assemblage
A 3-D work constructed from or including objects and materials not typically associated with sculpture which are adhered together onto a surface.
asymmetrical
The description of a form or composition that displays a varied arrangement of parts around either side of a central axis.
background
The part of a picture or scene that appears to be farthest away from the viewer, usually nearest the horizon.
balance
The visual impression of order in a composition.
brayer
An inking roller that is used in various forms of printmaking. It is usually made of plastic or rubber and set in a metal frame attached to a wooden handle.
carving
The process of shaping a mass of solid material by breaking down the surface and using tools to cut away sections of the material.
casting
The process of making a 3-D object within a mold, usually to reproduce the form of an original sculpture.
charcoal
A drawing medium made by charring fine sticks of wood under intense heat.
coiling
A technique of building a hollow form from long, narrow rolls of clay. The rolls are laid on one another to form clay walls. Usually a pottery hand-building technique.
collage
The technique of creating an image or design by adhering various materials to a flat support. Materials might include paper, card, fabric, and string.
color wheel
A diagram arranged to show the relationships of primary colors and secondary colors.
complementary colors
A pair of colors that may be described as opposite and mutually enhancing. The complementary pairs are red and green; blue and orange; and yellow and violet.
composition
The organization of different elements within the overall structure of a work of art.
contour lines
Lines that surround and define the edges of a mass, figure, or object, giving it shape and volume.
contrast
Used to create emphasis, contrast refers to the arrangement of opposite elements (i.e. light vs. dark, rough vs. smooth and small vs. large).
cool colors
Any colors in the range of blue, blue-green, and blue-violet hues.
critique
A critical review or discussion of artwork or literature.
cubist
A view of art in which objects are broken up and seen from different angles.
emphasis
Any forcefulness that gives importance or dominance (weight) to some feature or features of an artwork.
essentialist
A view of art that claims any specific entity has a set of characteristics that all entities of that kind must possess.
etching
A printing process in which a design or image is scored into a metal or acrylic plate.
expressionist
A view of art that values emotional experience over physical reality.
fiber art
Artworks using materials such as thread, yarn, or fabric.
foreground
The area of a picture or field of vision, often at the bottom, that appears to be closest to the viewer.
formal elements
The basic units and the means artists use to create and design works of art. Some formal elements include point, line, shape, space, color, and texture.
formalist
A view of art that emphasizes form, or structural qualities, over content or context.
free-standing
The description of a sculpture that can be viewed from all sides.
geometric shape
Shape that has a mathematic design, composed of straight lines or shapes from geometry, including circles, ovals, rectangles, and cubes.
gestalt
A physical, psychological, or symbolic arrangement or pattern of parts so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts.
instrumentalist
The view that art should lead to social good.
medium
The material or technical method that an artist works with.
modeling
The process of making a sculpture by shaping a form in a malleable material.
monochromatic colors
All the colors (tints, tones, and shades) of a single hue.
monoprint
Any single, unique image taken by impressing one surface on another that has been treated with ink, paint, or dye.
moralist
The view that art should reveal important ethical messages.
mural
A large painting applied to a wall or ceiling.
naturalistic composition
A work that shows the realistic representation of objects, figures, and natural forms as they actually appear, without symbolic or theoretical interpretation.
negative space
The space around and between the subject(s) of an image.
neutral colors
Any of a range of mixed grays and beiges that have no distinctive tendency toward a particular hue. Black and white can also be described as neutral colors.
oil pastel
A drawing medium consisting of pigment mixed with an oil and compressed into stick form.
opaque
Often refers to a color that is not transparent or translucent; impenetrable by light.
optical illusion
A visual effect characterized by visually perceived images that differ from objective reality.
organic shape
Free-form shapes that are usually flowing and curvy, as opposed to geometric.
papier mâché
A material used for making small sculptures and ornamental objects, basically consisting of shredded paper soaked in a liquid glue or paste.
pastel
A stick of color made from powder- or oil-based pigments, used for drawing.
perspective
The illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface.
pinch pot
A ceramic pot formed by hand.
positive space
The space occupied by the main subjects of the work.
primary colors
The colors red, blue, and yellow, which cannot themselves be mixed from other colors but can be used to mix all other hues.
proportion
The dimensions and scale of various parts or components of an image or object in relation to each other and to the thing as a whole.
representational
The description of an image or motif that is a realistic or recognizable depiction of the physical appearance of its subject.
scale
The actual measurement of an image or object.
scoring and slip
A method used to join pieces of clay together with a creamy mixture of clay and water.
secondary colors
The three colors made by mixing pairs of primary colors in equal proportions. The secondary colors are orange, green, and violet.
shade
The mixture of a color with black, which reduces lightness.
stencil
A template used to draw or paint identical letters, numbers, symbols, shapes, or patterns every time it is used.
still-life composition
A painting or other representation of a group of inanimate objects.
symbolist
A type of art that uses symbols to represent ideas and emotions.
symmetrical
The description of a form or composition that displays a balanced arrangement of similar components around a central axis.
tempera
A water-based paint.
tertiary colors
Color produced by mixing two secondary colors.
thumbnails
Reduced-size versions of pictures.
tint
The mixture of a color with white, which increases lightness.
tones
The gray quality of a color produced by adding its complement.
translucent
Permits light to pass through but diffuses it so that people and objects on the opposite side are not clearly visible.
transparent
Permits light to pass through and sheer enough that people and objects on the opposite side can be seen clearly.
value
An element in art that refers to lightness or darkness of a color.
visual rhythm
Regular repetition of elements of art to produce the look and feel of movement.
warm colors
Any colors included in the range of red, red-orange, orange, or orange-yellow hues.
watercolor
Paint consisting of finely ground pigments that are mixed with water.
wax-resist
A method of combining drawing and painting in an image using wax to draw on paper, then coating the drawing with watercolor paint, which is repelled by the wax.