GLOSSARY OF ART TERMS

PAINT
All paints have three ingredients, the colour agent or pigment that is dispersed  in a liquid medium or vehicle. This vehicle is made up of a binding agent and a thinning agent. In oil paint, the binding agent is linseed oil and the thinning agent is turpentine. In watercolour the binding agent is gum arabic (glue from an acacia tree) and the thinning agent is water. All high quality artist paints use the best pigments (colours) available. In artist supplies there are different qualities available ranging from student grade to professional grade. The most important difference is in the longevity of the materials used.
 PAPERS
RAG PAPERS - are the highest quality papers available to artists and printer today. The term rag is used to describe papers actually made from linen or cotton fibers, generally the thicker the better. These papers have a neutral pH.....
ACID-FREE - is the term used to describe specially manufactured papers that do not contain any acidity and are considered pH neutral.  Now, almost all rag papers are acid-free: but not all acid-free papers are made from rag.  You can have a paper made from wood fibers that has had its acidity neutralized with calcium carbonate, to make it pH neutral.  Acid-free papers have a higher resistance to mold growth, characterized by dull rusty spots known as foxing.
PRINTING PAPERS - refers to any paper made for printing.  The highest quality papers are acid-free and made from rag.
COATED PAPERS - These papers are made for the lithography printing industry and are coated with a very thin layer of clay.  The clay prevents the printing inks from soaking into the paper, making the colours more vibrant.  Most of the papers used today for the limited edition reproduction market are coated papers and most of these are made from wood fibers that have been pH neutralized or called acid-free.
WATERMARK - All paper manufacturers have their own watermark or design that is molded into the paper surface as the time of production.  This can be seen as a relief  design along the edge of the paper sheet.
REPRODUCTIONS
PHOTO REPRODUCTION - Simply put, are prints reproduced photo mechanically from original works of art, conceived by an artist in another medium.  Originally large room size cameras were used to photograph the artwork.  In the 80's laser scanners came into wide use to photograph the artwork digitally.  The light reflected off the artwork is broken down into 4 colours - blue, yellow, red and black.  Representing each colour is a separate piece of film negative, from which four aluminum plates are made.  These plates are put onto a large press for printing (See Lithograph).  This process is called offset lithography because of the transference of the printed image to a rubber blanket or roller, before the image is printed onto paper.
COLOUR SEPARATIONS - are the 4 pieces of film negatives used in the production of making the photomechanical printing plates (See above)
HALF TONE - the light that the scanner sees to make these 4 separate films, is broken down to make what is called a halftone dot.  This dot along with another few millions of coloured dots is what makes up the printed image (see photo reproductions).
LIMITED EDITIONS - are reproduction prints produced in the method described above.  The image of each print in the edition is identical.  The total number of images approved by the artist in the edition is indicated by the artist's signature and by writing the number of each reproduction; followed by the total number of prints in the particular edition.  An example would be 27/375, and is generally done in pencil, this is called signed and numbering.  This method of numbering applies to the original print as well.
GICLEE - is the newest form of limited edition reproductions on the market today.  The image is made usually using inkjets to spray the ink onto printing or watercolour paper to make to make the image.  The original artwork or photographic copy of artwork is outputted directly onto the printing paper, without going through the film colour separation process as in the photo reproductions.  This method has really improved in the short time of its use.  Some printed images are so good it is hard to tell from the original, particularly when printed onto watercolour paper.  This could be a problem down the road on the secondary market unless a way is found to distinguish the print from the original.  Maybe and embossed image in the image would make it less confusing.  No matter how good or how many images are produced, it is still a copy (reproduction) of the original and should be treated accordingly.
CANVAS TRANSFER - is a laminated process of transferring a printed image onto canvas using heat and pressure.  A reproduction on paper is used to laminate onto the canvas surface using a sealer and is pressed into the canvas.  The resulting image looks like it was painted on the canvas and is hard to tell from an original, unless labeled.  It is a time consuming and an expensive process, but is still just a reproduction of the original.
OPEN EDITION - is an unlimited series of prints without the typical numbering seen on a limited edition.  This term applies to both original prints and the reproduction.  Most open editions are not signed by the artist and command a lower price.
TIME-DATED EDITION - The number of prints in this kind of edition is determined by the number of orders received by a certain date.  This final number can be very high, even into the tens of thousands.  As far as I am concerned it is no more than an expensive poster.
NUMBERED - a numbered print is designed to show the limit or size of a printed edition (see limited edition).  Lower numbers used to mean the first prints where sharper than the later, in original prints this is true (see drypoint), but with modern printing techniques, as in reproductions , the last print should be as sharp as the first off the press.
ARTIST'S SIGNATURE - it is customary for artists to sign their prints in pencil.  The signature has come to stand for a guarantee of good workmanship, or stamp of quality and authenticity of the printed image.  Some artists sign in the printed image, but most sign on the border.
SIGNED IN THE PLATED - refers to the artist's "printed" signature as it appears in the original work or plate.  It is not the same as the artist's hand signature in pencil on the margin of the print.
PRINTER'S PROOF - Applies more today to the reproduction than the original print.  They are chosen from the regular edition printing run and are the artist option.  For me, it's a way to saying thanks to the people involved in printing my reproductions.  I give one to each person and I keep one for myself.  Abbreviated by P/P, which appears on the margin.
SOLD OUT - is when a print edition is completely sold out and is no longer available at the issue price (the price first offered at retail).  The print is now only available from someone who already owns it and this is called the secondary market.
HAND -COLOURED - or hand tinted means adding colour to an already printed image.  This is mostly done with the original print but it can also be applied to the reproduction print.  Watercolour is the choice of most artists but anything that will not harm the paper can be used.
CANCELLED PLATED - is when a printing plate or block has been defaced to make it impossible to print any additional images.
CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY - is a printed document generally fixed to the back of framed reproductions and original prints that states the image is genuine, along with other pertinent information such as the size of edition, print number, etc.
MEDIUMS
OIL - Oil paint was well developed by the mid sixteenth century.  Oil has great flexibility, dries slowly and can be used to build up texture.  Oil paintings, if painted on good canvas or board, do not require glass.  The thinning agent is turpentine and the binding agent is linseed oil.  Most oil paintings appear glossy when dry.  Oil glazes can be used to build optical effects, but white paint is mostly used to build the lights.
ACRYLIC - is made from synthetic resins called polymers colours. These colours are thinned with water and dry fast to become a tough, flexible film.  By using the appropriate mediums the surface can be made mat, semi-mat or glossy, most acrylics do not require glass unless painted onto paper.  Acrylics can be painted to look like oil or used in the wash technique of watercolour painting.
WATERCOLOUR - has been used n different forms for thousands of years.  It used gum arabic as a binding agent and water to think the colours.  Mostly painted on paper, the best quality being made from linen fibers.  Watercolour papers have three basic surface textures - hot-pressed (smooth), cold-pressed (medium) and cold-pressed (rough).  The traditional technique is to use transparent washes (glazes) over one another to build optical effects, using the white of the paper for the lights: white paint is seldom used.  Watercolours should always be framed with glass.
GOUACHE - is opaque watercolour.  It is a painting medium like watercolour, but with the addition of white pigment to produce a more opaque paint.  The same papers are used as in watercolour and gouache requires glass for protection.
PASTEL - dates back about two hundred years and was mainly used in portraiture.  It is a form of drawing/painting using pure colour without a medium.  Pastel crayons come in three grades, soft, medium and hard.  they are made using colour pigment with a binding medium, pressed in molds to form sticks or crayons.  The paper used should be that of linen qua;ity and has a texture to hold pastel.  All pastels should be framed under glass.  Oil pastel is the same as above, but with the addition of linseed oil.
EGG TEMPERA - is a form of painting using egg yoke as the binding agent for the pigment and water as the thinning agent for the paint.  Tempera dates back hundreds of years to before oil painting was invented.  Leonardo de Vinci's, 'last Supper" and Michelangelo's "Sistine Chapel" comes to mind.  The traditional technique is to paint in light cross hatching strokes to build up the image.  A more modern method is to glaze many layers of colour one over the other to create an optical effects.  The painting surface should appear fairly smooth.  Presses-wood board 9Masonite) is mostly used with a smooth absorbent gesso surface, as the painting support.  The painting will tae up to 9 months to cure but becomes quite tough after curing and it is not necessary to frame with glass.
INK - India ink is mostly used today to produce ink drawings and is very permanent, if not put on too thickly.  it comes as waterproof ink and as soluble ink.  Ink drawings are mostly done with pen but can be thinned with water and used with a brush; coloured drawing inks are not as stable and will fade over time, as do all felt-tip markers.  Ink can be used on paper or board and should be glassed when framed.
PENCIL - The modern drawing pencil is made from graphite mixed with clay to lighten and harden the lead.  The softest varieties contain little or no clay.  Graphite is a form of carbon and is very stable.  The paper used is usually smooth or has little texture.  Here again, the art is only as good as the paper it has been done on.  Drawings should be framed using glass.
SILVERPOINT - drawings are done using a silver wire sharpened to a point and put into a hand holder for drawing.  The drawing surface can be a panel, smooth watercolour or drawing paper coated with a thin layer of "Chinese white" watercolour paint.  Over time the drawing will tarnish to a wonderful patina effect.  Gold and platinum can also be used but will not tarnish.  Glass should be used in framing if done on paper.
PRINTING
ORIGINAL PRINT - is a work of art that has been created specifically for the printing medium.  The original image is hand-done onto a metal plate; stone block, wooden block or screen.  This image is then printed directly from the original image, by the artist or a technician, onto good quality paper.  Often many passes through the press is necessary if more then one colour is to be used to complete the final printed image.  The edition size is usually low in number and each printed image is considered unique.  When the artist makes an impression, it is called pulling a proof, this is where the term artist's proof came from.  In producing the original print, the artist must be highly skilled in his understanding of the methods employed and the printing process can take weeks to months to pull the entire edition.
PLATE - refers to the printing plate (copper, zinc, steel) and other materials from which printed impressions and images are taken.
STONE LITHOGRAPH - is a process of printing from a flat stone.  The artist draws the image with a grease pencil or other methods on to a stone surface, then water and printing ink are successively applied; the greasy drawing repels water but absorbs the ink.  The wet stone repels ink and prints clean but the greasy drawing prints the image.  With the stone inked, paper is carefully placed on the stone and pressed together through a press transferring the image to paper.  For each colour, a different stone is used.  this process s done by hand for the original print.
LITHOGRAPH - is really a general term.  There are two types: an offset lithograph print, and an original lithograph print, which are described above.  In offset lithography the image is photographed and burned into a metal plate.  This plate is put into a press with ink coming from the press's rollers.  When paper is passed through the press the image is transferred onto rubber rollers and then onto the paper.  This offset method is used today to print most reproductions, full-colour books and magazines etc. (see photo reproductions)
INTAGLIO - is any technique in which an image is incised below the surface of a printing plate.  The hand-inked plate is covered with damp printing paper and passed through a press under great pressure, the ink is transferred onto the paper.  This includes etching, aquatint, mezzotint, engraving and dry point.
ETCHING - is an intaglio process (a sunken design) in which a drawing is scratched through a resistant wax covering protecting the metal plate.  The plate is placed into an acid solution, which eats into the now exposed surface.  The sunken areas hold the printing ink and when passed through a press, with paper on top of the plate, the ink transfers onto the paper making your image.
AQUATINT - an intaglio process - is used to make tonal variations by dusting powdered rosin onto a metal plate, it is then heated to adhere to the plated and etched in an acid-bath.  This technique produces a transparent, soft-effect resembling watercolour.
MEZZOTINT - also intaglio process - is when  texture is produced all over a metal plate with what is called a "rocker".  By rubbing and burnishing the surface, an image is created by smoothing this texture, therefore creating graduations of light and shade on the plate.  Mezzotints are characterized by a rich, velvet overall appearance to the resulting print.
ENGRAVING - an intaglio process - is when lines are cut with a sharp tool into a metal plate, and then filled with ink to transfer onto paper to produce the image.
DRYPOINT - intaglio process - is using a very sharp needle-like tool to scratch a drawing into a polished metal (usually copper) plate.  The groove and burr that is produced, holds the ink in the printing process to give a softer look to the printed image.  This burr brakes down very quickly when printed under high pressure, resulting in a breakdown of the image.  the higher number of prints pulled the less sharpness and ink will be on the print.  Consequently, the amount of prints is an edition is very low.
WOODCUT - is a relief printing method in which the image is carved into the surface of a block of wood.  The raised portion of the wood is inked and passed through a press with paper to produce the final print.
COLLAGRAPH - is a work of art produced by the inking of any collage of materials or objects that takes the form of a plate for printing; also called relief printing.
SERIGRAPH - also called silkscreen printing - is a stenciling method in which the image is transferred to paper by forcing paint through a stretched screen of silk or polyester fabric.  The stencil can be hand-cut or photographically prepared and is adhered to the screen.  the paint goes through the open areas where the stencil was cut away.  A new stencil must be cut for every colour printed.
ARTIST'S PROOF - often abbreviated A/P and should not be compromised of more prints than 10% of the edition.  Artist's proofs are not included in the numbering of the regular edition and are the artist's option.  In today's limited edition reproductions, the artist's proof is printed at the same time as the whole edition, and they are not better quality tan the regular edition.  The term artist's proof came from the early days of printmaking, when the artist would proof the printing plate that he was working on.  He would continue pulling proofs after doing more work on the plate, until the plate was ready for printing for regular edition.  In this process each proof would be unique and therefore different then the regular edition.  because each plate has a limited number of impressions possible before breaking down, artist try to keep the proofing below 10% of the final edition.
REMARQUE - is the addition of an artist's drawing in pencil, or sometime watercolour, to enhance the print with an original piece of work, usually done in the margin.  This applies to original prints and reproductions.  The remarque must be done by hand to qualify as a remarque, not printed! Remarques should comprise no more than 5% of the final edition.
CHOP MARK - is the printer's or artists seal usually embossed on the border or in the image.  This is another way of giving authenticity to the printed image and cannot be removed or changed.

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