slowly.

Monochromatic Colors.....Mono means one and Chromatic means color. So, you're talking about art that has lights, mediums and darks of one color. A good example is Picasso's The Old Guitar Player.

Monotony.....Just as with monochromatic, Mono means one. In the case of monotony, it is one thing over and over and over and over. The one word definition is boring.

Mosaic.....a design made by setting smalled colored pieces onto a surface. Some people use stones, tiles, egg shells but in my class we use recycled paper.

Negative Space.....the space around an object in a picture

Opaque.....impenetrable by light. I use this when talking about paint. Acrylic paint is opaque while water colors are usually more transparent. So, if you have a pencil sketch, the acrylic paint should hide the lines but water colors shouldn't.

Overlapping.....placing one object on top of another. This adds perspective to a piece of art. The object on top appears closer than the object on the bottom.

Pattern.....rhythm in art. (See rhythm below.)

Perspective.....a technique of art to draw three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface.

Pointillism.....a style of art developed by the French artist Seurat in the late 1800's. Objects were painted with small dots. Seurat preferred to call the movement Divisionism.

Positive Space.....the actual object in a picture

Primary Colors .....the first three colors of the color wheel. Red, Yellow and Blue are used to create all the other colors on the color wheel.

Principles of Art.....the way an artist uses the Elements of Art. They include Radiation, Symmetry, Variety, Harmony, Emphasis, Domination/Subordination, and Unity.

Radiation.....lines, shapes, or colors emanating from a central core like rays of the sun

Realism.....a style of art lead by the French artist Courbet in the 1800's. Instead of showing an idealized version of life, as was expected, he depicted life as it really was. He painted every day people doing every day things.

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Copyright 2000, revised 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.