Glossary of Art Terms

The children use a range of tools and techniques during their classes. For your reference here is a list of some of the most common.

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Acrylic paint – Acrylic paint is a fast drying paint containing pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion (plastic based paint). Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry, so can stain clothes once dried.

Watercolour paint – Watercolour are made of pigments suspended in a water. The traditional and most common support for watercolour paintings is paper. Watercolours are usually transparent, and appear luminous because the pigments are laid down in a relatively pure form without being combined with other colour pigments.

Soft Pastels – These sticks have a higher portion of pigment and less binder, resulting in brighter colours. The drawing can be readily smudged and blended, but it results in a higher proportion of dust. Finished drawings made with soft pastels require protecting with a fixative to prevent smudging.

Oil pastel – Oil pastels are a painting and drawing medium, they have a soft, buttery consistency with intense colours. They are dense and fill the grain of paper and are slightly more difficult to blend than soft pastels, but do not require a fixative.

Charcoal – charcoal is created by burning sticks of wood into soft, medium, and hard consistencies. Charcoal is used in art for drawing and it must be preserved by the application of a fixative.

Graphite stick – Graphite sticks are similar to pencils except without a wood casing. Both the tip and the outside can be used in drawing, they are good for shading and smudging.

Sketching pencils – A set of pencils ranging from a very hard, light-marking pencil to a very soft, black-marking pencil. Sets usually range from hardest to softest as follows: 9H 8H 7H 6H 5H 4H 3H 2H H F HB B 2B 3B 4B 5B 6B 7B 8B 9B

Clay – Clay is a modelling material that can be sculpted into different shapes. It can be fired and once set it is very hard and can be painted.

Modroc – Modroc is a gauze bandage impregnated with Plaster of Paris. It is used as a sculpting material and is used like clay, as it is easily shaped when wet yet sets into a resilient and lightweight structure.

Batik – Batik is a style of art where a design is created on fabric using hot wax and dye to create areas of colour.

Canvas – Canvas is typically stretched across a wooden frame called a stretcher and can be made from linen or a cheaper alternative cotton.

Canvas board – Canvas boards are made of cardboard with canvas stretched over and glued to a cardboard backing.

Watercolour paper – Watercolour paper is artists’ paper which has been designed specifically for watercolour paint. It is usually specially treated to make it less absorbent, so that the watercolours will not bleed and muddle together on the paper.

Pallet knife – A palette knife is a blunt tool with a flexible steel blade used for mixing or applying paint.

Abstract art – Abstract art generally refers to non-representational art; art that does not attempt to represent physical objects.

Still life – A still-life is a picture of objects that don’t move, often vases, bowls of fruit, bottles etc. The still life is set up and is then observed and studied and translated into a piece of art.

Portrait – A portrait is a painting or drawing of a person. It can also refer to a two-dimensional piece that is displayed vertically.

Landscape – A painting or drawing of the land. It can also refer to a two-dimensional piece that is displayed horizontally.

Seascape – A painting or drawing of the sea.