Glossary: C

Cadmium is a metal found in several compounds: cadmium oxide, cadmium carbonate, cadmium chloride, cadmium sulfate, and cadmium sulfide. It is used in permanent pigments (reds, oranges, and yellows). It is also used in electroplating, in solder for aluminum, as a constituent of easily fusible alloy, as a deoxidizer in nickel plating, in-process engraving, and in nickel-cadmium batteries. Cadmiums are toxic and should be handled using PPE (Protective Personal Equipment).

Calipers - An instrument to measure the thickness or diameter of an object. It consists of a pair of movable metal or wooden arms with curved, pointed ends hinged together or having a fixed and movable arm on a graduated stock.

Calligraphy - The art of beautiful handwriting, often for decorative purposes.

Camera Obscura - The origin of the present-day camera. Its simplest form consisted of a darkened room or box with a small hole through one wall. Light rays could pass through the hole to transmit an inverted image of the scene outside the room onto a flat surface inside. It was first mentioned by Aristotle in the fourth century BCE and employed through the centuries as an aid to drawing. These are Latin words, literally meaning "darkroom."

Camouflage - The means, effect, or act of concealing someone or something — making a person or thing indistinguishable from his or their surroundings.

Canvas - Commonly used to support a swatch of canvas for oil or acrylic painting, the canvas is a heavy woven fabric made of flax or cotton. Its surface is typically prepared for painting by priming with a ground. Linen — made of flax — is the standard canvas. It is solid and sold by the roll and in smaller pieces.

Cartoon - The term has two well-defined meanings. Initially, a cartoon was a full-scale and detailed preparatory rendering for a painting, tapestry, or fresco. Now, a cartoon is a drawing that shows people or things in a humorous situation and is often accompanied by a caption.

Cast Shadow - A shadow projected by an object onto another surface, unlike a form shadow. This is the darkest value, the black in the first box on the left of your value scale. This value occurs in places wholly shielded from the light source or any reflections. These areas are usually found among the shadows the subject casts on other surfaces.

Charcoal - Charcoal is probably one of the oldest art materials. It was, after all, what our pre-historic ancestors used to draw on cave walls. Charcoal is an impure form of elemental carbon made by burning selected woods in anaerobic conditions.

Caustics - The reflection or refraction of light by the curved glass or by water waves, causing spots, arcs, or bands of light to be projected onto another surface.

Center of Interest - Part of artwork the viewer notices first; the most essential part of an artwork.

Chiaroscuro - refers to the distribution of light and shade within a picture or a work of art created entirely with light and shade only.

Chroma refers to a color's intensity, strength, or purity. The perceived strength of surface color, the degree of difference from neutrality, is defined quantitatively by standard color samples. High chroma surface colors reflect the high saturation and brightness light for a given illumination level.

Cityscape - An artwork showing a view of a city or skyline.

Classical - Term applied to artwork that exhibits the characteristics of ancient Greek and Roman art, such as proportion, balance, and idealized forms and themes.

Cobalt is a chemical element with the symbol Co and atomic number 27. Like nickel, cobalt is found in the Earth's crust only in chemically combined form, save for small deposits in alloys of natural meteoric iron. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a complex, lustrous, silver-gray metal. Before the 19th century, cobalt was predominantly used as a pigment.

Collage - Taken from the French word paste-up. This is done by combining pieces of cloth, magazines, and other found objects.

Color is the most expressive element of art and is seen by how light reflects off a surface. Color creates the illusion of depth, as red colors seem to come forward while blue recede into the distance. Color, particularly contrasting colors, is also used to draw attention to a particular part of the image.

Color Accent - A small area of color that stands out from the rest of the composition, usually because it's complementary or more intensely chromatic.

Color Cast - The dominant wavelength of a light source, typically measured in degrees Kelvin. Also, the dominant color woven throughout a color scheme is expressed as the center of the area of a gamut.

Color Constancy - The perception of the stability of local colors despite changes in overall color cast.

Color Family - A group of related colors, such as warm and cool colors are color families.

Color Note - A particular color sample or swatch defined by hue, value, and chroma.

Color Rendering Index (CRI) - A measure of how accurately artificial light simulates the appearance of colors in natural sunlight.

Color Scheme - The selection of colors used in a composition.

Color Space - The dimensions of hue, value, and chroma define the three-dimensional volume.

Color String - A series of prepared paint mixtures, usually modulating a color note in various value steps.

Color Wheel - A circular figure distributing the spectrum's hues around a circle.

Complementary Color - Two hues of opposing or balanced color characteristics.

Composition - Art composition is the visual arrangement in a work of art. The term composition means 'putting together' and can apply to any work of art arranged or put together using conscious thought. Depending on the context, the composition is often used interchangeably with various terms such as design, form, visual ordering, or formal structure. The composition is commonly called page layout in graphic design and desktop publishing. Composition includes The Rule of Thirds, The Rule of Odds, Space, Simplification, Limiting Focus, Geometry & Symmetry.

Construct - To build or make something by combining materials; additive art.

Content - Refers to what the work of art means; the idea(s) it expresses.

Context - The varied and interwoven circumstances in which a work of art was created. These can include factors that pertain to the artist, the intended function of the work of art, the historical period when the artwork was produced, and its reception and interpretation at that time.

Contour - Outline of a shape or the surface of a form. A line that represents such an outline.

Contour Line - Lines representing the outer edge and undulating surfaces within a form, such as shapes, wrinkles, and folds.

Contrast - Contrast shows the differences and diversities in artwork by combining an unusual or different element. This can also create a focal point. Contrast provides an artwork with something interesting to break up any repetitions.

Convenience Mixture - A blend of pigments that provides a valuable paint color for which no single pigment exists.

Converging Lines - Actual or implied lines that move toward one another and conjoin at a point in space.

Creativity - Simply stated, the ability to create. However, the word has connotations of originality, productivity, imagination, and innovation.

Critique - A close examination; a review with feedback to encourage improvement.

Cross Hatching - Parallel, crossed lines drawn in more than one direction gradually creating a denser and denser pattern; often used to create a darker value in drawings or printmaking.

Back to top.

Previous Next

Contact Form