The Wet Canvas Art Glossary: H - K

Article No. 126
Created: 08:19 AM 10.01.04
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hardboard - A manufactured board made from wood fibres bonded together using heat and pressure, usually without the addition of an adhesive. Highly variable depending on the woods used and the method of manufacture. Commonly known in the US and Australia by the brand name “Masonite”, the panels are no longer being manufactured under that brand name. See panel

harmonious colors – Related colors which appear good when placed together. Analagous colors and sometimes complementary colours can be harmonious colors.

harmony – Where the elements of a work combine into an aesthetically pleasing whole. See the Composition and Design forum. 

hardness – When referring to graphite or charcoal, the degree of softness or hardness of the lead. Hard leads (labeled with H) tend to be lighter in value, while softer leads are darker (labeled with B).  Hard leads include 9H (lightest) to 2H (darkest of the hard leads).  Softest leads start at 9B (darkest) and vary to 2B (lightest of the soft leads).  In between the two scales are H, HB, B and F.

hatching and cross-hatching – In drawing, using parallel lines of varying closeness to create shading. Cross- hatching is drawing in lines at an angle over the initial lines. See the Drawing and Sketching or Pen and Ink forums.

heighten – The opposite of shading. Raising the value of an area with white or a pale color.

hiding power– Related to opacity, the ability of a pigment to cover and obscure colors beneath it.

highlight – The brightest area of a work. To highlight is to emphasize an area or aspect of a work through the use of color. 

hue – One of the three colour attributes or dimensions; the basic colour name - blue, green, red etc. See also saturation and value. Also a term used in paint names to indicate substitution of a traditional pigment by another pigment or mixture of pigments, for cost, rarity or toxicity reasons.

hygroscopic – The tendency of a material to attract moisture from the air. Hide glues such as 'rabbit skin glue' are notably hygroscopic which is why they are often no longer recommended as size for canvas preparation.








illustration - A work, which serves to explain text or a story. See the Illustration Forum.

illustration board – A strong paper or cardboard.

impasto – Thick painting, often with a pronounced texture.

Impressionism – A style of painting in which the reality of a scene or object is loosely interpreted in a work so that the strongest impressions of form and colour are retained. Originally a French movement, some of the more famous exponents were Monet and Degas. The word originates from some of the early exhibitions of their work, in which critics dismissed their work as only a vague impression of the true reality.

imprimatura –  A thinned first application of color applied to a ground, often simply so that one would not be painting directly onto white; also used to reduce the absorbency of traditional gesso when painting in oils. Usually an earth color or a neutral gray.

incident light – The light, which hits a surface. This light, provided it is not reflected light from, or refracted through, another surface has the full colours of the spectrum represented in its wavelength.

inert – In chemistry, a non-reactive element. Inert materials are important in art, as they are desirable materials in archiving works, being less prone to chemical change and degradation of the support or discoloration of the work.

ink -- Liquid media containing pigment(s) or dyes, used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Includes India ink, made for use in permanent works. It is water resistant when dry, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolor. Water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work.

intensity – The brilliance of a color

intermediate colors – Made by mixing unequal amounts of primary colors. Between the primary and secondary colors on a color wheel. Sometimes called tertiary colors.

interference color -- Colorless, transparent paints made from titanium-coated mica flakes instead of pigments. Also known as "opalescent colors," their metallic look gives the perception of a color shift when viewed from different angles.

iridescence – Bright, lustrous, rainbow–like colors which can change with position.





JPEG – A standard digital image format often used on the internet. Named after the Joint Photographic Expert Group that drew up the standard. See also Bitmap.






key – A term for the dominant 'tone' of a painting, usually in relation to its value. A high-key painting is light in value overall, a low-key painting dark in value. Sometimes also used to describe an overall hue bias.


Kolinsky – A type of marten native to Siberia that yields hairs used in brush making. The longer guard hairs from the tail of the male Kolinsky are considered better than any other material for making fine-quality brushes, particularly for watercolor, with superior point-holding, spring and the ability to hold water.

kneaded eraser - An eraser that can be manipulated into any shape in order to remove pencil and many other marks cleanly. Also called a putty rubber.

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