Glossary of Art Terms
Anyone can enjoy art - whether that's discovering new abstract artists, following your favourite figurative painter for updates, or browsing galleries for that 'one day' dream.
Sometimes though, those of us who spend all our time surrounded by artworks, use language you'd never hear anywhere else - and we know some of it can be a bit confusing. We hope this glossary will give you clarity on the language we use elsewhere on the website, so you can easily see what you're looking at.
If we've missed anything though, do let us know. And, most important of all, we - the team here at the Rose Gallery - are here. We're at the end of an email, or phone call, to help you with any questions you might have about artists, artworks, the buying process - well anything really.
So, if you're at all unsure about anything you find on the website, how to find the right piece for your partner, or what would fit in your living room space, just get in touch. We'd love to talk.
Abstract art is not realistic. Although it may be based on a real subject, feeling or place, the work doesn't depict these in a way which reflects true life appearance but often expresses patterns, shapes, lines and colour - this can be seen in the works of Simon Kenny
Acrylic is a synthetic resin which dries quickly carrying vibrant colour effectively; it offers transparent brilliance within a density and hardness.
Historically, an Artist Proof was created to ensure the artist was happy with the quality of any print while today, some Artist Proofs are used to present a different format to the main run. Within any limited edition print run, only 10% of the run can be labelled as Artist Proofs which are traditionally kept (or distributed) by the artist themselves. Marked with an AP after the number displayed on the front of the piece, an Artist Proof is often more valuable - perhaps because of they can only be released after the main print run has sold out.
On select pieces of artwork we use Artscreen which is a speciality glazing product. Artscreen is a 2mm picture framing acrylic alternative to glass offering excellent image clarity this helps reduce the risk of damage in transit to larger pieces of artwork when despatched from the gallery.
Block mounting describes the mounting of limited edition canvas prints onto board, giving the print a much closer finish to the look and feel of the original piece. While these artworks do require framing, because the print is canvas there is no need for glass in the framing process.
Board Only Artwork
Board Only Artwork is created when a limited edition work has been printed onto canvas which is then bonded to a board and varnished. Unlike canvas editions which are boxed around a frame (referred to as box canvas), a board only artwork will need to be framed for display. The varnished piece, although requiring a frame, can be presented without glass which can make the artwork seem more accessible and tactile. Anthony Dobson produces his work as canvas bonded to board.
Canvas is a woven cloth, the surface on which many artists choose to paint.
A Canvas Original is the piece created directly by the artist onto a canvas.
Certificate of Authenticity
A Certificate of Authenticity proves the origin of an artwork and should therefore always be kept safe. For limited edition works, the certificate is signed by the publisher and details the artist's name, the title of the work, the size of the edition and of the piece itself. Purchasing artwork without a certificate of authenticity is not advised, meaning the COA will be required for any secondary sale.
Certificate of Valuation
Provided with all original artwork, a Certificate of Valuation details the market value of your piece at the date of purchase; it also includes the title of the work, the artist and sizing details. This document is essential for any forward sale and should be kept safe.
Cityscape describes works which represent the the physical aspects of a city or urban area, while there may be figures or objects in the piece the setting is the focus - it is the urban equivalent of a landscape. We have many examples of cityscape art.
Contemporary art is generally considered any art produced since the second half of the twentieth century.
Decoupage is the practice of cutting designs from paper and applying them to a surface creating a collage.
Digital Mixed Media
Digital Mixed Media involves the combination of two or more digital techniques such as digital painting, illustration, photography etc.
A diptych is a piece made up of two sections which are intended for display together. They may be two individual pieces presented as a pair or hinged together.
Dye Sublimation is a digital printing process which transfers imagery onto materials such as metal, glass or plastic.
For prints, the edition number is shown in the corner of the artwork together with the total print size - for example 11/295 is edition number 11 from a total print run of 295. Once all 295 prints have been sold no further images will be released or printed and the only way to secure the artwork is through the secondary market.
The term Encaustic mean 'to burn in'. In art terms this is a technique in which pigment is mixed with melted wax and resin then applied to a surface while hot.
An export edition is a limited edition print from an Original artwork. The term export is applied when the edition is originally intended for sale outside of the UK and is most commonly applies to Doug Hyde artwork. Once a UK edition has sold out, any export editions remaining may be offered to the UK market. These are identical in format & quality to the UK release with the only difference being that the edition number will have 'E' next to it, indicating it was part of an export release.
Larger paper limited edition artwork can be presented float mounted. This means that the artwork does not have the traditional paper mounted border effectively meaning the image occupies all of the frame. The paper print is mounted on top of the backing board.
A framed piece has been set into the frame and is ready to be displayed with hanging strings included on the back of the artwork. The frame will have been chosen to complement the piece and is sometimes an integral piece of the artwork itself.
Giclee is the usual type of printing process for fine art prints - considered far more accurate when reproducing an original artwork into prints, this is because of the high print resolution, pigment based dye and superior print surfaces used. These advances processes and materials ensure the quality of a giclee print will be retained far longer than older lithograph prints.
Hand Embellished or Hand Finished
Hand embellishing (or hand finishing) is the process of enhancing a limited edition print with additional paint or resin to enhance its appearance, adding detail and depth - Yuvi brings us examples of this.
Home Consultation Service
Our Home Consultation Service brings the gallery service into your home. Having our experienced art consultants bring a selection of artwork into your space will help you see which pieces are best suited to your interior. We'll bring pieces suited in style, size and colour to your home and tastes - helping you make the right decision. Find out more here.
A landscape is a general description for any artists work which depicts natural scenery, while there may be figures or objects in the piece the natural setting is the primary focus. Some examples of the Rose Gallery's landscape works can be seen here.
LED lighting provides another level to artwork, bringing light in forms which the artist chooses to enhance the piece. LEDs can provide coloured or white light with the illumination bringing something new to the art - as seen in the work Keep Smiling by Doug Hyde.
Lenticular artwork gives the illusion of different images within the same artwork when viewed from different angles. Examples include Doug Hyde's artwork 'Never Give up' which - viewed from different perspectives - can appear as either a jumbled Rubik's cube and sad face or the completed cube with a happy face and Nuala Mulligan's Enlightenment which depicts butterflies clearing to reveal a skull.
A Limited Edition is a print produced from an original painting. Limited editions are restricted to a specific number of prints, once all these prints have been sold no further copies are permitted with the artwork then only available via the secondary market - a situation which may increase the value of the artwork over time. Each limited edition print will be signed by the artist on the front of the artwork and individually numbered showing also the total edition size.
Mixed Media is when an artist uses more than one medium such as acrylic and oil paint, wax and resin, fabrics, print, figures, or other materials (e.g. glass, plastic, pebbles or glitter) - Rebel Rebel by Mr Sly is a great example.
Mounted artwork refers to the paper card border that protects & surrounds paper artwork. The mount helps to protect the artwork from damage as well as providing a professional aesthetic finish. Mounted artwork will require framing before it can be displayed. All paper limited edition artwork sold by The Rose Gallery is provided mounted, often with a double or triple mount in keeping with the quality of the print. When purchasing artwork as a gift, some customers opt for mounted rather than framed artwork so that the recipient can choose their own frame moulding. Gary Walton and Sam Toft produce wonderful mounted artworks.
Naive art is usually simple and unsophisticated, produced by an artist who has had no formal art school training.
New releases are the most recent works to arrive at the gallery
Oil paintings have been created with the use of oil paint, which has the pigment bound by oil. Oil paints are thick and slow drying allowing the artist to build colour and texture or blend shades and work in different ways.
An Original is the piece created directly by the artist.
A painterly style is seen in pieces which show defined brush strokes, where the painting itself is noticeable.
A Paper Original is the piece created directly by the artist onto paper.
A Paper Print is a work printed via the giclee print process onto paper (see also the Giclee and Mounted Artwork descriptions).
An artists portfolio is their collection of artwork created over time.
A print is a reproduction of an artist's Original painting. The artist will determine how many prints should be created, this is the edition size - common edition sizes are 195, 295. Once the edition has sold out, no further copies can be made.
On a Remarque Edition, the artist has added a hand drawn image within the border of a limited edition artwork. Generally, only a small number of a limited edition run are presented as remarques where the artist has added their illustration; Sam Toft & Gary Walton both occasionally incorporate pencil sketches into their artwork. The price of a remarque edition artwork will be higher than a standard limited edition as it includes this hand drawn element from the artist. These hand drawn sketches are most frequently added in pencil to paper mounted artwork. Here's an example - The Flight Home by Gary Walton.
Resin is a sticky substance to which pigment is added creating an adhesive with a strong bond and a distinct colour.
A seascape is a general description for an artists work depicting coastlines and the sea, while there may be figures or objects in the piece the depiction of the water itself is the primary focus. Philip Gray has produced a number of wonderful examples.
The primary art market is for the first sale of an artist's work - either direct from the artist or, most frequently, from art galleries. The secondary market, on the other hand, refers to the resale of the artwork by private owners.
An artist will sign both their original art and all limited edition prints - normally on the face of the artwork. Instead of their usual signature, some artists use a symbol to denote their endorsement.
Silkscreen editions are created by a screen printing technique with ink printing stencils used to create the artwork.
The slip is the inner moulding used when framing canvas art or art painted on board where, traditionally, two frames are used.
Where the final finish of the artwork has a texture which can be seen, this is textured. It might be achieved by the building up of paint or addition of hand embellishments but these add to the depth and impact of the final work.
A triptych is a piece made up of three sections intended for display together, these may be individual pieces presented as a group or hinged together - Danielle O'Connor Akiyama's work 'Golden Reach' is a wonderful example.
Individual pieces which are all finished differently will be unique, some artists create a collection inspired by the same icon but using different perspectives, colours or embellishments so each is unique.
A varnished piece has been finished with a layer of varnish to protect the artwork and create a particular texture and feel.