Art Jargon: How to Describe an Artwork like a Pro!

Art Jargon: How to Describe an Artwork like a Pro!

Have you ever found yourself in front of an artwork and unable to find the words to describe it?

Do not despair; we have compiled a list of words to help you on your way to critiquing any artwork!

A good way to start is by focusing your description on line, contrast, tone, texture, scale, colour and shape. Here are a few descriptive words under each heading to get you started:

                                                                        

 Line 

Flowing

Delicate

Simple

Bold

Thick

Thin

Contrast

Dramatic

Subtle

Strong

Texture

Rough

Fine

Coarse

Smooth

 Tone     

Subtle

Contrasting

Muted

Dramatic

Scale

Large

Small

Intimate

Miniature

Shape 

Organic

Curvaceous

Angular

Elongated

Colour

Bold

Vibrant

Subtle

Naturalistic

Pale

Scale 

Large

Small

Intimate

Miniature

Monumental

Other useful terms:

Saturation- refers to the brightness of colour

Geometric – refers to the shapes such as circles, triangles, squares, etc.

Organic – free flowing or rounded

Symmetry – meaning it is equal on both sides

Asymmetrical – unequal proportioned elements

Flat tones – no tonal effect in the colour

Negative space – the space around the actual form of art

Depth – the illusion of space

Broken colour – dabs or small amounts of colour

Focal point – the spot that stands out in the artwork

Distorted – a shape that is changed and no longer looks proportioned

Now you’ve picked up the lingo get yourself down to a PopUp Painting event to practice!!

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