Artist's Resources∼Artist's Dictionary M

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Macaroni   An uncomplimentary colloquial term for a stringy design or pattern.
Macchia   (Italian, "spot" or "stain") A style of painting or sketching inspots or patches of color in an impressionistic manner.
Macchiaioli   A group of 19th century Florentine landscape Artists who painted with patches of color and called their Work "Macchio".
Mace-head   A tool used in mezzotint to produce graininess or burr where desired; also called a "Mattoir".
Machine finish   A finish on paper made by calendering or polishing by mechanical means.
Macle   A hollow lozenge or diamond shape.
Maculature   In intaglio printmaking, pulling a second print without reinking, to remove surface ink or color.
Magic realism   A type of painting of the 20th century where almost photographic realsim is acheived. Sometimes the realsim is combined with the fantastic through strangely related subject material and mysterious light source treatment; creating metaphysical effects reminiscent of de Chirico and others.
Mahlstick, Maulstick   A stick about 30" long, of wood or telescoping aluminum, used as a rest to balance the hand and arm when drawing or painting. See also Artist's bridge.
Makeover   In graphic printing, any plate which is reworked or remade.
Makimono   A Japanese horizontal scroll painting that is unrolled with the left hand and rolled up with the right hand; after the viewing, the scroll is rewound so it can again be viewed from right to left. See also Kakemono.
Malevich, Kasimir   (1878-1935) Russian; his early Work was fauve, then cubistic and finally he founded Suprematism, a nonobjective geometric movement.
Mallet   A wooden hammer used in sculpture, leatherwork and woodcarving.
Mandala   A Hindu or Buddhist symbol of the universe, based upon a square within a circle.
Manet, Edouard   (1832-1883) French, a fine technician who was much influenced by the study of Velasques and other Spanish masters. He is classified among the French Impressionists.
Manifesto   A public declaration of the theories of an Art movement.
Mannerism   A style of painting in Italy and France about 1525-1600, marked by emotional distortion, harsh coloring, and individualism, said to be a reaction of the Art of High Renaissance; major Artists were El Greco and Tintoretto.
Maquette   In sculpture, a small, rough model, used as a guide for the larger piece, also called a "Bozzetto".
Marble dust   A crushed marble used as a texture in print-making and pastels or mixed into plaster for frescoes.
Marble paper   A paper that imitates a marble pattern.
Marbling   1. In painting, a mingling of colors that form an irregular pattern s found in marble. 2. A process for making a convoluting marble-like pattern for decorating books, etc.; by floating colors in a gum solution, swirling them, and transferring the pattern to paper by contact.
Marker pad   Paper in pad form made especially for felt-tip pens; colors flow easily with no bleeding.
Marlite   Trade name for a plastic covered Masonite.
Maroger medium   A gel-like medium or megilp. See Megilp.
Marouflage   The process of attaching a painted canvas to a wall with acrylic binders.
Marquetry   A decorative Art in which small pieces of wood, ivory, metal, or other material are inlaid in furniture, usually forming floral or geometric patterns.
Maruyama School   An 18th century Japanese school using realistic approach to painting; started by the scholar Maruyama Okyo.
Mask   1. White paint or paper used to cover or hide an area. 2. A film or resist used to cover and hold an area in silk screen and airbrush. 3. A mold of a human or animal face, used as a wall hanging. 4. A cover worn over the face, often weird and bizzare.
Masking film   A thin, plastic film coated with a thin, colored plastic emulsion, used for overlays for color seperation and in silkscreen positives.
Maskoid   See Liquid Mask.
Masonite   A trade name for a building material made from pressed wood. Untempered Masonite is used by Artists as a painting surface or a mounting board.
Master's brush cleaner   A commercial soap-like compound used to clean oil, acrylic, watercolor, varnish, etc., from brushes.
Mastic varnish   Used as a final gloss varnish on Oil paintings.
Mat   Heavy paper or cardboard surrounding a watercolor, photo, etc.; framed under glass, protecting it from moisture and enhancing its appearance.
Mat Knife   A utility knife that is used to cut cardboard, paper, mats and other plains.
Matte   A dull, lusterless finish, sometimes spelled "mat" or "matt".
Matte medium   An acrylic medium used with acrylic paints to reduce the gloss; can be used as a final matte finish.
Matte varnish   A nonglossy, flat varnish.
Mechanical   A working board made to guide the printer when making reproductions; consists of all the camera-ready components-type, illustration, etc.-incorrect size and paste-up.
Meander pattern   See the Greek key pattern.
Mechanical perspective   Linear perspective with the use of tools.
Medieval Art   Art produced duing the Middle Ages in Europe, about A.D. 500-1500.
Medium   (plural, mediums or media) 1. The liquid used to thin paint. 2. Material used to create Art, such as pencil, watercolor, gouache, pastel, alkyd, acrylic paint, wood, stone, oil, etc. 3. (usually media) Channels for advertising, such as newspapers, magazines and television.
Medium key   Using the middle value range as a picture's dominant tonality.
Megilp   A gel-like, quick-drying painting medium used in the 19th century that gave an enamel-like finish but had a tendency to darken and crack with age; also called "McGuilp" and "English varnish".
Memento mori   (Latin, "remember death") A skull as part of a painting or other Art Work, may also be a clock or other symbol of the passing of life. Such a still life also called "Vanitas".
Memory picture   See Minds eye.
Merz   A form of Dada, started by Kurt Schwitters, an abstract Artist. The name Merz originated from a collage he made which had MERZ in red capitol lettrs (torn from a Bank advertisement) in the composition.
Metal-foil paper   Paper-backed foil, available in 20"x26" size and in colors of gold, silver, green, red and blue.
Metal modeling compound   Metal in paste form, used on sculpture; applied to the surface, dried and buffed; available in aluminum, gold and bronze.
Metal point   A procedure in which a pointing metal rod is used as a drawing instrument on an abrasive, coated surface, the metal stylus may be of silver, lead, copper or gold; much used by Artists before the development of the graphite pencil in the 16th century.
Metamerism   An undesirable condition in which two areas of matching opaque color that have a reflective surface, as in an oil painting, appear to match in color under one kind of illumination and not under another; usually caused by not using exactly the same pigments to paint both areas.
Metaphysical painting   Painting with a dreamlike quality combined with realism, created by de Chirico and others, where unusual perspective and color create a mysterious or unreal effect.
Metier   The field or specialty in which an Artist performs best, as painting or sculpting, or the subject field, as landscape, etc.
Mezzo fresco   A painting done on partially dry plaster; a line surrounds the forms because the paint sinks partially into the semidry plaster.
Mezzotint   (Italian, "halftone") A relief print made on a metal plate, a rocker is used to roughen the whole surface, then the white areas, (not to be printed) are burnished and smoothed below the surface; halftones are created by removing only part of the burr.
Michelangelo Buonarroti   (1475-1564) Italian painter, sculptor, poet and architect, famous for his sculpture, "The Pieta", among others, and his vast undertaking of frescoes on the ceiling of the Vaticans' Cistine Chapel.
Middle key   Using the middle values on the value scale as the dominanat totality in a picture.
Minaret   A tall tower near a mosque from which the faithful are called to prayer; often used as a motif in Islamic design.
Mind's eye   The faculty of the mind to imagine or remember visual things.
Mineral spirits   A substitute for turpentine used as a brush cleaner and paint thinner, also called petroleum spirits and white spirits.
Minimal Art   (ABC Art) A 1960's American movement related to the nonart theories of DuChamp, in which the Artist's means are reduced to an apparent minimum; closely related are the bare surface paintings of Frank Stella and the publicized wrapping of buildings, islands and mountains by Christo.
Minoan Art   Art and culture of Crete between 3400 B.C. and 2100 B.C.
Miro, Joan   Spanish Surrealist Painter and Sculptor, 1893-1983 Miro was born April 20, 1893, in Barcelona and studied at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts and the Academia Gali. His work before 1920 shows wide-ranging influences, including the bright colours of the Fauves, the broken forms of Cubism, and the powerful, flat two-dimensionality of Catalan folk art and Romanesque church frescoes of his native Spain. He moved to Paris in 1920, where, under the influence of Surrealist poets and writers, he evolved his mature style.
Miskit   See Liquid mask.
MiTeintes pastel paper   Trade name for an imported paper especially made for pastels, crayon, casein and gouache, available in many colors.
Miter box   A tool used with a saw to cut 45 degree angles used for picture frames.
Mixing cups   Small cups used for holding and mixing color, often with removable lids that fit over the "wells" to keep the pigments moist and workable.
M O   Mold-made, said of paper products.
Mock-up   A three-dimensional model, full size, of a future structure.
Modeling   1. In sculpture, the act of shaping and manipulating the clay or other material into desired forms. 2. In drawing or painting, the suggestion of 3-D forms through the use of planes, values and colors.
Modeling board   In sculpture, a board on which that Artist works with clay or other material.
Modeling paste   A thick acrylic paste, used in reliefs or for any area that needs to be built up; easily modeled while wet, can be carved and sanded when dry.
Modello   (Italian, "model") A sketch (often in paint) or a more finished model to show a Patron the idea of an Art Work.
Model's stand   A low table-like construcion sometimes on wheels, normally about 6' square, used for a life model to sit, stand or recline.
Modern Art   Generally indicative of the Art of the 20th century that is nonobjective or abstract in nature.
Modern Folk Art   In America, Art that includes posters, baseball cards, car stickers, etc.
Modified realism   Stylized representation of real and recognizable things.
Modigliani, Amedeo   (1884-1920) Italian painter and sculptor who worked in France. His stylized figures with smooth, long oval forms are expressive and moody. His sculpture was influenced by African Art and by Constantin Brancusi.
Modular colors   A line of acrylic colors already mixed to different values, put out under the trade name of "Liquitex".
Moire   A shifting, wavy pattern caused by superimposing a halftone screen over another one, an undesirable condition. In textile design, another name for "Watered Silk".
Mokkotsu   A traditional Japanese ink painting with color.
Mo-ku   (Chinese, "boneless style") No lines are used; the picture is painted freely, with each brush stroke creating a form.
Mold   A hollow form used to cast or shape something as a mold for a mask or a piece of pottery; sometimes spelled "mould" in British form.
Molding   Narrow strips of wood or metal used to make frames; available in simple or highly decorated styles.
Moderne Kunstkring   (Dutch, "modern art circle") A group of painters who first exhibited together on October 11, 1910; included were Cezanne, Mondrian, Toorop, Sluyters, Braque, Picasso, Derain, Dufy, Vlaminck and Redon.
Mondrian, Piet   (1872-1944) Born in the Netherlands and known as a Neoplasticist. He is famous for his purely abstract compositions using the three primaries plus white, black and gray. All lines are parallel to the sides and no obliques are used.
Monet, Claude   (1840-1926) French, one of the leaders of French impressionism. "A plein aire" painter who is noted for his series of paintings of the same subject, done at different times of the day.
Monochrome/Monochromatic   Rendered in variations of one color.
Monolith   A single standing stone or other material, carved or cast in one piece, sometimes used as a monument.
Montage   A picture made by mounting other pictures, photos, etc. onto a flat surface surface; not three-dimensional as in assemblage.
Moon Mask   See Liquid Mask.
Mop   An oval-shaped watercolor brush used to lay washes.
Mordant   1. An acid solution used in etching. 2. An adhesive film used in appkying gold leaf. 3. Any number of substances used in photography and fabric manufacture for dye-toning.
Morphoplasticism   A word used to describe realistic, natural Art which has form, color, etc,; as opposed to Neoplasticism.
Mortar and Pestle   A bowl made of heavy glass, metal, stoneware, marble or even wood, and a tool (called a Muller) of the same material is made as a crusher and grinder to fit smoothly into the bowl. Together, they work to grind such things as rocks and seeds into a powder or fine paste, once commonly used by Artists for the making of paints.
Mosaic gold   A metallic gold-colored powder used as a substitute for real gold leaf or powder, now obsolete.
Mother of pearl   A hard, internal, irridescent layer in some shells, used in design and ornamentation.
Motif   A repeated design or pattern; the main idea or theme in a design.
Mottle   To make a variegated or spotty effect.
Mounting adhesive, dry   A sheet of adhesive that transfers to the back of the Work to be mounted.
Mozarabic   A style produced by Spanish Christians using Moslem Art and decoration during the Moorish domination of Spain.
Muddy   Said of colors in a painting that have lost their sparkle; usually caused by over-working or mixing too many colors together.
Mud-glyph   A coined word used to describe symbols, designs and pictures inscribed in mud on cave walls.
Mulberry paper   A thin Japanese rice paper.
Muller   A tool used for grinding pigments. See also Mortar & Pestle.
Multiliner tool   A scratchboard tool that makes several parallel lines with one stroke.
Munch, Edvard   (1863-1944) Norweigan, a painter, printmaker and one of the leaders of expressionism. His mature Work was simplified, stark and often focusing on morbidity.
Munich School   A group of 19th century American painters who were influenced by their teachers at the Munich Academy; paintings tended to be dark in value and based on the Works of Rembrandt, Hals and Velasquez. Prominenet Artists were Chase, Currier, Dielman, Duveneck, Fitz, Marc, Muhrman, Neal, Rosenthal and Shirlaw.
Munsell theory   A color system introduced in 1915 by Albert Munsell in which color has 3 components to which human eye responds; hue, value and chroma; the method of color identification uses 5 hues; red, yellow, green, blue and purple; based on visual mixture of color rather than pigments.
Mural   A wall or ceiling painting painted directly on the surface or permanently fixed in place, large in scale to match its setting.
Museum mounting board   A high-quality mounting board used for ArtWork; has close to a neutral PH factor (6.5)
Mycenaean Art   Art and culture from Mycenae, a city on the Greek mainland about 1600 B.C.-1100 B.C.; characterized by rich artifacts, often of gold. See also Aegean painting.
Mystic tape   Trade name for a strong water proof cloth tape that stuck to almost any surface; available in different widths and in many colors. It seems to now be obsolete.