General Art Vocabulary 

Here you can find some general art vocabulary that I use often in the podcasts. You can also try the glossary of terms by MOMA (Museum of Modern Art in New York). For specific vocabulary in each podcast, you can find the lists here.

If you're looking for ways to describe art try the website 'words to use'. 

Abstract

This term is given to forms of art created by an artist that often does not look real or like the original object.

Asymmetrical

A form of balance achieved when the visual parts of the piece on either side of a vertical axis are not identical. For example, our faces are asymmetrical because they are not exactly the same on either side of the face. 

Artwork 

A piece created by an artist. 

Balance

A feeling of equality of the various visual elements within the pictorial field as a means of accomplishing organic unity. For example, using an equal amount of black and white in the picture creates balance.

 

Calligraphy

The use of flowing lines found in handwriting which means literally - “beautiful writing.”

Colours and the Colour Wheel 

A colour wheel or colour circle is an illustrative diagram showing how colour hues around a circle, which shows the relationships between primary colours, secondary colours, tertiary colours etc.

Primary colours - blue, yellow, red 

Secondary colours - orange, purple, green 

Tertiary colours - are combinations of primary and secondary colours. There are six tertiary colours; red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, and red-purple.

Warm colours - red, orange and yellow, usually associated with sun or fire.

Cool colours Blue, green, violet or blue-green are associated with air, sky and water.

Complementary colours

Two colours which are directly opposite each other on the colour wheel.

Red-Green

Yellow-Purple

Orange-Blue

Composition

The organisation or arrangement of all the visual elements in a work of art. 

Decorative

The quality that emphasizes the two-dimensional nature of any of the visual elements. Decoration enriches a surface without denying the essential flatness of its nature.

Impressionism

A style of painting where the artists use visible brush strokes to depict (represent/portray) an image. 

 

Exhibition  

A public display of works of art or items of interest, held in an art gallery, museum or a public space. 

Elements of art 

The combination of the basic elements of line, shape, value, texture, space, and colour represent the visual language of the artist.

Form

Form is the organisation (design) of all elements that make up the work of art. The elements of form are: lines, shapes, values (varied lights and darks), textures, and colours. 

Photography

A style of art where the artist takes photos. Photography can refer to the whole process of taking the photo, editing, printing or displaying them.  

Pointillism

A style of art in which the artists uses dots to represent dark or light. 

Realism

A form of expression which retains the basic impression of a visual reality but, also attempts to interpret the meanings which lie underneath the surface of the natural forms. For example, realistic paintings sometimes try to capture emotion in a certain way. 

Repetition

The use of the same visual element a number of times in the same composition.

Media/Medium

The materials and tools used by the artist to create a work of art.

Subject 

This term, in a descriptive style of art, refers to the persons or things represented in a piece of work.

Street Art /Urban Art 

A style of art that is traditionally painted in the streets. 

Style

The specific artistic character and dominant form trends noted in art movements. It may also mean the artist’s expressive use of media to give an individual character to his work.

Symmetrical

A form of balance achieved by the use of identical balance on either side of a vertical axis within the picture plane. For example, when you fold a piece of paper exactly in half, both sides should be symmetrical. 

Technique

The way and skill in which the artist uses tools and materials to achieve something. 

Texture

The actual or the illusion of tactile value on the surface of an area as created by nature or by an artist. For example, you can represent a sand texture by drawing dots. 

Urban Sketching 

A type of art where you draw from observation either inside or outside.

Vanishing Point

The point(s) on a horizon line at which apparent parallel lines will converge.

 

Workshop  

a meeting at which a group of people are involved in a discussion and activity on a particular subject or project.

 

 

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