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Glossary of Terms

Archival Inks
Inks manufactured to resist fading.

Archival Paper
Paper manufactured to a specific neutral ph level. Archival paper is acid-free and lignin-free and is manufactured to last long term without changes in its color.

Aspect Ratio
The ratio of a shape’s width to its height.

The substance in paint that binds together the pigment and makes the paint stick to whatever it is painted on.

The stylized way an artist will brush paint onto a surface.

Commonly made of a heavy cotton fabric, a canvas is stretched tight across a stretcher bar and stapled.  Canvas is not covered with glass or acrylic.


A technique of art making where the artist uses materials other than traditional paint and assembles different items to create an image.  

An arrangement of elements in a drawing or painting.

Digital Print
A fine art print made using computer technology.


Two pieces of art meant to be hung in a specific orientation so the composition flows from one piece into another.

A process by which a piece of art is bonded to a backing board using a specially formulated paper which is most frequently activated by placement in a heated vacuum press.

A piece of artwork that consists of only two hues of color where one color may be black .


Painted with wax colors fixed with heat, or with any process in which colors are burned in.

A particular gradation of color; a shade or tint.

The application of thick layers of pigment to a canvas or other surface in painting.

The purity and brightness of a color.

Limited Edition
The publisher and the artist have agreed to produce no more than a specified number of prints of a particular image. Limited Editions are usually signed and then numbered by the artist by notating the number of the print and the total edition size e.g. 3/30 just below the image. Frequently the edition will specify a number of artists proofs (a/p's) in addition to the main edition. Traditionally a/ps were given to the artist as partial payment.

A component of the cell walls in plants that can also be found in manufactured paper.  It is believed to contribute to the chemical degradation of paper if not removed during manufacturing.

Area of white paper or canvas beyond the image.

A stiff cardboard with a window cut out of the center, traditionally used to provide airspace between the artwork and the glass. It also can be used to add size and decoration.

The liquid in which pigments are suspended. Also a material chosen by the artist for working. Plural is media.

Open Editions
Prints made in an unspecified /unlimited number of reproductions.

The surface on which a painter will mix his colors. Also the range of colors used by an artist.

Particles with inherent color that can be mixed with adhesive binders to form paint.

Term for a color darkened with black.

A wooden chassis for textile supports that has expandable corners.

The paper or canvas on which the artwork was printed, drawn, or painted.

The basic substrata of the painting; paper, cotton, linen, wall, etc.

Three pieces of art meant to be hung in a specific orientation so the composition flows from one piece into another.

The relative lightness or darkness of a hue. Black is a low value. White is a high value.