Deborah Davis Fine Art

43 Deer Drive

Claverack, New York

Phone: 518-828-2939


Glossary of Art Terms


Artist’s Proof - One of the proofs in a limited edition of original prints. It will bear the artist’s signature or mark and is usually numbered.

Etching - A printing process introduced in the late 1400s in which a metal plate is covered with an acid-resistant resinous coating called a ground. The artist then draws an image on the plate in reverse with a sharp stylus that scrapes through the ground and exposes the plate. The plate is then placed in an acid bath that eats into the exposed areas, creating marks. Then the plate is inked and wiped by hand, leaving ink only on the marks created by the acid. Damp paper is placed on the inked plate and put through a printing press, where the paper is forced down into the inked grooves. For each print in an edition, the hand inking and wiping process must occur again. An etching may involve many plates and a variety of inks

Gouache - The technique of applying opaque watercolor to paper. The usual gouache painting displays a light-reflecting brilliance quite different from the luminosity of transparent watercolors. Gouache colors may contain the same ingredients as transparent watercolors, but chalk or other materials are added to the pigments to make them more opaque.

Limited Edition Original Print - A set number of replicas of a work of art, of which the plate, mold, or die is destroyed or mutilated after the desired number of copies has been made. Original prints are distinguished from mechanical or photographic reproductions that are executed neither by the artist nor under the artist’s supervision. Each print is signed by the artist, usually on the lower right hand margin of the print. The artist also records in the margin the size of the edition and the number of the proof.

Lithograph - A print made by using a printing process in which each image is pulled onto a press from a flat surface that has been sensitized by chemical means so that the ink takes on the design areas only and is repelled by the blank areas. The surface may be a plate, such as a sheet of metal or a stone. Colors are printed one at a time, requiring the stone or plate to be prepared for each color used.

Monoprint - Is a one-of-a-kind print where, unlike the monotype, a portion of the monoprint is made using a printmaking method, such as etching. However, the monoprint is wholly unique because the artist finishes the print by hand-coloring or adding hand brushwork to it, or the plate or block can have ink applied in ways that could not be consistent for an edition.

Monotype - A monotype is traditionally a painter’s technique used to create a one-of-a-kind image. There are various ways in which a monotype is made. For example, the artist may paint directly onto a smooth plate, such as glass, and then transfer the still-wet image to paper by rubbing it with an smooth implement or running it through a press. Typically, only one impression is made.

Pastel - A colored crayon that is applied directly to the paper and which consists of pigment with just enough of a water-based binder to hold it together. Pastels vary according to the amount of chalk they contain; the deepest tones are pure pigment. Work produced with pastels are called paintings rather than drawings, for although no paint is used the colors are applied in masses as with paint rather than in lines, which are more typical of drawings.

Serigraph - A print made by using a printing process known as serigraphy and frequently referred to as a silkscreen. It is a stencil method of printmaking in which an image is imposed on a screen of silk or fine mesh. Blank areas are coated with an impermeable substance and the ink or paint is then pushed through the screen onto the printing surface. The colors are printed one at a time requiring a separate stencil each time a new color is added. As each color must dry before a new one can be added, this can be a very time-consuming process, sometimes taking several months to complete one image.

Terragraph - A print made using a unique printing process developed in Israel. The process involves combining advanced binding materials with the most basic pigment - sand. The sand of the terragraph is collected in specific areas of the Negev and Judean deserts, depending on the texture and color required. It is then neutralized and dried before being used in the printing process. To make a terragraph, first the paper is sealed with a silicone varnish to keep the sand and oil binders in relief on the paper’s surface. The sand is then ground to different coarseness of grains, according to the effect required. Where a sand area is needed, a binder is applied or mixed with the sand and the image is then printed through a screen, as in a serigraph. Due to the silicone varnishes and durability of the oil, inks and sand, terragraphs may be framed without glass, enabling a direct communication with the sensuous textures and vibrant colors produced by this special method of fine art printing.

Watercolor - The technique of painting with pigments dispersed in a solution. Watercolors are characterized by luminous transparency. True watercolors are most often applied with free, loose strokes and broad washes. The grain and whiteness of the paper add to the brilliance and sparkle of the finished work.