Reilly Vocabulary

Having a common vocabulary is essential in any field of study. Reilly used some common art terms like "local" and "value" for his teaching program, and modified or invented other terms like "wash-in" (imprimatura), "lay-in" (block-in), and "poster" (averages without the details). 

Wash-in: A thin, translucent underpainting, usually made with Raw or Burnt Umber. An imprimatura.

Color Note: A tiny color sketch representing the intended color averages.

Lay-in: Initial application of opaque paint.

Poster: A condition or stage of the painting where color averages are laid in as simple flat shapes to insure that colors are accurate relative to their surroundings. (A big color note).

Effect: The visual effect of the main light source on the subject. As an area of the painting, it is closest to the light source, the largest area of the lightest light. (Not the highlight). Gives the viewer a sense of the color, size, and distance of the light source from the subject. Often used as the painting's focal point. Think Rembrandt.

Local: Intrinsic quality of an object regardless of illumination. A banana is yellower and lighter than a red apple, and will appear that way under any light source. The light and shade averaged together will give you the local.

Form: The illusion of a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface.

Chairoscuro: light and dark.

Modeling factors in the Lay-in:
  • Highlight: a small reflection of the light source found on corners and in the center of round forms 
  • Light: form illuminated by the light source 
  • Half-tone: between light and shadow 
  • Shadow: area not illuminated by the main light source 
  • Reflected light: Area of the shadow receiving reflected light 
  • Accent: darkest dark, an area where there is no light

Center Light: Found on round forms, it is lighter than the average, but not as light as the highlight. The main modeling factor out in the light.

Average Value: Simplification of smaller forms into one large value. 

Hue: Color component that distinguishes one color from another, i.e. red, yellow, blue
Value: Color component that distinguishes light colors from dark colors
Chroma: Color component that distinguishes weak color from strong color

Universal Palette: Reilly's term for his Munsell based palette of hue, value and chroma. Properly employed it is capable of rendering any subject; still-life, landscape, or figure, under any lighting condition including daylight, moonlight, or artificial light.

Palette of Convenience: Reference to the Reilly figure-painting palette.

Diffused Light Source: When the light source is larger than the subject: e.g. skylight. "The effect" is less noticeable.

Point Source: When the light source is smaller than the subject: e.g. light bulb. "The effect" is brilliant.

Penumbra: soft halftones surrounding the shadow created by a diffused light source. 

Progressions: This term describes the degree of change in a form as it progresses out from the picture plane towards the viewer or recedes away from the viewer. Also used to describe the change in complexion on the figure from the average on the torso to the extremities.

Gradation: The gradual change in value over a form due to the change in proximity to the light.

Home value: The local, intrinsic value of an object. It's value relative to other objects in the picture.

© John Ennis 2010