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Art Terminology

Abstract art
Style in which the subject is stated in a simplified manner with emphasis on design with little or no attempt to represent forms or subjects in a realistic way.

Abstract Expressionism
A style of non-geometric abstract art begun in the early half of the 20th century. Paintings were usually large and bold; among others, Willem DeKooning and Jackson Pollock are classified in this style.

Abstraction-Creation Group
Group of painters and sculptors who were dependent on geometric shapes and forms; Piet Mondrian was the principal figure.

Action Painting
Spontaneous images marked by drips, splashes, spatters and bold brushstrokes; represented by Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell and others. Directly associated with abstract expressionism.

Aging
The effect given to the canvas transfer that mimics an aged canvas, i.e., very slightly darkened as if having a thin film of dirt that an older original canvas may have, given the daily air pollutants it encounters during its lifetime. This effect can be used on a basic transfer or in combination with any other optional effects.

Alligatoring
See crackle.

Art Brut(French, art in the raw)
Art patterned after the naive art of children; Jean Dubuffet was the principal figure.

Art Deco
A geometric elegant style of decorative art popular in the 1920's and 1930's.

Art NouveauFrench, The New Art)
(Art movement popular in the late 19th and early 20th century in Europe and America; a very busy and intricately detailed decorative style with flowing lines and shapes; Louis Tiffany, Gustav Klimt and Aubrey Beardsley among others are associated with this movement but the origins are attributed to William Morris.

Avant-gardeFrench, vanguard)
(A term applied to art that is ahead of its time, innovative and experimental.

Barbizon School
French naturalist painters who gathered in the village of Barbizon in the mid-1880's seeking a fresh approach to nature by painting on-site; Theodore Rousseau, Charles Daubigny and Francois Millet among others were the principal members.

Baroque
A style of European art dating from the latter part of the sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. Centered in Rome with Bernini and Cortona as prime examples.

Basic Transfer
This is the canvas transfer without any additional effects.

Bauhaus
A German School of design founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius. Some of the artists involved were Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee.

Benday Dots
The pattern of dots used in printing to mechanically reproduce shading effects; named for its inventor, Benjamin Day (1838-1916).

Blau Reiter, der(German, the Blue Rider)
An avant-guarde group of early twentieth-century painters who had a significant influence on modern art; members were Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Paul Klee and August Macke among others.

Bohemian
Originally a native of Bohemia (Czechoslovakia), now considered a non-conforming person, indifferent to conventional lifestyle.

Brush Strokes
Textured strokes of clear artists' painting medium placed onto the canvas transfer by our artisans using various artists brushes. This effect shows up in the finished product looking like actual strokes of paint placed onto the canvas.

Buffered
A paper / matting having a slightly higher than neutral ph, typically used to counter the effect that an acid based work of art on paper would have upon itself, i.e., self destructing.

Canvas Transfer
The canvas transfer is a technique whereby an image is lifted or removed from the paper it was printed on, then placed onto artist-quality canvas through a special process. Sometimes texture is added to simulate brush strokes, and there are a number of other additions that can be made including aging and cracking. These prints are then framed like paintings on canvas without the need for any glass or other glazing.

Collage
The attaching of supplemental layers of images or objects to a primary substrate by gluing or otherwise permanently attaching them to the substrate. Continual attachment of pieces to the substrate develops the collage or visual mix of images contrasting sometimes in the material and more so the third dimension, giving the collage a life somewhat as that of the sculpture.

Colophon(Greek, finishing touch)
An inscription giving information about a publication or artist, usually placed at the end of a book or on the mat of the picture.

Colorist
A painter known for his/her mastery of color.

Contemporary Art
Art of our era.

Crackle
This gives the canvas transfer the look that many very old canvases ultimately acquire naturally, minute cracks running throughout the image but typically noticeable only upon close inspection by the viewer. Also called Alligatoring.

Craquelure
(French, crackle)

Cubism
An abstract art movement of the early 20th century, initiated by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, paintings represent volume in a two dimensional plane without resorting to the illusion of depth as is usual within the picture space. Cubism is displayed long before the 20th century as seen in the art forms of Africa, Alaska and Oceania. Picasso was fond of the African arts and it is accepted that he was influenced by these earlier displays of "cubism" and built upon them to develop his art form.

Dada
(French, hobby horse, a word picked at random from a dictionary) An antiestablishment art movement during World War I expressing outrage at the condition of the world at the time and cynicism and rebellion toward traditional art forms; Hans Arp, Man Ray, Max Ernst and Marcel Duchamp among others were members of the movement.

De Stijl
A Dutch art movement also known as neo-plasticism using rectangles and primary colors. The primary artist was Piet Mondrian.

Embellish
to add color with brushstrokes or other means to a print edition.

Encaustic Painting
a method of painting with hot wax mixed with pigment, extremely durable method of painting; some examples of encaustic painting still exist from the first century B. also called cerography.

Expressionism
the 20th century art movement that turned away from the representation of nature and to the expression of the emotional intensity; four runners were Vincent van Gogh and the Fauves; others such artists were James Ensor, Marc Chagall and Emil Nolde.

Fauves( French, wild beasts )
the first major aesthetic movement of the 20th-century, it was led by Henri Matisse in France in 1905 to 1906; the outstanding characteristic of the Fauves was their use of pure bright explosive color.

Fine Art
Artwork produced for the artists satisfaction rather than for direct commercial purposes; does not necessarily denote quality.

Frame/Framed/Framing
A frame is an outer border, usually made of wood, wood composite, resin or metal, which encloses and binds together a picture in its mat, often under glass. A particular style of frame is called a frame moulding. Wire for hanging the picture on the wall is attached to the stable material of the frame. Thus, the frame serves several important functions. It enhances the appearance of the artwork, provides a support for attaching it to the wall or other display surface, and also helps protect it, should it be dropped or should dust or other pollutants accumulate on the surface.

Genre Painting
A type of painting that portrays a phase of everyday life such as the interior of a room, a child at play or a person cooking.

Geometric Abstraction
The use of geometric shapes-lines, squares, triangles, rectangles, circles-to design a composition; Piet Mondrian is a leader of this style.

Gloss Finish
A slightly reflective finish similar to that on a varnished canvas original. A gloss finish can enhance color and provide enhanced detail of the warp and weft of the canvas substrate. This effect can be used on any transfer but is most often seen on "traditional subject matter" canvas images.

Hudson River Painters
The 19th Century group of American Romantic landscape artists who painted mainly in the Hudson River Valley and the Catskill Mountains, but some roamed as far west as the cerous; famous painters of the early group included Cole, Doughty and Durand among others. Other artists involved in this school were called luminous and included such artists as Church and Bierstadt.

Hygroscopic
capable of absorbing moisture from the air; said of paper that changes character in size with humidity.

Image Area/Image Size
There are many different things to measure when one speaks of picture dimensions. You can express the size of the picture in terms of how big it is when framed, the outer dimensions of the mat, or the size of the piece of paper on which the print is made. When we speak of image area or image size we are talking about only the picture area that contains the actual artist's image. See "United inches".

Impasto
The thick application of paint on a painting.

Impressionism
an art movement beginning in France in the 1870's, founded by an individualistic group of artists including, among others, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissarro. All concerned themselves mainly with the components of light and the immediate visual impression of the scene using unconnected colors that were to be mixed by the eye; bright colors and bold brush work were often used to achieve these impressions.

In sito(Latin, in position)
on the spot; said of the painting when painted on location.

Juxtaposition
In painting, the close placement of adjoining colors or forms; side by side.

L'Ecole de Paris (French, the school of Paris)
the term that implies "contemporary art". It started around 1900 when Paris was the world art center.

Matt Finish
A final finish without a significant amount of gloss or reflected light.

Matting
Decorative board used in framing that provides contrast between the image and the moulding. Acid-free matting has become very popular with most framers, as the edge of the mat will not yellow. The mat boards are generally made with cotton rather than wood, and are always used in conservation framing. These mats are more expensive, but protect your art.

Medium
Material used to create art such as pencil, pen, watercolor, oil color, gouache, pastel, alkoid, acrylic paint, wood, stone, and various found materials.

Modern Art
Generally indicative of the art of the 20th century that is not objective or abstract in nature.

New York School
A group of painters working in and around New York City after World War Two; most are associated with abstract expressionism; among them were De Kooning Rothko and Pollock.

Objective Art
The rendering of a subject as it appears; representational art.

Offset Lithograph
A photomechanical reproduction created by the separation of colors in the original, and then the recombining of those colors on a printing press. Most posters and open-edition prints, and many limited-edition prints, are offset lithographs.

Original
An authentic work of art conceived and produced solely by the artist; also in graphics a print from this stone, plate, or block is considered an original since the print is the only manifestation of such work.

Painterly
Appearing free in style or technique, with more use of a mass than of line; having the effect of spontaneous, expert paint application.

Photorealism
The effect of the picture painted to resemble a photograph or having the realism of a photograph.

Pinx(Latin, Pinxit, he painted it)
Credit given on a print after the name of the one who painted it; May also indicate he designed it.

Plein-air, en plein-air(French, open air)
Term applied since about 1850 to artists who paint scenes outdoors directly from observation.

Pointillism
A patent procedure in which docks of color are used to create colors and values by optical mixing; for example, red and yellow used side-by-side blend optically to create orange, when viewed from a distance; closely linked with impressionism; also called divisionism, simultaneous contrast, neo Impressionism, and chroma luminarism. Prominent artists included Seurat and Signac.

Pop Art
New realism movement of the 1950's utilizing as art such articles as soup cans, comic strips, and other mass-produced, found or ready-made objects; this so-called "Coke culture" rejects any distinction between good and bad taste; artists include Warhol, Rauschenberg and Liechtenstein.

Post-Impressionism
The term generally relating to the paintings of four artists, Cezanne, van Gogh, Gauguin, and Seurat from about 1875 to 1900; they accepted the impressionists' use of light with bright colors and conspicuous panhandling but rejected the casual composition used by the impressionists.

Primitive Art
Native cultural art as well as works produced by an artist who has not received or absorbed professional art training or has not been influenced by others' work.

Renaissance Art
14th 15th and 16th century art in Western Europe characterized by the revival of classical design and concern for humanistic values; artists included Michelangelo, Raphael, da Vinci, and many more.

Representational Art
Artwork that purports to represent what is seen; also called objective art.

Reproduction
A copy of an original work of art made by someone other than the artist, usually by mechanical means and most often for commercial use.

Retroussage
In printmaking, a method of leaving a trace of the ink on the surface of an intaglio plate; the process makes the value of the incised lines richer.

Sgraffito
Art form whereby the image is made by scratching through a layer to reveal a different color underneath; was used in Renaissance times on stucco and stained glass.

Still Life
inanimate objects such as flowers and fruit arranged as a model for composition to be painted, photographed, etc.; also, the finished work.

Stretcher Bars
The specially shaped wooden bars that support a work of art on canvas. These bars provide a minimum of wooden surface area actually touching the canvas due to their special shape. These stretcher bars are the very same ones used by artists stretching their original works on canvas.

Stretching
The process of mounting the canvas onto the stretcher bar assembly. Typically, this process uses staples. In the earliest days of stretched canvas, copper nails were used.

Subjective Art
originating within the artist, rather than reporting of what is seen.

Substrate
The paper, or other material, on which an image is printed or placed .

Suite
a group of original prints; usually related in subject matter, often used in portfolio form, with a colophon.

Suprematism
A Russian Movement, founded by Kazimir Malkovich about 1913, that was derived from cubism; encompassed nonobjective, geometric forms, using simple color combinations such as white on white or variations of black and white.

Surrealism
a movement in art that purports to be a way of life as well as a style; seeks to broaden reality by dealing with the subconscious, the result often taking on the form of fantasy, dreams, symbols, or the grotesque; prominent artists include Dali, Ernst and Miro.

Tachisme(French, tacher, to stain or blot)
An offshoot of abstract expressionism, closely associated with activism; and on planned pattern of splotches and dabs of paint, the emotional impact of which results from the outburst of the artist's spirit while working.

Tear Sheet
A published page showing and artist's illustrations, designs, photographs, or other artwork.

Trois Crayons, a: (French, with three crayons)
A drawing on toned paper, usually with black, red and white crayons or chalk.

United Inches
A simple art industry measurement that is the sum of the width plus the height. For example an image 24 inches wide by 36 inches high has a UI measure of 60 inches.

Vacuum Heat Press
The main tool used in the canvas transfer process. This press provides even heat and vacuum over a large area exceeding 3000 square inches of space. Temperatures during the canvas transfer process exceed 200 degrees F. / 80 degrees C.


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