The vast selection of art work at ArtsDot.com, from which you can choose to make very fine prints of your own, were made over the centuries using the tried-and-true traditional media described here.
Colored chalk is used a lot nowadays mostly by street artists, drawing their masterpieces straight on the cement pavement to collect coins in a hat for their work. Pastel, that contains chalk and gypsum mixed with natural color pigments of a vast variety of hues, is used more for fine art work on paper.
Chalk, a form of natural limestone, was first used as a drawing medium by the master draughtsman Leonardo Da Vinci, Edgar Degas, Francesco Clemente and R.B. Kitaj have continued the fine pastel tradition.
The pure natural color, that are also used in oil paint, makes pastel colors the closest possible to the colors of nature. The word pastel has come to mean pale color, and a pastel drawing can best evoke the sensitive wash of subtle colors, like a dry version of fine watercolor.
Prehistoric artists drew stunning drawings of animals in their cave. Using graphite pencil, pen and ink, charcoal, chalk and pastel and brushes, mainly on paper, later artists often drew first the paintings that they were going to paint.
The drawn line, often most effective in black or few colors, can be unequalled in evoking shapes and feelings. (Click here to see some fine drawings in our collection) It is the most basic means of visual communication, as seen being used continually in technical drawing, cartooning, illustration, doodling, comics and fine art drawings. And who can forget drawings of the other master draughtsman Albrecht Durer?
The work of engraving is to incise a design is on to a hard surface by cutting grooves into it. In this way silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved. An intaglio printing plate, made of copper or another metal,is drawn by incising into the metal surface with a burin and used for printing images on paper as prints. These images are called engravings.
Historically engraving was used more widely to produce images on paper in fine art printmaking, and also for commercial reproductions for books and magazines. That function has now been replaced by photographic processes.
It is also less common in printmaking, largely replaced by etching and other techniques which are less difficult and time-consuming.
Traditionally, to etch a printing plate, strong acid or mordant is used to cut into the unprotected parts of surface a metal plate, originally copper, to create a design in intaglio, or in counter relief to fully model an image in a "negative" way.
A ground of waxy acid-resist is applied to the metal plate and the printmaker draws into the wax to expose any metal surface required for the acid to bite into. While engraving requires metalworking skills, etching is relatively easy to learn for an artist who draws. These days, photographic etching is also used.
If, by English Pre-Raphaelite Frederick Sandys, is a beautifully intricate etching.
A mural painting made on freshly-laid lime plaster is called a fresco. Water paint, filled with color pigments, is applied to the wet plaster and the painting soaks in to be the permanent part of the wall.
The word fresco in Italian means "fresh". The wet technique is in contrast to secco (dry) mural painting on plasters of lime, earth, or gypsum, or cement, as in modern mural paintings commissioned these days.
The fact that frescoes can retain their magic for centuries can be seen in Annunciation 2, by Fra Angelico, () painted in the early Italian Renaissance.
An indispensable material for art and writing is ink, a liquid or paste that contain color pigments or dyes and is used to color a surface of usually paper, with a pen, brush or quill, or these days a computer inkjet printer.
Traditionally black carbon inks were commonly made from mixing lampblack or soot with binding agent such as gum arabic or animal glue.
This is a printing method using lithographic limestone or a metal plate with a completely smooth surface. Originally drawn image is etchedinto a coating of wax or an oily substance applied to a plate of lithographic stone. The medium then transfers ink to paper to make a print.
Modern lithography uses a polymer coating applied to a flexible aluminum plate to prepare the surface of the stone plate. The image can then also be offset printed when transferred onto a flexible sheet of rubber.
The wonderful oil paint is well-known for its slow-drying consisting of particles of color pigments suspended in an oil, traditionally linseed oil.
Solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish are added to increase the desired beautiful glossiness of an oil painting. .Oil paints have been used inEuropesince early 15th century to make the art that you see here.
Oil paints can simply glow with the layers of color pigments that they hold, such as mineral salts, such as lead, less toxic zinc and titanium, and red, yellow cadmium pigments, also earth colors such as sienna and umber. Synthetic pigments are also now used.
Water-soluble oil paints are a modern non-toxic choice for the painter.
Also known as egg tempera, this is a fascinating permanent fast-drying painting medium. Colored pigments are mixed in with a water-soluble binder, such as, strangely, egg yolk.
Tempera paintings are very long lasting with paintings from the 1st century AD still surviving. Egg tempera was used until after 1500 when oil painting became more popular.
Many painters have enjoyed the freedom of simply washing their visions on to canvas or paper.
A wash is a painting technique in which a paint brush, that is well-charged with wet paint, is applied to a wet or dry support such as paper or primed or raw canvas to achieve smooth, semi-transparent and uniform areas free of brush strokes.
The luminous glow of a watercolor painting, from the French word aquarelle, is much-loved the world over.
Color pigments are suspended in a water-soluble solution that can be painted delicately on paper. The more subtle color washes are usually transparent, and luminous because the color pigments are laid down directly on paper with few fillers obscuring their pure colors.
Well-loved also are the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese brush-paintings of landscapes, flowers and animals, as well as one or two Zen monks wondering in the wilderness.