December 26, 2020
Mike Jr

Glossary of Painting Terms for Beginners

Experienced artists toss around words and assume you’re familiar with them. If you’re a beginner – like most Paint and Sip LIVE guests – then you may not know where to start.

Experienced artists toss around words and assume you’re familiar with them. If you’re a beginner – like most Paint and Sip LIVE guests – then you may not know where to start.

Today, we’re highlighting some of the most common painting terms for beginners you should know before you start.

Blending: Blending is a gradual transition between two colors. Typically, you blend paints when both colors are wet to create the smoothest possible transition. As paints dry, it makes blending issue. This is more noticeable with acrylics, as they dry more quickly. Effective blending allows you to shift between areas of your painting with less contrast.

Binder: Binders are the substances that hold paints together. We call them ‘acrylics’ because they contain acrylic polymers as a binder to hold them together.

Canvas: Canvas is the surface on which you paint. The two biggest categories of canvas include cotton canvas and linen canvas.

Complementary Colors: Colors that are directly across from one another on the color wheel are called complementary colors.

Cotton Duck: Cotton duck is a type of textile used in canvas. It sounds weird, but ‘duck’ comes from the Dutch word ‘doek’, which means cloth.

Curing: As acrylic paint dries, it cures. Curing is the length of time it takes for acrylic paint to be fully set and permanent.

Dry Brush: If you have little moisture on your brush, then you have a dry brush. With dry brush technique, you deliberately keep your brush dry to apply small amounts of paint to a surface.

Film: If a fine layer of paint or varnish has hardened, then this is called a film. When you have too little binder in the paint, it can create a weak film of paint.

Glaze: Artists build glazes on top of each other for depth and color. Glazes are thin, transparent layers of paint.  

Gloss: Gloss refers to the sheen of the paint or varnish. Some paints and varnishes have a glossy surface when they dry, while others are less glossy or matte.

Hue: Hue is the color of the paint – like orange or blue.

Limited Palette: Some artists restrict the number of colors they use in a painting. Instead of having 20 colors on their palette, for example, they use just 3 or 5 colors. This is a limited palette.

Medium: Medium is the mixture you add to your paint to dilute it. Acrylics, oils, and watercolors are the three main types of media, with most beginners opting for acrylics.

Palette: Palette is the surface on which you mix colors. It could be a wooden palette or a paper plate.

Palette Knife: A palette knife is a flexible, knife-like object you use to mix colors. Beginners might use brushes to mix colors, but experts use palette knives to avoid weakening brushes.

Permanence: Higher-quality paints have better permanence, which means they retain colors more effectively over time. Cheaper paints have weaker permanence.

Pigment: Pigments are the natural chemicals in paints that give them their color. They’re the raw materials from which paints are made. More expensive paints have more pigment or higher-quality raw ingredients, while cheaper paints might have synthetic ingredients.

Priming: When you prime a surface, you modify the absorbency, texture, and color of that surface before you start painting.

Shade: Shade refers to the color variations when you add black to a color.

Stretcher Bar: Stretcher bars are the wooden frames you use to stretch raw canvas.

Tint: Tint refers to the changes in color as you apply black or white paint to a hue.

Tooth: Tooth is the coarseness of the weave on the surface of the canvas. The tooth pulls the paint from your brush onto your painting. Some artists prefer extra fine textures (say, for detailed pieces) while others prefer coarse textures (for less detailed painting).

Value: The relationship between light and dark in a painting, instead of just the colors of the painting. The best paintings make sense in black and white or color because of effective use of value.

Varnish: Varnish is a final layer applied to a finished painting to protect it from the elements.

Weight: The weight of a canvas refers to its thickness. Typical canvases are labeled in ounces, like 8oz, 10oz, or 12oz.

Most Of Our Guests Are Complete Beginners!

Paint and Sip LIVE painting classes are a combination of a party and a painting class. We have a live DJ. We have a professional painting instructor.

Instead of sitting there painting in silence, you enjoy a party atmosphere while flexing your creative muscle.

Check our event schedule and book your beginner painting class with Paint and Sip LIVE today.