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Dictionary of Art . . . S - Z and


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                 S - Z


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Scratchboard
A cardboard coated with gesso and then with a dark color such as India ink. The drawing is then done by scratching into the dark surface to expose the white board. This will give the look of a wood engraving. There are various tools that can be used to do the scratching. Some fit in standard pen holders. Scratchboard was introduced in the 19th century and is used mostly in commercial art.
Scumble
Scumbling is the technique of putting a semi-dry paint over an existing dry paint in such a way as to create a haze. This is done with semi-opaque or opaque paint, and is used mostly in oil and acrylic painting.
Shade
The property of a color that is the darkness of the color. When a color is darker than it is in its pure form, it is said to be a shade of that color.
Siccative
Metallic salts that are mixed with paint to speed up the drying process. They should be used sparingly. They can cause cracking and brittleness.
Stand Oil
See Oil Painting page, Mediums, Varnishes, and Solvents
Surrealism
A term that is much abused and misused nowadays. It was coined in 1917, but was really given birth by the French poet André Breton in 1924 when he defined it as "pure psychic automatism by which it is intended to express..... the true function of thought. Thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations." Surrealism followed hard on the heels of Dada. It was a psychological approach to Dada art. It went in two directions in the 1920's, one the dream world of painters like Salvador Dali which were painted in precise realist style, the other, was the work of painters such as Joan Miró and André Masson. These were loosely drawn figures or form shown in shallow space. The last official surrealist painter was Ashile Gorky working in New York. Other painters of note are Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Yves Tanguy, Remedios Varo, Pablo Picasso, and René Magritte.
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Tanagra Figurines
Small painted terra-cotta statuettes from ancient Greece. Usually depicting every day life. Named after a small town in Boeotia that was an important site of their production in the latter part of the 4th and 3rd century B.C.
Terra Cotta
A baked clay. It is usually a redish-brown in color. The word really means, baked earth. This clay is used by many sculptors and potters. It is also used in the manufacturing of some roof tiles. It has excellent shaping and molding qualities.
Tint
The property of a color that is the lightness of the color. When a color is lighter than it is in its pure form, it is said to be a tint of that color.
Thalo Blue
The American trade name for the paint pigment known as phthalocyanne blue and green.
Thalo Red
The American trade name used to denote the pigment called quinacridone red when it is of the scarlet or yellowish shade.
Triptych
A set of three paintings, related in subject and set side by side. Originally used as altarpieces. Works in this style date from the medieval time. Today, we see the style used in many decorative paintings.
Trompe l'oeil
A French term meaning deception of the eye. In painting it is used to classify paintings that are painted so realisticly as to fool the viewer into thinking the objects in the painting are not painted, but real. One of the famous painters in the style is the 19th century painter, William Michael Harnett.
Turpentine
See Oil Painting page, Mediums, Varnishes, and Solvents
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Undertone
The property of a color that can be seen when it is mixed with a large amount of white into a tint or spread very thin on a surface such as a watercolor wash. The stronger the undertone, the more pigment in the paint.
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Varnish
See Oil Painting page, Mediums, Varnishes, and Solvents
Veduta
A depiction of a whole or large portion of a town or city. Paranesi's engravings of Rome are a good example. A venduta ideata is a scene which is realistically conceived but is completely imaginary.
Venetian School
The painters leading the development of oil painting in Venice during the 16th century. Characterized by paintings with a rich glowing warmth caused by the building up of layers. These painters also were pioneers in the use of secular subjects. Among the leading artists of this school were Giorgione, Bellini, Titian, and Tintoretto.
Venice Turpentine
See Oil Painting page, Mediums, Varnishes, and Solvents
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Walnut Oil
A natural drying oil. Used in the mixing and grinding of oil colors. Yellows less than linseed oil, but more than safflower oil. This makes it good for making light colors. It dries relatively fast, but is very expensive.
Whiting
Chalk. Made from calcium carbonate, derived from limestone or dolomite. Whiting can come in various grades of coarseness. For painting, it is used in the making of gesso.
Wood Engraving
A relief printing technique where a block of wood is incised with a special tool to create the printing surface. The wood is cut transversely to create an end grain. Only very hard wood is used, such as box wood or red maple. The drawing is transferred to the surface and then the cutting is done. The design is made by the nonprinting area of the block. This process was developed in England in the 18th century. William Blake used this process and by the mid nineteenth century, it was the standard method of illustrating books and magazines. The use of the process for these purposes came to an end with the introduction of photoengraving. Scratchboard imitates the wood engraving technique.
Woodcut
A relief printing technique in which the printing surface is carved with special tools in a solid block of wood. The wood is cut longitudinally from the tree so the grain runs the length of the block. The block is cut and then inked with a brayer or dabber. The paper is then placed in the block and the whole thing is run through a press or rubbed over by a baren or the bowl of a large spoon. This art form was developed in Europe in the 14th century. The oldest prints from wood blocks are playing cards. It reached its height in skill with the work of skilled artisans carrying out the designs of such great artists as Albrecht Dürer. The use of etchings and line engravings pushed woodcuts out of the center of attention for fine art in the 17th century. It was revived as an artistic medium in the 18th century by such artists as Gauguin and Millet. Edvard Munch designed, cut, and printed his own woodcuts adding to the revival.
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with valuable assistance from Ms. Jiraporn "Ae" Slobbe