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Glossary

Word of the Day!

encaustic


Encaustic is an ancient painting technique. The paint, which uses wax as the primary vehicle, is made by mixing finely ground pigment (not tempera paint) with white purified beeswax and resin. While the artist works, the mixture is kept on a heated palette so that it stays semi-fluid. The paint is applied with painting knives or stiff natural bristle brushes, or is poured onto the surface. It may be applied in a thin film or built up to a low relief. Once finished, the entire painting is heated until it develops a satin-like sheen. This is called burning in and is how the process gets its name: encaustic is derived from a Greek word meaning to burn in. Heat helps fuse paint to a uniform layer and bond it to the support. Once solid, the paintings surface may be buffed gently with a silk cloth. Encaustic is as permanent as most mediums. On a very hot day the surface may get tacky and extreme temperature will cause damage. Special care must be taken when an encaustic painting is shipped. Commercially prepared encaustic products are available for those artists who do not want to work with dry pigment.


iconography

The study and use of the significance of symbols, people, buildings, and subjects in the meaning of art. Dutch painters have traditionally filled their paintings with religious iconography.

Example: Hugo van der Goes' The Adoration of the Shepherds, c. 1476

igneous rock

Rock formed by the cooling and solidifying of the subterranean molten mass of the earth. Examples of igneous rocks include: basalt, diorite, dolerite, granite, granodiorite, obsidian, and porphyry.

See Also:  Mohs Scale of Hardness (or Mohs Scale)stone

illumination

Often found in the initial letter of medieval manuscripts, illumination is decoration in gouache, tempera, and golden paints.

Example: Book of Kells, 800

illustration

A design or picture in a book, magazine or other print or electronic medium that explains the text or shows what happens in a story.

image

A picture, idea, or impression of a person, thing, or idea; or a mental picture of a person, thing, or idea. The word imagery refers to a group or body of related images.

impasto

A thick or lumpy application of paint or deep brush marks, as distinguished from a flat, smooth paint surface. May also refer to a thick application of pastel. (pr. im-poss'toh)

Example: Rembrandt's Self-Portrait, c. 1659

in.

Abbreviation for inch.

inch

A unit of distance measurement equal to 1/12 of a foot, or 1/36 of a yard. To convert inches into centimeters, multiply them by 2.54. To convert square inches into square centimeters, multiply them by 6.4516. To convert cubic inches into cubic centimeters, multiply them by 16.3871. Abbreviated in. or with a " (feet abbreviated as either ft. or with a ').

incising

Cutting into a surface, typically in metal, stone, or pottery, often used for text and decoration.

India ink (or Indian ink)

The name in the United States for black ink, the pigment made from carbon-- traditionally lampblack (derived from non-electric lamps). This ink is also used in solid forms, mixed with a binding agent and molded into cakes or sticks. Such solid forms are often called Chinese ink, Japanese ink, or sumi ink.

indirect carving

A carving technique in which a sculpture is made by copying the proportions of a small scale model.

indirect casting

Lost-wax metal casting in which the model that is "lost" is not the original model, but a wax cast from a piece mold taken from the original model. This second wax model is sometimes called an intermodel. If the intermodel is hollow, a core is pored into it. The ancient Greeks developed this method of casting. Indirect casting has numerous advantages because it: 1.ensures an even wall of wax. 2. ensures an even wall of metal. 3. enables repairs to be made if part of the cast is defective. 4. enables another version to be made if the whole cast fails. 5. permits the multiple edition of a sculpture, because the original model is preserved.

inert

Sluggish in motion, or unable to move or act at all. In chemistry, not readily reactive with other elements; thus forming few compounds.

inglaze

to apply pigment, stain or glaze to an unglazed or glazed surface so that in subsequent firings the color melt into, and combines with, the glaze layer.

ink

Liquid or paste media containing pigment(s) and used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Writing inks, even blacks, are rarely sufficiently permanent to be used for art purposes. Black drawing ink, known as India ink in the United States, is especially made for use in permanent works. When it dries it is water resistant, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolor. Also available is a water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work. Chinese ink is similar to India ink, although various minor ingredients are added to enhance its brilliancy, range of tone, and working qualities. Most colored drawing inks are not permanent; chose made with permanent pigments are usually labeled with names of pigment ingredients rather than the names of hues. Printing ink is actually more closely related to paints than to the pen and brush inks.

inkblot

An image formed by dripping ink onto a piece of paper, and then folding the paper in half. In psychology, inkblots have been used in the Rorschach test. Painted versions of inkblots are called blotto paintings.

inlay

Making an image by setting thin pieces of a material precisely into a depressed ground. Examples of materials typically inlaid are wood, metal, stone, shell, glass, ivory and tile. Also, a piece of work made this way.

inscribe

To mark as with letters or numbers, often a short label, as an artist might formally mark his name, a title, the year, a dedication, etc.

installation

Art made for a specific space, exploiting certain qualities of that space, more often indoors than out. The term became widely used in the 1970s and 1980s, largely replacing the term "site-specific," which means the same thing. Installations may be temporary or permanent, but most will be known to posterity through documentation. As a consequence, one aspect of installations is often the difficulty with which they can be commoditized.

Example: Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party, 1979

intaglio

The collective term for several graphic processes in which prints are made from ink trapped in the grooves in an incised metal plate. Etchings and engravings are the most typical examples.

intarsia

Inlay work, primarily in wood and sometimes in mother-of-pearl, ivory, bone, marble, etc. This may result in either pattern or picture. Taken from the Italian "lavoro di intarsia." (pr. in-tahr'see-uh)

See Also:  veneer

intermediate colors

Also known as tertiary colors, they are produced by mixing unequal amounts of two primary colors. For example, adding more red to the combination of red and yellow will produce the intermediate color of red-orange. Intermediate colors are located between the primary and secondary colors on a color wheel. Other intermediate colors are orange-yellow, yellow-green, green-blue, blue-violet, and violet-red (also known as purple)-- all colors in the spectrum except violet-red-- a mixture of the two colors at the extremes of the visible spectrum.

intermodel

See indirect casting.

in-the-round

A description for sculpture which has been realized in three-dimensions. Sculpture which is in the round should be viewed from all angles and sides, as there is no true front.

Example: Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux's Ugolino and His Children, 1865-1867

Ionic

One of the three main architectural orders which describes the style of the capital of a column. The Ionic order is distinguished by its scrolled capital.

Example: Andrea Palladio's Villa Rotunda, c. 1566-1570

iris print

A recently developed printing process using advanced technology to create a lustrous, continuous-tone digital print that meets or exceeds the quality of traditional lithography and screen printing. Organic, water-based inks in four colors are applied to the paper's surface from tiny jets one tenth the diameter of a human hair.

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