Do You Know What We Mean?

Art lingo for you to understand.
Art terms can be confusing even to the most experienced professional. Here is a glossary of terms to help you better understand the language of art.
  • Acrylic: A painting medium created by dispersing an acrylic pigment in an acrylic emulsion. Dries quickly into a permanent tough surface.

  • Artist Proof: These prints are part of an edition reserved
    for the artist. The symbol A/P or a similar marking is used to differentiate it from the standard numbered run.

  • Edition: Images created from the original master work.
    Editions can be open or limited. Open additions are usually
    not numbered and the number printed can be infinite. Limited editions are typically predetermined runs with a maximum
    number of prints.

  • Etching: A print made from an etched metal plate or glass.
    The metal is often scratched or acid is often used to create the surface design to which inks are applied. The plate is then
    pressed onto a dampened paper surface. Etching are usually limited in their addition.

  • Gesso: A white, absorbent ground used for priming painting

  • Limited Edition: An edition that has a maximum number
    of prints determined prior to printing. The prints are numbered
    in succession. Example: 25/100 refers to the print number 25
    out of an edition of 100.

  • Lithograph: Printed artwork created with an ink base either water-repellant or oil base. The ink is applied to an image
    plate and pressed onto paper. Each color has a separate
    plate associated with it. Printed artwork created with a ink base
    either water-repellant or oil base. The ink is applied to an image plate and pressed onto paper. Each color has a separate plate
    associated with it.

  • Medium: The choice of expression used by an artist. For example: etching, painting, sculpture, etc. It also refers to the
    actual material used, such as acrylic, oil, photography, etc.

  • Monotype: A one of a kind print created by various means
    of media.

  • Offset Lithograph: Typically created in a commercial environment, these prints are created in great volume of a
    thousand or more.

  • Pastel: Pure pigments ground into a paste with a dash of gum
    binder, which is then rolled and dried into stick form. Pastels are
    not chalk, and will not fade, yellow, crack or blister with time or
    exposure to light.

  • Raku: Originating in Japan, Raku is the process of special
    glazing and firing of clay in an atmosphere that encourages
    the spontaneous cracks, crackles and color variations unique
    to each piece created. Materials within the kiln ignite to create
    the flash and crackle effects deeply sought after by the artist.
    Raku clay and glazes are porous and fragile and are not
    meant for food preparation.

  • S/N: Stands for signed and numbered. Mostly used in
    printmaking or photography.

  • Serigraph: Prints are created by pressing inks through
    a finely woven screen, one color at a time. Each color is built
    up on the previous, many times achieving the exact color
    desired. Typically each color has its own screen.

  • Value: The tone of a color ranging from white to black.
    The artistic term for brightness.

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