Art Terms Glossary beginning with W

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A general term usually used to refer to diluted ink applied with a brush; washes can also be made of chalk or colored pigments mixed with water. In the case of watercolor, wash means the application of a broad layer of color by a continuous motion of the brush. In this detail from Guercino's drawing of Venus and Cupid, the face of Venus shows how, by varying the density of the wash by varying his brushstroke, the artist achieved tonal gradation.
is a water-soluble paint composed of finely-ground pigment particles and a gum binder such as Gum Arabic. When mixed with water, the tiny fragments of color form a stable dispersion and thus become distributed evenly across the paper before drying. Watercolor is typically characterized by its brilliant and luminous effects. This occurs because the medium's translucent nature allows the underlying white paper to show through the paint film and reflect light back to the viewer. Watercolor is usually transparent and allows the white of the paper underneath it to affect how the color appears, and this gives it its beautiful luminosity, as in this sheet by J.M.W. Turner.
Waxed paper negative
A variant of the calotype negative. Before being sensitized in a silver nitrate bath, a paper negative was waxed to improve its translucency for printing. This method, published by Gustave Le Gray (1820-1882) in 1851, was more time consuming than the calotype process but could hold finer detail. The long exposure time required for the waxed paper negative was useful for still lifes and landscapes as well as travel photography because it could be prepared and sensitized many days before exposure.
Wet collodion negative
The first fully practical negative on glass. Printing from glass negatives allowed high resolution of fine detail and a short exposure time, ranging from several seconds to one or two minutes. The glass plate negative was prepared by covering it with collodion, a sticky emulsion of guncotton dissolved in ether and alcohol with potassium iodide that had been sensitized with a solution of silver nitrate. While still tacky, but not dry, the negative was inserted in the camera, exposed, and immediately returned to the darkroom for developing with pyrogallic and acetic acids or ferrous sulfate. Fixed, washed, dried, and varnished, the glass negative was then ready for printing. The inherent nature of the wet collodion glass negative required immediate access to a darkroom, and those photographing out-of-doors, often in exotic locales, traveled with created dark tents where it has not occurred.
Wood Engraving
A sharply pointed instrument called a burin cuts into the end grain of a hard wood to create the design. The surface of the block is inked and printed, producing white lines on a black background.
The areas around each line are cut out of the block of wood so that the lines to be printed stand out in relief.
Wove Paper
Not widely used until 1790, is made using a fine wire mesh that distributes the pulp more evenly than laid paper and typically does not impart a strong pattern to the paper. Most modern artist's papers of today are wove paper.