Visual Arts Vocabulary

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abstract

little or no attempt is made to represent images realistically, and objects are often simplified or distorted

acrylics

quick drying paint used with water

additive

the process of adding or joining parts and visual elements together to create a work of art

analogous

closely related colors

art criticism

an organised system for looking at the visual arts

assemblage

a three-dimensional composition in which a collection of objects is unified in a sculptural work

asymmetry

a balance of parts on opposite sides of a midline

background

the part of a picture that seems to be farthest from the viewer

balance

the way in which elements in visual arts are arranged to create a feeling of equilibrium in artwork

collage

an artistic composition made of various materials glued on a surface

colour

the visual sensation dependent on the reflection or absorption of light from a given surface

colour wheel

a diagram of the spectrum used to show the relationship between colors

complementary colours

colors opposite one another on the color wheel

composition

the overall placement and organization of elements in a work of art

content

the representations, messages, ideas, and/or feelings expressed in a work of art

contour line drawings

drawing that represents the edges and ridges of a form

contrast

differences between two or more elements in a composition

cool colors

colors suggesting coolness, like blues, greens, violets and their variants

design

the plan, conception, or organisation of a work of art

distortion

the condition of being twisted or altered from a usual or regular shape

dominance

an emphasis of one aspect, characteristic or quality in an image in relation to all others

elements

sensory components used to create and talks about works of art

emphasis

special attention or embellishment on an element, characteristic, or object in a work of art

expressive content

content expressive of ideas and moods in a work of art

foreground

part of a two-dimensional artwork that appears to be in the "front" of the image

focal point

the place in a work of art at which attention becomes focused because of an element emphasized in some way

form

the particular characteristics of an artwork's visual elements

function

purpose and use of a work of art

genre

the representation of people, subjects, and scenes from everyday life

gesture drawing

the drawing of lines quickly and loosely to show movement in a subject

harmony

the principle of design that creates unity within a work of art

hue

the gradation of a color that defines its general classification as a red, blue, yellow, green, or intermediate color

intensity

also called saturation; refers to the brightness of a color

line

a delineation or fracturing of space in color or black and white

linear perspective

a graphic system used to create the illusion of depth and volume on a flat surface

maquette

a preliminary model, usually small

media, medium

referring to materials used to make a work, or works of art

middle ground

area of a two-dimensional work of art between the foreground and background

mixed media

an artwork in which more than one type of art material is used

monochromatic

use of only one hue or color

mood

the state of mind or emotion communicated in a work of art, through color, composition, media, scale, size, etc

motif

a repeated pattern, often creating a sense of rhythm

movement

the principle of design that deals with the creation of action

multimedia

computer programs that involve users in the design and organisation of text, graphics, video, and sound in one presentation

negative space

shapes or spaces that are or represent the areas unoccupied by objects

neutral colors

black, white, grey, and variations of brown

nonobjective

having no recognizable object or subject

oils

oil-based pigment with paint thinner or turpentine

one-point perspective

a way to show 3-D objects on a 2-D surface

organic

refers to shapes or forms not of geometric shape

pattern

a design, image, or shape repeated in a predictable combination

perspective

a system for representing three-dimensional objects viewed in spatial recession on a two-dimensional surface

point of view

the angle from which a viewer sees the objects or scene in an image

portfolio

a systematic, organized collection of artwork

positive

shapes or spaces in an image that represent solid objects or forms

printmaking

the transference of an image from one surface (plate or block) to another using ink

primary colors

red, yellow, and blue

principles of design

a design concept describing the ways in which the elements of an image are arranged

properties of color

the characteristics of color that are perceived: hue, value, and intensity

proportion

the scale relationships of one part to the whole and of one part to another

reflection

personal and thoughtful consideration of an artwork

rhythm

repetitive visual elements that achieve a specific effect

scale

relative size, proportion

sculpture

three-dimensional artwork to be seen either in the round or as a bas relief

secondary colors

colors that are created by the mixture of red, yellow, and blue

shade

a color produced by the addition of black

shape

a two-dimensional area or plane that may be open or closed, free form or geometric

space

the area between, around, above, below, or contained within objects

still life

a specific type of visual artwork representing one or more inanimate objects

structure

the way parts are arranged or put together to form a whole

style

a set of characteristics of the art of a culture, a period, or school of art

subtractive

artistic method accomplished by removing or taking away from the original creative material

texture

the surface quality of materials, either actual or implied

theme

a subject or topic of discourse or of artistic representation

three-dimensional

having height, width, and depth

tint

a slight coloration

tone

color with gray added to it

two-dimensional

having height and width but not depth

two-point perspective

a visual system of representation designed to show 3-D objects on a 2-D surface

unity

a principle of design that connects a variety of elements of art and principles of design into a work of art with harmony and balance

value

lightness or darkness of a hue or neutral color

value scale

shows the range of values from black to white and light to dark

vanishing point

a point at which receding lines seem to converge

variety

a principle of art concerned with combining one or more elements of art in different ways to create interest

visual metaphor

images in which characteristics of objects are likened to one another and presented as that other

volume

describes the space within a form, such as that of a container or building

warm colors

colors suggesting warmth, like reds, yellows, and oranges

watercolor

a transparent pigment used with water

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