Oil Painting Vocab and Elements and Principles of Design

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Balance
Establishes as sense of equilibrium. Symmetrical balance, or formal balance, features identical design elements on each side of the work . Asymmetrical, or informal, balance produces a felt symmetry between parts of the design (for example a big purple circle balanced by three small yellow ones)
Binder
The substance in a paint which holds together (binds) the pigment and makes the paint adhere to the support. A drying oil, such as linseed, is a binder for oil paint.
Blending
The process of mixing adjacent colors to eliminate abrupt divisions and create a smooth gradation from one color to the next. BECAUSE OF THEIR SLOW DRYING TIME, OIL PAINTS ARE IDEAL FOR BLENDING COLORS.
Contrast
Opposite of harmony, used to emphasize part of the design area.
Dominance
The importance of certain design elements over others - may relate to any of the design elements.
Fat
A term used to describe the high oil content in paints and mediums.
Fat over Lean
The principle to follow if you wish our oil paintings to last and not crack. 'Fat' oil paint is paint straight from the tube. Mixing oil paint with an oil makes it even 'fatter.' 'Lean' oil paint is paint mixed with more turpentine than oil. 'Lean' oil paints dries faster than 'fat' oil paint . A layer in an oil painting should therefore not be 'leaner' than the previous layer. If 'lean' is painted over'fat,' it will dry first, making that layer of paint vulnerable to contraction and cracking when the 'fat' layer dries. Hence the principle in oil painting of working 'fat-over-lean'. Note that fat paint does not equate to or mean thick paint. If you thin paint with oil to a very dilute state, it would still count as fat paint compared to paint thinned with turpentine.
Gesso
A plaster-like material spread upon a surface to prepare it for painting, Originally used in fresco painting, gesso referred to various mixtures of coarse and smooth plasters that were applied in layers in preparation for painting. Later, gesso (or gypsum) was added to rabbit skin glue to create gesso sotile (soft) for panel painting. Today, the gesso most artists use is a blend of polymer emulsion and white chalk and is used for both oil and acrylic painting on either panels or canvasses.
Glaze
Transparent painting over a light under-painting. The term used for a thin, transparent layer of paint. Glazes are used on top of one another to build up depth and modify colors in a painting. A glaze must be completely dry before another is applied on top. Glazing - is the process of layering thin transparencies of the painting. In oil painting, most glazes are made from a combination of oil, damar varnish, solvent, and small amount of paint.
Ground
A base coating of paint with that establishes a color scheme and/or a mid-tone value for a painting.
Harmony
A feeling of similarity between the elements involved. There may be harmony involving any of the elements of structure - line, color, value, structure, shape.
Impasto
A style of painting characterized by thick, textured paint application.
Lean
A term used to describe the low oil content in paints and mediums. thinning with solvent results in a lower oil content.
Matte
A dull surface.
Medium (material)
type of material in which a piece of art is expressed - oil, water color, pen and ink, and so on are media. Also refers to the binder for the pigments, the vehicle.
Linseed Oil
The primary (medium) binding agent in oil painting and printing inks, made by pressing the seeds of the flax plant. Linseed is the most popular due to its flexibility and resistance to cracking. It does have a strong tendency to yellow with age, however.
Medium (liquid)
The liquid in which pigments are suspended. Also a material by the artist for working. Plural is media.
Motif
The theme or source.
Movement
Directs the viewers attention to certain parts of the design are. Rhythm, value, perspective, vertical and horizontal lines, and repetition of shape or color or line can be used to create movement.
Pigment
Refers to color or hue. Pigment is the substance or powder that makes up the color of a paint. Pigments are either organic (carbon based) or inorganic (mineral based) and are the particles with inherent color that can be mixed with adhesive binders to form paint.
Palette
A rectangular or oval-shaped flat surface used for mixing colors. Also refers to the selection of colors used by an artist.
Prime
To make ready. The preparatory coating. white acrylic-based gesso is often used to prime a support.
Saturation
The greatest possible intensity of the color.
Scumbling
Dragging paint in a broken manner over a previously painted dry surface. A painting technique where a thin or broken layer of color is brushed over another so that patches of the color beneath show through. it can be cone with a dry brush, or by removing bits of paint with a cloth.
Solvents
Solvents are added to oil paints to temporarily change the way they work and are designed to evaporate evenly and totally as the oil paint dries. (Technically, the more correct term is diluents, as not all are solvents, but it's not the term commonly used.) Solvents are also used to dissolve resins, making mediums, CLEANING UP, AND FOR CLEANING AND CONDITIONING. Common solvents are turpentine, mineral spirits, citrus oil based.
Study
A comprehensive drawing or painting. Also refers to a detail that can be incorporated into a finished painting.
Stretcher
The wooden frame on which canvas or paper is stretched.
Tacky
Sticky, partly dried.
Turpenoid
A lower-odor turpentine-substitute, used to thin oil paint
Underpainting
A monochromatic sketch put down on the canvas first, as an infrastructure, which will e completely covered up by the painting. The initial stage or first layer of an oil painting commonly executed using a monochrome or dead color as a base for the composition also known as laying in.
Varnish
A final layer that can be applied over a finished painting. A varnish protects a painting from environmental dirt and dust and is removable for cleaning and conservation purposes.
Yellowing
This effect on oil paintings is usually caused by one of three reasons: excessive use of linseed oil medium; applying any of the varnishes that are prone to yellow with age; or most often - an accumulation of dirt embedded into the varnish.
Wash
The application of color in a thin, fluid manner. Also refers to diluted pigment.
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