Back to Back Issues Page
Painting Art Ezine: Test you knowledge with 40 art terms.
September 16, 2022
- Welcome to the Ezine!

The Lingo of Art Terms

Forty or more art terms used by painting artists.

Test your knowledge of the painting terms used by today’s artists.

Color Terms

We all learned the primary colors in grade school red, yellow and blue. All other colors are made up of some form of the three primaries.

Secondary colors, orange, green and violet are a combination of any two of the primaries.

Do you know how to get a tertiary color? Mix a primary with a secondary color on either side of the primary and the result is a tertiary color.

Complimentary colors are directly across the color wheel from each other.

A color hue is any group of similar colors. For example blue hues are all variations of blue.

Mix black with any color to get a shade of the color.

Mix white with a color to get its tint.

Adding grey to a color makes it a tone of the color.

Art Painting Materials

Archival materials meet certain standards that mean the material will stand up to the test of time.

All art paints are manufactured using the same color pigments, the particles that carry the color.

The difference between paints is what carries the pigments. Watercolor is mixed with gum Arabic, oil paint with linseed oil, acrylic paint is mixed acrylic resin and alkyds with alkyd resin.

Mixed media is two of more types of medium used in one artwork.

Encaustic painting is done with melted wax.

What we paint on is called a painting support made of paper, a panel or canvas.

When we get ready to paint, we lay out our paint on the surface of a palette, so we can mix the colors.

Gesso is a white pigment mixed with glue. It is used on canvas or panels to prepare them to receive paint. Commercial canvases for sale have already be prepared with gesso.

Solvents such as turpentine and mineral spirits are used in oil painting to thin the paint and clean brushes.

Frisket is a rubbery material used on watercolor paintings to protect the white areas of the painting.

Fixative is sprayed or brushed on the artwork to protect it.

Fugitive colors fade in the light.

Art Terms

Fine art is beautiful art, as opposed to functional art such as illustrations.

Composition is the arrangement of the elements in a painting.

The focal point is the main subject of the painting.

Value is the light and darkness of colors.

Medium is the type of painting material or a substance mixed into paint to thicken, thin or otherwise alter the paint.

Media is the plural of medium.

A sketch is a simple drawing without much detail.

The foreground is the part of the painting that looks the closest to the viewer.

The background looks the farthest away in a painting.

Painting Art Terms

Alla prima is painted in one session, generally referring to oil painting.

Plein air paintings are done outside on location.

Local color is the actual, natural color of a subject.

Underpainting is the first layer of painting. It is painted thin to establish the color and value of each area of the painting.

Impasto paint is applied heavy to create a lot of texture.

Glazing is a thin layer of transparent paint applied on top of a previous dry layer.

Grisaille paintings are underpainted with one color, normally grey. Then successive color glazes are applied to complete the painting.

Scumbling is done with a dry brush of paint. It is rubbed over a previous dry layer paint to alter its appearance without obscuring it.

A watercolor wash of diluted paint is applied over a large area.

A wet on wet wash is fresh paint applied a previously wet area.

Watercolor blossoms or back-runs occur where a layer of paint collects at the edge of the application.

Now you can use these art terms when you are talking to other artists.

What makes us paint?

Next month “More about our painting subjects"

Back to Back Issues Page