Art Glossary

  • -A-

  • Achromatic

    Artwork done without color, using only black, white and shades of gray.

  • Acrylic

    Thick, water-based paint that is stronger than tempera or watercolors; sometimes called a “plastic” paint.

  • -B-

  • Balance

    The arrangement within a work of art so that all of the elements appear symmetrical (even) or asymmetrical (uneven) in design and proportion.

  • Basic color principles

    Color is light; therefore, pigment that appears to be a certain color (e.g. blue) has absorbed all of the colored rays of white light except the color it shows (blue), which it reflects. White pigment does not absorb any colored rays; black absorbs all of the colors of the spectrum.

  • -C-

  • Canvas

    Fabric background that has been prepped for painting.

  • Ceramics

    Art that is made by shaping, finishing and firing clay in a kiln. Ceramic mediums include: earthenware, porcelain, sculpture, enamel. These mediums may be decorated with slip, engobe, or glaze, applied by a number of techniques, including resist, mishima, and sanggam.

  • Charcoal and Conte Crayon

    Soft, chalk-like crayons used to make very strong, dark lines that can be smudged to create different effects.

  • Chroma

    A measure of the intensity, strength or purity of a color. “Full chroma” is pigment that is undiluted with another color or medium.

  • Color

    Color is what the eye sees when light is reflected off of an object.

  • Complementary Colors

    Colors that appear opposite each other on the color wheel. Examples are: red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple.

  • Composition

    Arrangement of lines, colors and form in a piece of art.

  • Contour Drawing

    A drawing that shows only the outline, not the details or mass, of the subject.

  • Contrast

    The juxtaposition of two opposites, such as a light and dark shading or rough and smooth texture.

  • -D-

  • Distemper

    Painting technique using powdered colors mixed with glue, or another sticky binding agent such as egg yolk.

  • Dominance

    An element of a painting that stands out in relation to the rest of the work.

  • Dry Brushing

    Painting technique that uses more pigment than water.

  • -E-

  • Edition

    A group of identical prints that can be numbered and signed by the artist.

  • Elements of Art

    Basic visual symbols found in artwork, such as color, shape, line, form, space, point, light, motion, direction, scale, dimension, and texture.

  • -F-

  • Form

    The shape elements present in a work of art.

  • Fresco

    The most permanent form of wall decoration achieved by applying pigment directly to damp plaster.

  • -G-

  • Giclee

    See this link here to learn more about Slone's giclee's
  • Glaze

    Color that is applied in a thin, transparent sheen over a previously painted area to modify the original color.

  • Gouache

    A type of opaque watercolors and the corresponding painting technique using these colors combined with white to make tints. This gives the painting a light-reflecting quality that is different from the luminosity of transparent watercolors.

  • -H-

  • Highlight

    Areas of a painting or drawing where reflected light is the brightest.

  • Hue

    A description of color attributes, specifically, it’s name, i.e. red, blue, yellow etc.

  • -I-

  • Impasto

    Painting technique that uses heavy layers or strokes to create thick or rough brush marks that can be distinguished from a flat, smooth surface.

  • Impressionism

    Often considered the most important art movement of the 19th century. Impressionism is manipulating color, light, and surface texture to capture a fleeting moment on canvas.

  • Intensity

    The strength of a color’s brightness or dullness.

  • Intermediate colors

    Colors created by mixing adjoining primary and secondary colors.

  • -J-

  • No terms found
  • -K-

  • No terms found
  • -L-

  • Limited Edition

    Prints that have a known number of impressions, and are usually signed and numbered by the artist.

  • Line

    The horizontal, vertical, parallel, diagonal, angled or curved path of a point moving in space. It may vary in width, direction and length.

  • Lithograph

    A print made by inking a grease crayon drawing done on a smooth surface, then washed with water. When the ink is applied it sticks to the greasy lines of drawing but runs off the wet surface, allowing a print to be made of the drawing by applying light pressure. Separate drawings are made for each color in a color lithograph.

  • -M-

  • Medium

    Material used to create a work of art, such as clay, paint or pencil. Plural: media.

  • Monoprint

    Print technique that repeats the same underlying image, altered by different elements of design, color or texture.

  • Monotype

    A one-of-a-kind print made by painting on a smooth surface, then transferring the still-wet painting to paper by applying pressure.

  • -N-

  • No terms found
  • -O-

  • Oil Paint

    Slow drying emulsion of paint pigment suspended in oil, valued for its versatility, color trueness and easy manipulation.

  • Open Edition

    An unlimited number of prints

  • -P-

  • Pastel

    Soft, chalk-like colored crayon; a work of art produced by pastel crayons; the technique itself. Pastels vary according to the volume of chalk contained; the deepest in tone are pure pigment. Pastels are called paintings rather than drawings, for although no paint is used, the colors are applied in masses rather than in lines.

  • Perspective

    The representation of three-dimensional objects on a flat surface so as to create the same impression of distance and relative size as that perceived by the human eye.

  • Pigment

    The material used to create color on any medium.

  • Primary colors

    Red, yellow, blue. They represent the simplest color breakdown and stand for the three basic colors receptors in the human eye. Primary colors form the basis of the rest of the color spectrum.

  • -Q-

  • No terms found
  • -R-

  • Rhythm

    The use of repetition in particular forms or elements to suggest motion.

  • -S-

  • Secondary colors

    Orange, Violet, Green. Made by mixing the primary colors of red, yellow and blue; each color is halfway between the two primaries used to create it.

  • Shade

    Mixing a color with black to make the color darker. The opposite is tint.

  • Shape

    The form of a subject, i.e.square, circle, triangle, rectangle, oval, etc.

  • Spectrum

    All the colors that are visible when a beam of white light is broken by a prism and separated into all of its hues.

  • Symmetry

    Each side of the work is in balance with the other.

  • -T-

  • Tempera

    Binding agent for paint and pigment, such as oil, water or egg yolk

  • Tertiary colors

    Colors created by mixing the secondary colors of violet, orange and green.

  • Texture

    Tactile sense of a painting; used to show the “feel” of the subject.

  • Tint

    Mixing a color with white to make the color lighter. The opposite is shade.

  • -U-

  • No terms found
  • -V-

  • Value

    Measure of how light or dark a color is; shadows, darkness, contrasts and light are types of value.

  • -W-

  • Wash

    A highly fluid application of color used to create a broad, thin layer of diluted pigment or ink; used in watercolor painting, brush drawing, and occasionally oil painting. Also refers to a drawing made in this technique.

  • Watercolor

    A translucent, water-based paint that comes in cake or tube form.

  • -X-

  • No terms found
  • -Y-

  • No terms found
  • -Z-

  • No terms found

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