Visual Arts Vocabulary

88 terms by mbush78

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


quick drying paint used with water


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


closely related colors

art criticism

an organised system for looking at the visual arts


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


a balance of parts on opposite sides of a midline


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


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


an artistic composition made of various materials glued on a surface


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


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


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


differences between two or more elements in a composition

cool colors

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


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


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


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


sensory components used to create and talks about works of art


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


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


the particular characteristics of an artwork's visual elements


purpose and use of a work of art


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


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


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


also called saturation; refers to the brightness of a color


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


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


use of only one hue or color


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


a repeated pattern, often creating a sense of rhythm


the principle of design that deals with the creation of action


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


having no recognizable object or subject


oil-based pigment with paint thinner or turpentine

one-point perspective

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


refers to shapes or forms not of geometric shape


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


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


a systematic, organized collection of artwork


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


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


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


personal and thoughtful consideration of an artwork


repetitive visual elements that achieve a specific effect


relative size, proportion


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


a color produced by the addition of black


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


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

still life

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


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


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


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


the surface quality of materials, either actual or implied


a subject or topic of discourse or of artistic representation


having height, width, and depth


a slight coloration


color with gray added to it


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


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


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


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


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

warm colors

colors suggesting warmth, like reds, yellows, and oranges


a transparent pigment used with water

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