Glossary (with Chinese)

I’m now living and working in China, so I’ve included Chinese here… It may prove useful if you’re ordering prints, buying art supplies etc.

 

acid-free paper无酸纸 wú suān zhǐ

 

airbrush喷枪画法 pēn qiāng huà fǎ

 

alla prima (wet-into-wet) 湿画法 shī huà fǎ

 

art print (reproduction)限量版原作印刷画 xiàn liàng bǎn yuán zuò yìn shuā huà
There is no easy way to say “art print” in Chinese, I guess because they are not that popular yet. This rather wordy translation is the clearest version I’ve found, it means “limited edition print of an original art work”. You might also see 美术复制品 but doesn’t sound as classy.

 

bas-relief 浅浮雕 qiǎn fú diāo
French for “low relief”, from the original Italian “basso-rilievo”, a sculpture where a small depth of carving (usually just a few inches) is used to give the illusion of three dimensions. Contrasts with high relief “alto-rilievo” where more than 50% of the three dimensional sculpture will have been carved out.

 

chiaroscuro (“light-dark”) 明暗法 míng àn fǎ
The use of light and shade to create depth and volume in a painting.

 

chroma
Saturation – the higher the chroma the closer the hue is to pure colour.

 

cold press (paper)冷压 / 中纹理 (水彩纸)lěng yā / zhōng wén lǐ

 

colourant
Something that changes the hue of something else – paint, dye, ink and pigment are all colourants.

 

contour
Outline; the line that defines or bounds a shape or object.

“Contour cannot be continuously defined all around all units and a sense of space be achieved. Contour becomes lost and found and interlaced or woven into other areas in nature. If the edge is kept hard all around, it cannot avoid sticking to the picture plane, losing the feeling of space.” – Andrew Loomis (CI)

 

drawing
“Real drawing is an interpretation, selection, and statement of a contour with the greatest possible meaning. Sometimes drawing is not the actual contour at all, but the one that will express the grace, character, and charm of the subject.” – Andrew Loomis

 

fixative 喷雾素描/粉笔定画液 pēn wù sù miáo / fěn bǐ dìng huà yè

 

font
One instance of a typeface. 10 point Arial italic is a font. The Arial family is a typeface. See Typeface

 

grisaille (underpainting)纯灰色打底技巧 chún huī sè dǎ dǐ jì qiǎo
There is no good way to say grisaille in the sense of an imitation of sculpture, you’d have to explain it: 一种用浓淡不同的灰色作画的单色画法,尤指模拟浮雕的画法

 

gum arabic阿拉伯胶 Ā lā bó jiāo

 

hot press (paper) 热压 / 细纹理 (水彩纸) rè yā / xì wén lǐ

 

impasto厚涂(画法) hòu tú (huàfǎ)
(From Italian: paste) Spreading paint thickly on a canvas so that it has a three dimensional quality. Usually an oil technique, but can also be done with acrylics.

 

ground
The surface on which you paint, often a white colour. The ground is usually a coating, like gesso. See support.

 

linseed oil
also known as flaxseed oil, is a clear to yellowish oil obtained from the dried ripe seeds of the flax plant. It is a “drying oil”, meaning that it dries to a solid when exposed to air. Apart from its use as a binder in oil paint, it is also used as an ingredient in wood varnish, and is edible. Combined with chalk dust, it was a traditional sealant for glass windows. It is used to make linoleum (combined with wood and cork dust), and linocut printing is just printing with thick linoleum. Boiled linseed oil is also used in painting, but has a quicker drying time. See also Stand oil. Note: Pure linseed oil darkens over time.

 

picture frame (in fine art, photography, cinema) 取景框qǔ jǐng kuàng

 

pigment
A substance that gives something a particular colour…In paint and ink, the pigment is usually a powdered colourant suspended in a liquid vehicle (the binder, the thing that makes the colour stick to the canvas or paper). A fugitive pigment is one that is not lightfast, that either fades or becomes black over time.

 

ridge
Synonyms: Hump
Describes the phenomenon of the darkest part of the shadow appearing nearest to the light.

 

rough (watercolour paper) 粗纹理(水彩纸)cū wén lǐ

 

sable brush 貂毫笔 diāo háo bǐ

 

shade
A colour mixed with black.

 

stand oil
Linseed oil heated to near 300 °C for a few days in the complete absence of air (if it’s been heated and exposed to air then it’s “boiled linseed oil“). Highly viscous, gives highly uniform coatings that “dry” to more elastic coatings than linseed oil itself, which means it hides the lines of the brush stroke (sign painters use it a lot).

 

stock photo 资料图片 zī liào tú piàn
As with “art print”, there’s no established way to say this in Chinese. 资料图片 works ok, there’s also 编辑图片.

 

strapline (UK English), tagline (American English) 品牌标语 pǐn pái biāo yǔ
“In space, no one can hear you scream.” A memorable phrase (usually a single sentence) that is linked to a brand or product (film, book).

 

support
The material on which a painting is made, such as canvas, paper, or wood. Usually a ground (like gesso primer) is applied to the support (unless the support is paper).

 

surface texture (of support) 表面肌理 biǎo miàn jī lǐ

 

tint
A colour mixed with white

 

tone
A colour mixed with grey. The amount of light or darkness in an area.

“To tone down a color is to lower its chroma, by mixing with it’s complement or with gray.” – Wet Canvas

Faber Birren differentiated between tone and value in painting as follows:
Tone: As above, anything that is not a pure colour (because it is a mix of hues, grey has been added, etc)
Value: The range from light to dark, with white and black at the two extremes.

 

typeface
A typeface is the name under which all the characters (letters, numbers, punctuation marks), in all styles (roman, italic, bold, etc.) and sizes, of a particular design are unified. A font is a typeface in a single size and a single style. So Bembo is a typeface, but 10 point Bembo Italic is a font.
– David Airey

 

underpainting (verb)打底 dǎ dǐ

 

value
The range from light to dark, with white and black at the two extremes. – Faber Birren.

The extent to which a colour reflects or absorbs light. Cadmium reflects a significant amount of light to give a high value whilst Yellow Ochre absorbs more light to give a lower value. – Winsor & Newton

 

wash (watercolour)(水彩的)薄层 shuǐcǎi de báo céng

 

watercolour paper 水彩纸 shuǐ cǎi zhǐ

 

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