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Art Glossary

Art Commissions

Animation cels – Very collectable works of original art. Plastic sheets that animators drew and painted on. Very delicate and need special care in storing and displaying.

Archival – Materials which may be stored in an archive; in the graphic arts and framing business, archival refers to the relative permanence of a material and its ability to remain stable over time.

Artist proof (A/P) – Additional "proofs," not included in the regular edition, for the artist’s approval and use; may be sold; will usually be signed by the artist with the A/P designation following the signature and may be numbered.

Commercial art – Imagery commissioned exclusively for commercial purposes, such as advertising or packaging.

Conservation – A careful preservation and protection of something, in this case works of art.

Deacidification – The process of buffering or neutralizing acid content in paper products.

Decorative arts – Display pieces and prints that are generally from open editions. Also, works of art that are deemed to be useful and ornamental, rather than intellectual or spiritual.

Digital art – Images that are captured using a digital camera and/or developed with the aid of computer processing and printing.

3-Dimensional art – Works having physical shape and depth.

Encapsulation – A method of enclosing and protecting art on paper from the elements without altering or devaluing.

Fiber art – Includes forms of surface design, sculpture, wearable art, textiles, papermaking and basketry utilizing man-made and/or natural fibers.

Fixative – Usually a clear matte finish product that is evenly sprayed over a charcoal, chalk or pastel drawing to keep the finished piece from shedding or smudging.

Giclée – The process of digitally laying down archival quality inks onto archival quality photographic paper, watercolor paper, or canvas. The images can be produced in limited editions, open editions, or as original works of art.

Glazing – The protective interface between the environment and the work of art, including glass and plastic sheets but not varnishes or other protective coatings.

Hinges – That material, generally Japanese Paper or linen, which is attached to a work of art and is in turn attached to the backing board to maintain the work of art in position. The hinging method of mounting artwork for the purpose of framing or displaying should be done to conservation standards so as not to devalue or permanently alter the art itself.

Intaglio – A design that is cut into a surface such as metal, jewel or stone.

Kinetic art – Works of art with moving parts.

Lacquer – Varnish made from natural resins. Tends to go yellow with age. Modern synthetic equivalents are also commonly referred to as lacquer.

Limited edition – An edition of a specific number of prints, each one numbered and marked in the order as it comes from the printing process. An image can be printed in different sizes and thereby have different editions but when a specific limited edition has been printed the printing plate or file must be destroyed.

Linocut – A relief print made from a piece of linoleum that has been scored or gauged to create an image.

Lithography – The original and most usual form of Planographic printing. Otherwise known as surface printing, it is the most common method of creating original prints. It is based on the natural rejection of water by oil or grease. The modern version includes the off-set principal and enables printers to produce large runs of closely controlled off-set lithographs. Today, most lithographic plates are produced by photo-mechanical methods.

Lost wax (cire perdue) – A complicated method of casting sculpture. A model of wax is encased in a heat-resistant layer of plaster or clay to produce a mould. The mould is then used to cast in metal, usually bronze, a reproduction of the original image that was ‘lost’ when the wax melted in the mould making process.

Mixed media – The use of more than one material and technique to produce an original work of art.

Mobile – A hanging kinetic sculpture with shapes or solids attached with wires or strings so that they move freely.

Mount – Works on paper are generally mounted onto a backing board to provide stability for framing and displaying. Mounting can be accomplished with a hinging method or a full adhesion method depending on the type and value of the art piece.

Needle art – A wide range of techniques that utilize needles threaded with fibers to create designs, usually on a textile base.  Examples would be needlepoint, crewel work, counted cross stitch, pulled thread, appliqué work, embroidery, and quilting.


Original art – One-of-a-kind piece executed by the artist’s hand.  This art category includes such media as paintings, sketches, colorings, collages, calligraphy, scratchboards, and animation cels.


Original print – Forms of continuous tone printing are unique and special.  Though many prints may be made of the same image, each is an original print when the printing process is either relief, intaglio, planographic, or stencil.


Pastel – Can refer to soft shades of color or the powdered pigment sticks or crayons used to draw directly on paper.  It is usually smudged with the fingers to produce soft and chalky tones.


Patina – A mellow and worn look that surfaces, usually wood and metals, acquire with age, handling, and exposure to the elements.  These traits are usually considered to be attractive.


Photographic art – Originating through the lens of a camera, photographic art can be either original prints or reproductions. A photograph (an image captured on film) is the only item that commonly occurs in printed form that is not comprised of a series of dots.  It is developed through a chemical process and is considered a continuous tone print.


Plein air – This term generally refers to a painting that was executed on location and in the open air rather than in a studio setting.


Pointillism (Divisionism) – A way of painting that allows the eye of the viewer to blend the colors.  Small areas of pure color are put side by side on the canvas so that at a distance the eye cannot differentiate between them but mixes them together and so experiences another color.


Relief print – Also known as block printing, this is the oldest form of printing.  A simple example of this method is the rubber stamp.


Remarque – A small original drawing added, by the artist, to a print either in the border or in the image area.


Replica – In art-collecting terminology, a copy of a picture or sculpture, made again by the original artist.


Reproduction – Copies of an already existing original piece of art.


Restoration – Repairing a work of art that has become damaged through accident, decay or neglect.  A task that should be left in the hands of a conservator so as not to ruin or devalue the item.


Sculpture – Three-dimensional work of art made by carving, modeling or constructing.  It has no useful function in itself.


Serigraphy – General term for the silkscreen printing method.


Seri-cels – A type of animation cel produced as limited edition prints from a silkscreen method.


Signed in the plate – The artist’s signature made in the printing plate and printed along with the image.


Soft sculpture – Sculpture made from soft materials such as cloth, fur or felt.


Stippling – Small dots or strokes applied in differing densities to create areas of tone or of light and shade.


Textile – The resulting cloth or goods made from weaving, knitting or felting.


Trompe l’oeil – A French term meaning “deceives the eye” that is usually in the form of a mural type of painting.


Ultraviolet (UV) light – Those light waves emitted by sunlight and fluorescent light and not part of the visible spectrum but which are very damaging to art.


Varnish – A hard-drying transparent protective substance, which is painted onto the surface of a painting to protect that surface and give the colors a unity of texture and appearance.  Varnish tends to make the pictures go darker with age.

Art Commissions


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