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  • Art Phrases and Definition​s
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Glossary of Art Phrases
Presented to you by: Gallery4Collectors.com

Aquatint - Printing technique capable of producing unlimited tonal gradations to re-create the broad flat tints of ink wash or watercolor drawings by etching microscopic crackles and pits into the image on a master plate, typically made of copper and zinc.

Artist's Proofs- In offset reproductions, artist's proofs are additional prints not included in, but of the same quality as, the regular edition. In original prints, artist's proofs are the first prints pulled, which are the truest prints in the edition because the plates or screens have not yet been worn down. Artist's proofs are distinguished by the abbreviation AP and are numbered separately; they often represent 10 percent of an edition and are slightly more expensive than prints in the regular edition.

Canvas Print- A reproduction in which an image is printed directly onto canvas. These prints can be produced using offset lithography, digital printing or other methods.

Canvas Transfer- A reproduction in which inks are chemically lifted off a piece of paper and applied to a piece of canvas. Some processes can replicate the texture and appearance of an original painting.

Certificate of Authenticity- A warranty card or statement of authenticity of a limited edition print that records the title of the work, the artist's name, the edition size and the print's number within the edition, the number of artist's proofs and the release date. It is a guarantee that the edition is limited and that the image will not be published again in the same form.

Chine colle- is a sort of collage technique used in intaglio printing whereby a (usually thinner) piece of paper is adhered to a heavier sheet and printed simultaneously.

Chromolithography - A color-printing process in which separate printing plates are used to apply each component color. Often called "four-color printing because the full range of color tones are achieved with only four plates - red, blue, yellow and black.

Collograph - Printing technique in which proofs are pulled back from a block on which the artwork or design is built up like a collage, creating a relief.

Conservation Framing- Framing that aims to prevent warping, fading, tearing or any other kind or print deterioration. Acid-free mats and glazing with UV protection are used in conservation framing.

Conservation stamp prints- Prints that have been reproduced from conservation stamps. Sale of these stamps and prints often benefit conservation program.

Digital Print- A reproduction in which a digital file of an original painting is printed by a special ink-jet printer that sprays ink directly onto the surface of a substrate.

Diptych (dip'tik) - A painting done in two separate panels. Each part is a complete work in itself, but when presented together they form a larger fully integrated work.

Engraving - Printing technique in which an intaglio image is produced by cutting a metal plate or box directly with a sharp engraving tool. The incised lines are linked and printed with the heavy pressure.

Enhanced - The artist goes over the edition repainting or touching up special areas.

Etching - A printing method popular during the 17th Century, in which a metal plate is covered with an acid resistant material and the artist scratches an image into the plate with an etching needle. When the exposed metal is eaten away in an acid bath, it creates depressed lines that are later inked for printing.

Giclee -  A Giclee (zhee-clay) is a French term, in this case meaning "spray of ink", using an Iris Ink Jet printer on watercolor paper or canvas producing vibrant replicas of original paintings. They have the look and feel of the original art. The depth of color and the clarity achieved in the purity of color make the reproductions indeed remarkable.

Gouache (gwash) - A medium in which opaque pigments are mixed with water and a preparation of gum. Gouache is also used to describe a painting made with such pigments.

Hand-embellished- A term used to describe prints which an artist has added color or washes after the piece has been printed.

Issue Price- The original price of a limited edition print when first offered for retail sale.

Limited Edition- The size of a limited edition is determined in advance by the publisher. Each print in the edition is signed by the artist and then individually numbered (s/n).

Linocut - An image cut into the surface of linoleum, usually, mounted on a block of wood. The surface is then inked, wiped, and the image transferred to paper by pressure.

Matting - Decorative board used in framing that provides contrast between the image and the molding.

Mezzotint - (mezzo = half and tinta = tone), a reverse engraving process used on a copper or steel plate to produce illustrations in relief with effects of light and shadow. The surface of a master plate is roughened with a tool called a rocker so that if inked, it will print solid black. The areas to be white or gray in the print are rubbed down so as not to take ink. It was widely used in the 18th and 19th centuries to reproduce portraits and other paintings, but became obsolete with the introduction of photoengraving.

Mint Stamp- An unsigned stamp framed with a copy of the print from which the stamp was made.

Mixed Media- An artwork combing two or more artistic media - for example, scratchboard and paint, pencil and watercolor - bronze and wood.

Monotype - One-of-a-kind print made by painting on a sheet of metal or glass and transferring the still-wet-painting to a sheet of paper by hand or with an etching press. If enough paint remains on the master plate, additional prints can be made, however, the reprint will have substantial variations from the original image. Monotype printing is not a multiple-replica process since each print is unique.

Moulding – A piece of wood, plastic, metal, or other material used to frame a piece of art.

Open Edition Print- A reproduction of an original work of art that is sometimes signed by the artist. The number of prints published is not predetermined.

Original Lithographic Print- Not a reproduction; each is an original and unique work of art. The artist makes separate drawings, one for each color to be printed, directly on the working surface (commonly stone or Mylar film) to create individual plates. An original lithograph must pass through the press one time for each color. Hand coloring may also be added later.

Original Painting- A one-of-a-kind image created by an artist that often sell for several thousands of dollars.

Original Prints- Prints, such as serigraphs or original lithographs, that are created without the use of photography. They are original because every print in an edition is created directly by the artist and may vary slightly from the other prints in the edition.

Pastel - Ground-up pigment mixed with gum and formed into crayons used for drawing. Also denotes a soft, pale shade of any color and additionally, any work of art made with pastels.

Portfolio - Prints by one artist that are grouped together and sold as a set.

Poster - A reproduction that is usually printed in unlimited quantities with a lower grade of paper and inks than a limited or open edition prints. Poster often include graphics.

Printer's Proofs- Prints created over and above the regular signed and numbered limited edition that are not available for retail sale. they are retained by the printer as a reference; artists often sign them as a gesture of appreciation.

Rag Paper- Paper containing a certain proportion of cotton fiber in its physical structure used for prints. The higher the cotton content the higher quality the paper.

Remarque - Small sketches, painted drawing or additional enhancements made by the artist, usually in the margin of some or all of the final prints within an edition.

Scratchboard – Cardboard coated with chalk forms a smooth, glossy surface and is used as a ground for drawing or painting in ink. Parts of the image may then be scratched off with a pointed tool to create a variety of effects.  Secondary Market - An unofficial network of dealers and individual who buy and sell prints above the issue price after an image is sold out at the publisher.

Serigraph - The serigraphic process incorporates the use of fine mesh screens to hand separate the colors of the image. Originally, these screens were made of silk, hence the name by which this process is also known - silk-screening. To produce a serigraphic print, a separate stencil-like screen is made for each area that is to be printed in one color of ink. The ink is then squeegeed through the screen onto the paper. The inks sit on top of the heavy paper on which the final serigraph is produced. Because the ink is not absorbed by the paper as in other processes, the final serigraphic print actually looks like a painting on paper.

Stone Lithography- The process starts with drawing the image on the stone by using a greasy black lithographic pencil. These usually take three to twelve days, depending on the size and complexity of the image. The main problem is that mistakes cannot be erased. Small corrections can be made with a sharp knife, but major corrections are needed, it is necessary to start again on a new stone.

Stamp Print- Limited edition print made from a work originally created as the design for a conservation stamp. Print and stamp customarily are framed together.

Tempera - Pigments mixed with a water-soluble base such as casein, size, or egg yolk. Tempera dries with a flat, dull finish.

Textured Canvas- A limited edition canvas which has been embellished to represent the artist's brush strokes of the original painting. Framed without glass, textured canvas has added dimension and luster, and the appearance of an artist's original painting.

Time-limited Edition- An edition whose size is established by the number of orders a publisher receives during a set period of time.

Triptych (trip-tik) - A work of art done in three separate panels

Watercolor – Pigments dissolved in water. Watercolor painting typically is done on relatively rough-surfaced, absorbent paper.


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