Glossary

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Painting Terms and Definitions

  • FAT - a term used to describe paints which have a high oil content.

  • Fat over lean - painting a think underpainting first, building up the layers thicker and thicker.

  • Faux painting - a method of painting in which you achieve a certain result or duplicate a particular finish. For example, fake wood grain, fake marble, fake granite, etc.

  • Filler - insert pigment added to paint to increase its bulk, also called extender.

  • Film - a thin coating or layer of paint, ink, etc.

  • Fixative - a solution, usually of shellac and alcohol, sprayed onto drawings, to prevent their smudging or crumbling off the support.

  • Flat wash - thinned acrylic either with water or a medium to become more transparent, a smooth and even layer of color.

  • Fresco - a painting technique in which the pigments are dispersed in plain water and applied to a damp plaster wall. The wall becomes the binder, as well as the support.

  • Fugitive colors - pigment or dye colors that fade when exposed to light.

  • Gesso - a white ground material for preparing rigid supports for painting, made of a mixture of chalk, white pigment, and glue. Same name applied to acrylic bound chalk and pigment used on flexible supports as well as rigid.

  • Glazing - thinned paint with acrylic mediums to create glazes which can be layers for a depth effect.

  • Gouache - opaque watercolors used for illustrations.

  • Gradiations - gradual transitions from light to shadow.

  • Grissaille - a monochromatic painting, usually in gray, which can be used under colored glazes.

  • Ground - coating material, usually white, applied to a support to make it ready for painting.

  • Gum - a plant substance that is soluble in water.

  • Gum arabic - a gum, extracted from Acacia trees, used in solution as a medium for watercolor paints.

  • Hatching - a technique of modeling, indicating tone and suggesting light and shade in drawing or tempera painting, using closely set parallel line.

  • Highlighting - adding light colors to enhance areas exposed to more light or sun. Creates additional depth and dimension.

  • Hue - the perceived color of an object, identified by a common name such as red, orange, blue.

  • Hygroscopic - absorbing or attracting moisture from the air.

  • Impasto - thick layer of paint applied with a brush or a palette knife.

  • Imprimatura - a thin, veil of paint, or paint-tinted size, applied to a ground lessen the ground's absorbency or to tint the ground to a middle value.

  • Intensity - the purity and brightness of a color. Also called saturation.

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