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Glossary of Art Terms
Welcome to USBlackart.Com Glossary of common Art Terms. Here we hope to give you a brief definition of various art terms which might be unfamiliar to you. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas please e-mail us.
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Sable Brush: -an artist's brush made of sable hairs. Return to top
Sand Art: - Works of art created by using sand, usually colored and it can be pasted, or sifted in transparent containers to form designs. Return to top
Sans Serif: in typography, a typeface, such as Helvetica, that does not have a serif (crossline) decorating the main strokes of the characters. Sans is French for "without'' Sculptor: an artist who creates sculptures. Return to top
Sculpture: -any three-dimensional form created as an artistic expression. Sculpture is primarily concerned with space: occupying it, relating to it, and influencing the perception of it. Return to top
Sculpture Art: -Art work depicting three-dimensional images of form created in an artistic expression. Return to top
Scumbling:- Dragging a dense or opaque color across another color creating a rough texture. Return to top
Seicento - Italian for 600, it refers to the 1600s-- the seventeenth century. Especially used to refer to Italian art of that century, the time of the Baroque period Return to top


Secondary colors:- Colors obtained by mixing two primary colors: green, violet, and orange. Green, Purple, and Orange. These three colors are derived from mixing equal amounts of two of the three primary colors Return to top
Self Portrait: - A self-portrait is a portrait where the artist is also the subject. Usually it is in the form of a painting, drawing, or similar graphic image; however, self-portraits occur in other media such as sculpture, photography, cinema, literature, etc. Return to top

Sfumato :- In painting, the technique of blurring or softening sharp outlines by subtle and gradual blending of one tone into another. Leaving a smoke like haziness. Return to top

Sketch: -A rough or loose visualization of a subject or composition. Return to top
Staining Colors: -Colors that cannot be fully removed from your paper. Staining colors permeate the fiber of the paper and leave a permanent tint. Check your hands after painting, the hardest colors to wash off are usually the staining colors. Return to top

Still Life:- Any work whose subject matter is inanimate objects. Return to top
Study:- A comprehensive drawing of a subject or details of a subject that can be used for reference while painting. Return to top
Support: -The surface on which a painting is made: canvas, paper, wood, parchment, metal, etc. Return to top

Sanquine:- A red-brown chalk. Return to top

Saponification;-The process in which a paint binder, under moist and alkaline conditions, becomes transparent or discolored. Return to top

Scumbling:-The technique of applying a thin, semi-opaque or translucent coating of paint over a previously painted surface to alter the color or appearance of the surface without totally obscuring it. Return to top
secco:-Italian for "dry". A technique of wall-painting onto dry plaster, or lime plaster that is dampened shortly before paint is applied Return to top
Seascape: a painting or work of pictorial art that depicts the sea or a scene that includes the sea; a painting representing an expansive view of the ocean or sea; picture or painting depicting life around the sea. Return to top
Self Portrait: -a portrait an artist makes using himself or herself as its subject, typically drawn or painted from a reflection in a mirror. Is Also a portrait taken by the photographer of himself, either in a mirror, by means of a remote release, or with a self timer. Return to top

Sepia: -a golden brown tint sometimes applied to black-and-white pictures. This can give the finished print an antique appearance. Return to top
Serif:- in typography, serifs are the small features at the end of strokes within letters (see illustration above). Return to top

Sgraffito:-Technique in which the surface layer is incised or cut away to reveal a contrasting color. Return to top

Shape: - An elements of art, it is an enclosed space defined and determined by other art elements such as line, color, value, and texture. In painting and drawing, shapes may take on the appearance of solid three-dimensional object even though they are limited to two dimensions-- length and width. This two-dimensional character of shape distinguishes it from form, which has depth as well as length and width. An area that stands out from the space next to it, or around it, because of a defined boundary. And because of a difference of value, in color, or texture. Return to top
Shade:-Term for a color darkened with black. Return to top

Shading:- showing change from light to dark or dark to light in a picture by darkening areas that would be shadowed and leaving other areas light. Shading is often used to produce illusions of dimension and depth. Return to top
Shellac:-A yellow resin formed from secretions of the LAC insect, used in making varnish. Return to top
Sidewalk Art: -A developing art form usually done with chalk. The work is finished on the sidewalk. Akin to Street art and graffiti. Return to top
Sienna:- a form of limonite clay most famous in the production of oil paint pigments. Its yellow-brown colour comes from ferric oxides contained within. As a natural pigment, it (along with its chemical cousins ochre and umber) was one of the first pigments to be used by humans, and is found in many cave paintings. Return to top

Silhouette:- a dark image outlined against a lighter background. Return to top
Simplicity: -the understanding of what is and is not important in a design. Details that do not have a major impact to the design are omitted to keep it uncluttered. Return to top
Sketch: -a rough drawing used to capture the basic elements and structure of a situation often used as the basis for a more detailed work. Return to top
Signature:- Sometimes refers to the signature on the plate itself, but is generally the artist's actual signature on the print after printing Return to top

Signed And Numbered:-Refers to an artist's signature (generally in pencil) and the numbering of the edition. Return to top
Signed By The Artist:- The print is signed by the artist only. It is not numbered and is sometimes referred to as an "open edition". Return to top
Signed Art: - An Artwork bearing the signature of the artist. Return to top
Silicate:- Material, such as sand, that is composed of a metal, oxygen, and silicon. . Return to top

Silverpoint:- A drawing method using a piece of metal, usually silver wire, drawn on a ground prepared with Chinese white, sometimes with pigment added. Return to top
Sinopia:- A red-brown chalk used for marking-out frescoes; also the preliminary drawing itself. Return to top
Size:- Material applied to a surface as a penetrating sealer, to alter or lessen its absorbency and isolate it from subsequent coatings. Return to top

Space:- the interval or measurable distance between pre-established points. Return to top
Sketch:- A preliminary drawing of a composition. Return to top
Sold Out.:- A limited edition print is no longer available at issue price and is being sold at secondary market prices. Return to top
Squaring Up:- A method for transferring an image to a larger or smaller format. Return to top
Stained glass: -glass that has been colored or stained through different processes. This term is also used to refer to the art of cutting colored glass into different shapes and joining them together with lead strips to create a pictorial window design (see illustration). Return to top
Strainer:- A wooden chassis for textile supports that has rigid, immovable corners. . Return to top
Stretcher:- A wooden chassis for textile supports that has expandable corners. Return to top

Subtractive Color:- Color resulting from the absorption of light. Return to top
Statue:- a sculpture representing a human or animal. Return to top
Stencil: -Stiff paper (or other sheet material) with a design cut into it as a template for shapes meant to be copied. Is Also a method of applying a design by brushing ink or paint through a cut-out surface. Return to top

Still Life: -a painting or other two-dimensional work of art representing inanimate objects such as bottles, fruit, and flowers. Is Also, the arrangement of these objects from which a drawing, painting, or other art work is made. Return to top
Stippling:-a drawing technique consisting of many small dots or flecks to construct the image; technique of using small dots to simulate varying degrees of solidity or shading; to paint, engrave, or draw by means of dots or small touches of the brush, pen, or other tool. Return to top
Stomp: -A kind of pencil consisting of a tight roll of paper or soft leather, or of a cylindrical piece of rubber or other soft material used for rubbing down hard lines in pencil or crayon drawing, for blending the lines of shading so as to produce a uniform tint. Return to top

Study:- A detailed drawing or painting made of one or more parts of a final composition, but not the whole work. Return to top
Stylize: - To alter natural shapes, forms, colors, or textures in order to make a representation in a preset style or manner. Return to top
Symbol:- A form, image or subject representing a meaning other than the one with which it is usually associated. Return to top

Symmetry Or Symmetrical Balance:- The parts of an image or object organized so that one side duplicates, or mirrors, the other. Return to top

Synchromism: - A style of painting employing pure colors in harmonious abstract arrangement. Return to top
Support::- The basic substrata of the painting; paper, cotton, linen, wall, etc. The material providing a surface upon which an artist applies color, collage Return to top
Surrealism: an art style developed in Europe in the 1920's, characterized by using the subconscious as a source of creativity to liberate pictorial subjects and ideas. Surrealist paintings often depict unexpected or irrational objects in an atmosphere of fantasy, creating a dreamlike scenario; An art movement in which one's dreams, nightmares, sub consciousness and fantasy inspired the final works. Return to top

Symmetrical Balance: the placing of identical forms to either side of the central axis of a work to stabilize it visually. Return to top