Aboriginal art -- Art created by indigenous people of a geographical area that is not influenced by any other cultural group or outside people.
abstract--Art that looks
as if it contains little or no recognizable or realistic forms from the
physical world. Focus on formal elements such as colors, lines, or shapes.
Artists often "abstract" objects by changing, simplifying, or
exaggerating what they see.
acrylic--A synthetic plastic resin used as a binder for paint.
aerial view -- Viewing a subject from above, looking downward.
aesthetic--Relating to standards of beauty and art.
aesthetics--The philosophical study that explores questions about "what is art?" or "what is beauty?"
allegory -- A work of art created to represent something else but disguised by use of symbols and symbolic ideas.
analogous colors -- Any set of three or five adjacent or neighboring colors of the color wheel. An example of such a set would include blue, blue-green, green - or- blue, blue-green, green, yellow-green, yellow. Because each set of colors shares similar colors, there is a harmony to analogous colors.
analysis-- The second stage in the art critiquing process focusing on identifying how an artist uses the elements of art and principles of design.
appliqué--A sewing technique in which a piece of fabric or textile decoration is attached to a larger piece of material.
armature-- In sculpture, a skeleton-like framework to support material being modeled
assemblage--A three-dimensional collage created from a group of everyday objects, many times pre-made and put together in a specific way.
background-- In a painting or drawing, the area that seem most distant, as if in the back of the picture. Often this is referred to as negative space.
balance--An equal arrangements of specific elements within a composition deliberately organized by the artist. Elements could include color, line, shape, or texture etc. for example.
batik--A fabric dyeing technique in which the pattern is first drawn with melted beeswax onto the cloth with a metal tool. The cloth is immersed in dye. The areas covered by the wax are not affected by the dye, creating a pattern that can be seen when the wax is removed by boiling the cloth or ironing the wax so it melts from the cloth. Wax and dye applications may be repeated for color variation.
book of hours --A beautifully illustrated prayer book common in Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Some of the finest examples are from the middle ages. Often these books were decorated with gold and silver leaf, hence the name "Illuminated".
calligraphy --Elegant, decorative writing, developed to an artform itself, used to enhance the artistic appeal and visual beauty of handwritten papers and manuscripts.
canvas--A cotton-like cloth stretched over a wooden frame. Usually primed with gesso, the fabric surface is ideal for painting with oils and acrylics.
ceramics-- The art of making objects such as pottery out of clay. This term is used to decribe these objects as well.
charcoal -- Compressed, burned wood used for drawing.
chiaroscuro-- In drawing or painting, the treatment and use of light and dark, especially the strong contrasting of light and shade to produce the effect of modeling.
collaboration--To work together in an artistic undertaking.
collage--From the French word "coller" which means "to paste". A collage is any artistic composition made by gluing assorted materials to a flat surface.
color-- The element of art that is derived from reflected light.
color wheel --The spectrum of colors studied as a circular wheel, with the colors arranged in a predetermined order.
complementary colors--Colors which appear opposite one another on a color wheel. When placed next to one another, complementary colors are intensified and often appear to vibrate. When mixed, brown or gray is created.
composition--In the visual arts, the structure or organization of a work.
conceptual art--Art that focuses on the idea expressed and the process of creating the work.
contour --A visible border of a shape or figure. An outline that creates the illusion of mass and volume in space.
contrast--The amount of darkness or brightness between colors.
cool colors --On one half of the color wheel are the cool colors, from yellow-green to violet. Psychologically, cool colors are calming.
criticism--The process of describing, analyzing, interpreting, and judging works of art.
Cubism--An art movement which came
into being c. 1909, led by Picasso and Braque. It was an attempt to
capture , on a flat, two-dimensional surface, all aspects, points of view,
and angles of what the artist
sees in three dimensions.
culture-- Culture is the values, customs, language, history, and traditions of a group of people.
Dada--An art movement which often tried to shock the public into realizing the destruction and inhumanity so apparent during WWI.
diagonal - Any straight edge or line that is not parallel to the horizon line and is not truly vertical.
digital camera - A camera that captures an image digitally, without the use of film.
dimensions - A means of measuring the amount of space an object occupies. Usually these are measured in height, width and depth.
replicated scene in which figures, stuffed wildlife, or other objects
are arranged in a thematic setting against a painted or decorated background.
diptych - A two paneled art structure (often a religious painting) joined at the center like a screen.
distort - To deliberately exaggerate or manipulate an image to the extreme. This is often done to draw attention to a feeling or mood of the work of art.
dominant - An area, element of art or principle of design that is a main focal point in a work of art.
drawing-- Representing an image on a surface by means of adding lines and shades, as with a pencil, crayon, pen, chalk, pastels, etc.
dry brush - Lightly touching the
surface with a brush coated in ink, paint or other medium.