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Art Guide

Abstract Art
Art which does not represent reality as we see it. Rather, it takes its inspiration from the real world but uses patterns for expression. For the onlooker, these patterns represent independent relationships with no reference to the original source of inspiration.

Acrylic paint
This paint uses a synthetic medium rather than a natural one. Artists commonly use this as a substitute for oil since it dries quickly.

Archival Reproduction
Comprise of digitally and photographically reproduced art prints. Each image is printed with archival inks on archival photo paper, art paper, or canvas.

Archival Inks
Are those inks that are light fast, water resistant, and are resin coated, thus giving a high quality result and longer life to the work when printed.

Etching involves the use of an acid for creating a design on a metal plate. The way it works is that with the help of a needle the design is scratched through a coating which resists acid. The metal beneath is exposed in these scratched parts. Such a plate is then immersed in an acid bath. The acid affects only these scratched parts creating the required designs. The depth of the lines is directly proportional to the duration of time for which the plate remains immersed in the acid. If a certain part of the design needs to be emphasized, the process can be repeated for those parts. The rest of the parts which are to be protected from the acid are coated with varnish.
This term also represents the designs created by employing the method stated above.

Figurative art/painting
An art form which is inspired by the visible world. It takes visible objects as its base and then distorts or changes them to convey its message. The human from is the most common base for these paintings


  • A place reserved for the display of paintings and other work of art.
  • A narrow passage attached to a large room with openings into it.
  • An exterior corridor, especially in churches and secular buildings which communicates with the open air through an arcade.

A brittle , hard and non-crystalline substance. It is made by fusing silica and an alkali such as potash or soda.

A type of painting using opaque watercolors. The filler used in this case is most often opaque white which gives a chalky look to the painting. The pigments are bound by gum.

The surface that has been especially prepared for the purpose of painting. The support on which a painting is made such as canvas or paper.

Landscape format/painting
This refers to the physical size of the painting where the width is greater than the height. It owes its name to the various representations of landscape which typically have such proportions.

A greasy material is used to make a drawing on a zinc plate or limestone block. The plate is then wet and a greasy ink is applied to it. The ink sticks only to the lines that have been drawn. A moist paper is applied to the plate and a special press is used to rub the paper all over to make a print or a lithograph.

During painting, the pigment that is being used to get the required color has to be suspended in some liquid. This liquid is called the medium. For example, an oil painting would mean when linseed oil is used as the medium Medium also refers to the substance used by an artist for giving expression to his art. Like, a sculptor uses stone as his medium of expression.

Mixed media

  • A 20th century art form in which different types of physical materials are combined together
  • An art which represents a combination of various media into one production akin to modern day multimedia.

Oil Paint
This represents a class of paints in which drying oils are used for binding together the pigments.


  • A flat tray on which an artist spreads out and mixes his colors while painting.
  • This term has also come to be used as an adjective for describing a particular artist's choice of colors.

It comes in a stick form and consists of dry pigment that is bound with gum.


  • It used to mean an artist's brush.
  • In the present day context, it represents a drawing or writing instrument made by encasing a stick of graphite in wood or metal.

Plaster of Paris
A kind of plaster that is popularly used for carving and making casts. It is made up of dehydrated gypsum and is mixed with water.

Portrait format/painting
This refers to the physical size of the painting where the height is greater than the width. The upper torso of the human form is the most common subject for these paintings.

It represents the various articles made of fired clay.

This represents an image of which many copies are present. The image is typically taken from a silk screen or a woodblock or the negative of a photograph.


  • The side-wise appearance of a person's face
  • The outline of a building or an object.


  • Art which aims at producing an exact replication of reality
  • It also represents a particular phase of art in 19th century France. During this phase, the French artists like Courbet chose to draw inspiration from what they saw and experienced in their immediate surroundings and expressed them as is without romanticizing their experience. The impact of photography was responsible for the advent of this art form.

Any three-dimensional work of art.

Seascape / marine painting
A type of painting which represents the sea and all that goes with it, ships included. Typical representations include depiction of a battle at sea or some such historical event. This form became a genre by itself in Holland during the 17th century.

A method of making print that has its base in stenciling. A screen made of silk is used for this purpose. The ink or paint that is to be used is brushed through this screen to obtain the design.

Tempera is a medium that is used for suspending the pigment. Traditionally, tempera is made by using eggs or egg yolk. But this is not a rigid rule. Other substances such as milk, glue, or sap of the fig tree are also used at times. The use of tempera was more popular among the 14th and 15th century Italian painters.

Tertiary color
A color that is obtained by mixing in any proportion two of the three secondary colors - orange, violet and green. Consequently, it contains a bit of each of the primary colors.


  • It represents the nature of the surface of a painting or sculpture.
  • This term is also applied to the quality of an artists work such as his brush strokes, etc.

This is used as a protective coating. It consists of a resin dissolved in a medium. It can also carry the pigment and hence act as a paint.

This is a transparent paint made using water-soluble elements. Water is used as the medium here and the pigment and binder, both of which are water-soluble are combined to obtain transparent paint.