Glossary N-Q

A – D | E – G | H – J | K – M | N – Q | R – S | T – V | W – Z


Naturalism – Similar to genre art, naturalism is representational rather than abstract.

Neoclassicism – a style of art that attempted a revival of art from the ancient Greeks and Romans. 


Object Painting – see Still Life

Odorless Mineral Spirits (OMS)- a paint thinner.

Oil Paint – A painting medium made with drying oils such as linseed or safflower oil, marble dust, pigment and occasionally honey.

Op Art – A style of art that focuses on Optical illusions.

Orphism –  Abstract art that derives from Cubism, but has a more colorful style. Orphism was in dedication to the poet and singer in Greek mythology called Orpheus. 

Opaque – Solid color that is not transparent or translucent.

Opposition – see Contrast

Outdoor Painting – See Plein Air 

Outline – 1. it is the border around an object in a painting; 2. preliminary sketch.


Painting Knife  – See Palette Knife

Painting – A discipline that involves coloring of a surface with the purpose of creating a picture.

Palette – 1. it is the surface of which to mix paint; 2. it is a group of chosen paints.

Palette Knife – A dull knife used to mix and scrape paint on a palette. It can also be used as a paint brush, also called a Painting Knife.

Pastel – 1. saturated colors; 2. dry medium of colors similar to chalk; 3 semi-moist paint medium similar to crayons.

Pattern – A repeating image.

Pigment – a natural or synthetic colored powder.

Plein Air – French term meaning open air. Outdoor painting is very popular today. It began as Impressionism which traditionally was created by an artist’s first impression of a site and depicted in oil paint. Now Plein Air is in its own class, as artists render their works out doors in styles from impressionism to realism and in a variety of art media.

Pochade Box – A small box that is used to paint outside, especially for landscapes painters. Evolved from the traditional paintbox that was made from a cigar box.

Preliminary – the initial idea, sketch or painting

Primer – See gesso

Pochoir – The art of using stencils. See Stencil.

Pointillism – series of dots that create a picture.

Pop Art – Art that depicts popular culture. 

Poster Colors – Opaque paints that are used in temporary art or illustrations, signs, etc. 

Primary Color – Red, Yellow, Blue in painting.

Primitivism – Folk arts, tribal arts.


Quiet Area – (in a painting)