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10 Funny-Sounding Art Words to Make You Laugh

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Kate Moynihan grand kids, Aislynn and Liam

As usual, my grand kids had me laughing. Four-year-old Liam's tongue thrilled as he stumbled over the word: Centrifugal. as during an art project he watched the paper spin and the rapid movement whisk the paint to the edges. Centrifugal was a funny word.

Next, our art project moved onto other textures as we painted with brayers.

Liam turned his head at the word, brayer, saying: "It sounds like a donkey snorting: bra-a-a-ay!"

Brayer: Another funny word.

These words got me thinking about how the art world has a lot of silly sounding names.

My top 10 favorite funny-sounding art words:

PLEIN-AIR (French: ple-ner)

Developed in the mid-19th century to characterize painting outdoors, capturing the natural air and light by the artist.

I'm not a plein air painter. Three reasons why:

  • -Flies in my rinse water bucket

  • -Wind drying up my paints

  • -The bright sun distorting the intensity of my colors

LOL, I much prefer the controlled atompshere of my studio.

(No pronunciation for this!?!?)

Another French word.

If you don't recognize this word, you may think it's pronounced: "gig-lee." Actually, it's a long G sound, like "Ja-a-h," than add, "clay."

The French translation means 'to spay.'

In the art community, a giclee is a reproduction of an original piece of art printed on a highly technical ink-jet printer. This print-on-demand advanced technology has changed the art world, eliminating the large editions of lithograph prints.

DIPTYCH - (dip-tik)

A work of art consisting of two sections that together create a singular art piece.

EMULSION - (ih-muhl-shuh n)

Two or more liquids that don’t blend together easily on their own, such as oil an d water, that do not naturally mix together.

Often unusual textures are formed.

ASSEMBLAGE - (uh-sem-blij)

Three-dimensional art made from found objects.

The origin of the art form dates to the cubist constructions of

Pablo Picasso c. 1912–1914.

In the 1950s and 60s assemblage started to become more widely known and used. Artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns started using scrappy materials and objects to make art sculptures.

GOUACHE - (goo-ahsh)

Opaque watercolor paints in endless colors.

Henri Matisse is a well-known artist who used a wide range of mediums, but was often drawn to bright and expressive colors. In the last decade of his life, he used the simple materials of white paper and gouache to create a series called “the cut-outs.

FROTTAGE - (fraw-tahzh)

A technique in the visual arts of obtaining textural effects or images by rubbing lead, chalk, charcoal, etc., over paper laid on a granular or relief- like surface, made popular by German artist, Max Ernst.

TURPENTINE - ( tur-puh n-tahyn) Although this is a common word, the pronunciation is kind of twerpy, or quirky, possibly both.

Turpentine has a sharp, tangy smell, its scent fills my studio as I use it to clean up my oil painting tools.

Art Words Can Make You Laugh!

Chuckling is a contagious. Enjoy more, read 5 Benefits of Laughter


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