Some Basic Artistic Terms

Every profession has its own vocabulary. Before you go any further in this book, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with the terms defined here.

Highlight: The side of an object receiving light and/or the actual brightest spot within a highlighted area.

Cast shadow: The shadow of an object in its environment.

Contrast: The relationship of light and dark values. Black juxtaposed with white is a high- contrast relationship; light gray next to dark gray is a lower contrast.

Ellipse: An oval; a circle seen at an angle.

Horizon line: The apparent junction of earth and sky, without regard to valleys, hills, mountains, or buildings.

Parallel: As applied to lines or surfaces, always the same distance from each other.

Picture plane: The actual surface of a drawing or painting.

Perpendicular: At a right, or 90 degree angle to a gIven line or surface.

Proximity shadow: The shadow occurring at the point of contact or near-contact of two objects or surfaces.

Plane: Any flat surface, such as a wall, floor, or meadow.

Shadow: The absence of light on an object, as distinguished from a cast shadow.

Value: The relative lightness or darkness of a color.

Vanishing point: A point at which parallel lines receding into space appear to meet.

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