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Glossary

Word of the Day!

figurative art


Art that depicts recognizable forms or figures from life. Figurative art is also called representational art.


Example: Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, 1942

War Projects Act (or WPA)

A scheme of the Federal Arts Project, a program which helped artists from 1935 to 1943 by commissioning works of art across America.

Example: Diego Rivera's Man at the Crossroads was completed for the Federal Arts Project in Rockefeller Center, 1933

ware

A collective term for pottery and ceramic objects.

warm colors

Colors often associated with fire and sun, which suggest warmth. These are colors which contain red and yellow and appear on one side of the color wheel opposite the cool colors.

See Also:  earth colors

warp

In weaving, the vertical threads attached to the top and bottom of a loom, through which the weft is woven.

See Also:  textile

wash

A thin, translucent layer of pigment, usually watercolor or India ink. Often it is the background of a picture, prepared using watery paint applied quickly using large, sweeping brush strokes.

Example: Helen Frankenthaler's Bay Side, 1967

washer

A flat metal or rubber disk placed beneath a bolt head or nut which helps to secure the bolt and distribute its pressure, lessen friction, or prevent leakage.

waste mold

This term is used in two contradictory ways. In its most common use: a piece mold made from a model (usually of clay or wax) when the model must be broken apart (wasted) in removing it from the mold. The other use: a mold from which only one cast can be taken, because the mold must be broken apart and discarded in order to release the cast. This is how lost-wax casting is accomplished, for instance. The use of this term is highly problematic then, unless the user immediately explains the meaning intended.

See Also:  release agent

water gilding

The application of gold leaf to a surface of gesso (or whiting) which may have been coated with bole, and this covered with a water and glue. The gold is then burnished. This is a better technique than oil (mordant) gilding, when the surface is a gessoed one, although it is more difficult.

See Also:  fire gildinggilt

watercolor

Any paint that uses water as a medium. Paintings done with this medium are known as watercolors. When made opaque with white, watercolor is generally called gouache or bodycolor. Tempera is another exception.

watermark

In the making of paper, a translucent design impressed on it when still moist by a metal pattern, and visible when the paper is held before light. In digital imaging, bits altered within an image to create a pattern which indicates proof of ownership; so that unauthorized use of a watermarked image can then be traced.

waterproof

Typically refers to colors or other materials which will not decay or distort with exposure to water. The most common waterproof materials are various rubbers, plastics, and sealing agents.

See Also:  fugitive colorspermanent pigmentcolor permanencelightfastwater-soluble

water-soluble

Soluble in water; capable of being dissolved in water, especially if a wetting agent is added, like detergents and soaps.

See Also:  aqueouswatercolorwaterproof

wax

Any of various natural, oily or greasy heat-sensitive substances, the most common being beeswax. These consist of hydrocarbons or esters of fatty acids that are insoluble in water but soluble in most organic solvents. May also refer to a solid, plastic or liquid substance, such as ozocerite or paraffin, a petroleum by product, used in coating papers, in crayons, and other products. Both natural and synthetic waxes are used in painting as a binder, and as an important ingredient in candles and polishes. They are also important materials used for casting and modeling, generally over an armature.

See Also:  batiklost wax castingresinstearin

waxwork

Modeling in wax. Or a figure made of wax, especially a life-size wax effigy of a famous person. Also, the plural form, used with either a singular or plural verb, refers to an exhibition of wax figures in a museum.

weaving

The interlacing of yarn or thread to make cloth.

web press

In printing, a rotary press that prints on a long roll of paper.

webbed

In sculpture, the retention of a supporting membrane of material between fingers or other thin extremities, especially in stone sculpture.

See Also:  marble

wedge

A piece of material, such as wood or metal, tapered at one edge and thick at the opposite end, used for tightening, securing, levering, or splitting, as when driven into wood along its grain, or when driven into the interlocking corners of wooden stretchers to produce tension on canvas support. These last are also called keys.

wedging

A technique in which clay is thoroughly kneaded and cut before use in modeling or pottery, to make it plastic and remove air pockets.

weft

The threads or strands of yarn that are woven over and under the warp threads to make a weaving. A less commonly used equivalent term is woof.

See Also:  textile

weight shift

See contrapposto.

welding

The process of joining metals by fusing them together under direct, intense heat. A commonly used source of heat for welding is an oxyacetylene torch. A metal rod may be applied to the joint which melts into any gaps and strengthens the bond.

wet collodion

See collodion wet plate.

wet-and-dry paper

Paper with a coating of silicon carbide, used as an abrasive; a type of sandpaper. Its common name derives from the fact that it can be used wet or dry, as suitable with the materials abraded and the surface finish required.

wetting agent

A substance that reduces the surface tension of a liquid, causing the liquid to spread across or penetrate more easily the surface of a solid, making anything that is water-soluble more quickly solved. Detergents and soaps generally accomplish this with water.

white spirits

See mineral spirits.

whiting

Ground and dried chalk used in plate cleaning and in the preparation of gesso.

wire

A usually pliable metallic strand made in many lengths and diameters (gauges), sometimes clad or coated with insulation, as are electrical wires. A group of wire strands twisted or braided together as a functional unit is called cable.

wood engraving

A print similar to a woodcut, in that it is made by cutting a design into a block of wood. However unlike a woodcut, the artist cuts the design on the end grain of hardwood rather than the side grain of soft wood. The print's design can therefore be more intricate than the typical woodcut.

woodblock print

See woodcut.

woodcut

A print made by cutting a design in side-grain of a block of wood. The ink is transferred from the raised surfaces to paper.

Example: Katsushika Kokusai's Thirty-six View of Mount Fuji, c. 1823-1829

woof

The threads or strands of yarn that are woven over and under the warp threads to make a weaving. The more common contemporary term is weft.

worms-eye view

The description for a point of view set in the bottom of the picture place, as if a worm were looking at a scene.

Example: Andrea Mantegna, St. James Led to Martyrdom, c. 1455

wrought iron

An iron which is forged-- formed by heating in a furnace and hammering, bending, etc.and welded-- joining two pieces of metal by applying heat, sometimes with pressure, and sometimes with an additional melted metal. It contains less than .3% carbon and 1-2% slag. Cast iron, on the other hand, is a more brittle, nonmalleable alloy of iron and carbon, which is shaped by from pouring it molten into a mold.

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