5 Words You Need in Your Art Vocabulary

5 Words You Need in Your Art Vocabulary

The world of art can be dense and filled with some crazy outlandish words that are hard to understand. At Kiechel Fine Art,  we have picked out key terms that are relevant to our represented artists and a must know when it comes to art.


In the visual arts, a motif is an element of the iconography. In paintings, a motif can refer to any pictorial feature of the composition. In the decorative arts and architecture, it often denotes a recognizable symbol that repeats. Motifs can be for aesthetic purposes or evoke a deeper meaning.

Two of our artists: Jenny Kruger and Kira Nam Greene, both utilize motifs as various symbolic elements.  Motifs in Kira Nam Greene’s paintings are inspired by historical fabrics and domestic interiors. They are symbolic of the roles that women have had in various cultures. Jenny Kruger’s motifs express an artificial and fantastical landscape juxtaposed against the simplicity of Nebraskan plains which express familiarity and longing at the same time.


Rapture of Summer by Kira Nam Greene
Procession by Jenny Kruger



Pentimento, the Italian word for repentance, refers to the presence of evidence that an artist has painted over a previously rendered subject. In art, pentimento can be a full alteration or how an artist has changed their mind to the composition during the process of painting. View our own Artists, Hal Haloun and Wendy Bantam and their use of pentimento. 

Hal Haloun’s painting the Song of Samurai was first completed in 2014 under the title Cloud Samurai Series. Hal painted over the original image to create a new landscape which was an act of pentimento. The red sunset is still apparent beneath the final brushstrokes on the painting Song of Samurai. You can view and purchase the final product of his pentimento painting here.

Original Song of Samurai by Hal Holoun
Song of Samurai redone










Wendy Bantam uses pentimento actively in her painting process to create her unique style. She uses pentimento to paint over earlier layers to create thicker segments paint on the canvas. This results in various textures and movement.

Big Sky Sunset at High Tide
Big Sky Sunset at High Tide by Wendy Bantam

Purchase Wendy’s work here


Plein air

The act of painting outdoors in the city or landscape as opposed creating art in a studio. It is a French term and most relevant to the work of the artists of the Barbizon School, Hudson River School and the Impressionists. Our own Keith Jacobshagen often paints outside in the Lincoln area and meticulously dictates the date, time, location and sometimes even the temperature on his sketches. His realistic depictions of Nebraskan landscapes can be attributed to his time painting outside and studying his surroundings. Find his drawings and watercolors here at our gallery.

Frozen Creek – E. Old Cheney Rd 28º – 02.15.03 – Afternoon of the 10 inch Snow
Frozen Creek – E. Old Cheney Rd 28º – 02.15.03 – Afternoon of the 10 inch Snow

Purchase Keith’s works here

Tromp L’oeil

Trompe L’oeil is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that an object exists in three dimensions. Objects are depicted with photographical detail and can be so realistic that it can trick a viewer. Francisco Souto includes enormous amounts of details in his work. Through constantly sharpened pencils and a magnifying glass, Francisco is able to achieve life-like details on his pieces. He also utilizes varnish as an underpainting between layers of colored pencil. This allows him to create more dimension to his pieces resulting in realistic images, so real you feel like you can touch them.

Set Aside
Set Aside by Francisco Souto

Purchase and view Francisco’s new works here.


Perspective is the illusion of a three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface through the use of vanishing point, converging lines and diminishing sizes of objects. While perspective is an important element to every artist and their work, Aaron Holz utilizes perspective in a manner that creates soft abstract landscapes. Aaron’s process, which imparts both a physical and a conceptual depth to his paintings, also offers him the opportunity to mine the fertile territory between representation and abstraction in an optically rich manner.

View Aaron’s artwork for purchase here

Skyfield by Aaron Holz
Pine Ridge South_1
Pine Ridge (Wounded Knee South)












Definitions were collected from Merriam-Webster


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