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Art Vocab

David C. Siggelkov

A collection of art vocab used as review for my art students. Covers all of the basic art terms one student should know. Enjoy.

Artist A line which shows or describes the edges, ridges or outline of a shape or form
Collage In a scene or artwork, the part that seems closest to the viewer
Mixed Media A change in form, shape, detail or appearance that makes an object different from others
Contrast The common name of a color in relation to the color spectrum, such as yellow, red, blue. Also known as Hue
Firing The part of the artwork that is most powerful, important or has the most influence on the viewer
Linear Perspective A hollow shape used to make one or many copies of an object
Rhythm A principle of design that describes the arrangement of parts of an artwork
Score Ceramic that has been fired once without being glazed
Contour The process of adding heat to clay object in order to harden it permanently
Foreground A form of visual rhythm created in an artwork by repeating two or more different artistic elements, one beside or near the other
Primary Colors A system of drawing used to give a flat surface dimension and depth that uses vanishing points
Variety The plan, organization, or arrangement of elements in a work of art
Cartoon A process used to get air out bubbles out of clay
Medium In painting, a thin layer of transparent paint. In ceramics, a thin coating of minerals fused to clay by firing
Color Wheel One of three basic colors (red, yellow, blue) that cannot be made by mixing any other color
Bisque A type of visual balance in which the two sides of a composition are different yet balanced
Mold The material and technique used by and artist to create a work of art.
Wedging A term used in art for the actual measurements of length, width, and depth
Secondary Colors An area of an artwork that attracts the viewer’s attention
Charcoal The background of an artwork
Composition A thin liquid applied to a surface to help prevent smearing, flaking or fading
Balance A work of art created by gluing bits of paper, fabrics, scraps, photographs, or other materials to a flat surface
Freehand Any three-dimensional object
Space A color made by mixing two equal amounts of two primary colors
Modeling The process and the result of thinking carefully about art
Value A feeling that all parts of a design are working together as a team
Portfolio The common name of a color in or related to the color spectrum
Background An element of art that means the darkness or lightness of a surface
Focal Point Any coloring matter, usually a fine powder, mixed with a liquid or binder to make paint, ink, dyes or crayons
Figure A large difference between two things: for example, rough and smooth, yellow and purple, and light and shadow. Contrast usually adds excitement
Form A gradual, smooth change, as in from light to dark, from rough to smooth, or from one color to another
Alternating A type of visual or actual movement in an artwork
Slip Colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel When complements are mixed together they make a neutral brown or gray
Complementary Parts of the artwork that appear to be in the distance or behind the objects in the foreground
Ceramics A general term for any shape or form that we see as part separate from the background
Sculpture A curricular chart of colors of the visible color spectrum. It is commonly used to remember color relationships when working with pigments
Fixative A mark created by a point that moves across a surface
Dimension A line, shape or texture created by putting paint on a surface with a paint brush
Pigment Area in a work of art that catches the eye of the viewer
Kiln A sample of an artist’s work
Ground To create, form or design something by arranging separate parts to create a whole
Art Criticism A soft drawing material made from charred wood or vines
Design A person skilled in creating artwork
Color Clay combined with water or vinegar, to form a thick liquid. Slip is used on scored areas of clay to join pieces of clay together
Media The relation of one object to another
Unity A full-sized drawing used as a plan for a painting, especially for a mural. It can also be a funny drawing that tells a story
Glaze An oven similar to a furnace used to fire ceramics
Asymmetrical The result of an artist’s means of expression – the use of materials, design qualities, methods of work, and choice of subject matter
Dominant The art of making artwork with clay
Gradation A drawing done without tracing paper or drawing tools such as a ruler or compass
Hue The empty or open area between, around, above, below, or within objects
Line A temporary show or display of a group of artworks
Style Any artwork that is made with more than one medium
Proportion In clay work, artists score groves or make scratched into surfaces of clay that will be joined
Matte A sculpture technique in which a three-dimensional form is shaped in a soft material such as clay
Brushstrokes A work of art with three dimensions
Exhibit Plural of medium. The materials used by an artist and the special techniques that make their use expressive
Emphasis Having a dull texture. Opposite of glossy and shiny.

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