ZenART's Membership Plans Terms & Conditions

(Updates effective 17/08/2020)

These terms and conditions (“Terms and Conditions”) govern the ZenART Supplies Rewards & Referral Plan as well as Subscribe & Save Plan (“Membership Plans”), and members of the programs will earn zen coins in connection with the purchase of qualifying online products and online activities that are redeemable towards the purchase of certain products online. For the re-occurring members (Subscribe & Save Plan) this includes exclusive gifts & content.


  • Free. No purchase is necessary to obtain membership in the Rewards & Referral Program, but you must establish an account at https://shop.zenartsupplies.co/account/register . Please see our privacy policy, located here, to understand how information you provide us will be used. This program is void where prohibited.
  • Eligibility. In order to be eligible for the Rewards & Referral Program, you must create an account as outlined in these Terms and Conditions. You may create an account if you are at least seventeen (17) years of age, have Internet access, and have a valid mailing address. If you are between the ages of 17 and 18, you must have your parent’s permission to register for an account. If you choose to create an account, you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account, username and password and for restricting access to your account. You are responsible for keeping such information current, complete, accurate and truthful. You agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account, username and/or password. You agree to provide only current, complete, accurate and truthful information. If you are accessing and using the Site on someone else’s behalf, you represent that you have the authority to bind that person as the principal to all Terms and Conditions provided herein, and to the extent you do not have such authority you agree to be bound to these Terms and Conditions and to accept liability for harm caused by any wrongful use of the Site or Content resulting from such access or use. You may only have one member account per natural person. Persons who are discovered to have more than one account forfeit their zen coins and will be unsubscribed from the Loyalty Program.
  • How To Enroll in the Rewards & Referral Program. (a) Create an account: Visit www.zenartsupplies.com (the "Site" or "Online") and become a registered user of the Site. Click here to be taken directly to the registration page. You will be asked for your first and last name, your email address, and a password. You will also be given the option to sign up for our newsletter. Once you have submitted the requisite information, you will be sent an email to the address you listed confirming your membership. Once you have confirmed your email address, you are automatically enrolled in the Reward & Referral Program and are a member (“Member”).
  • How to Access/Change Your Member Information. You must keep your personal information on your Account up-to-date. To do so, click on the "My Account" section and access your account by entering your registered email address and current password. From your dashboard you can access your account information; review your current and past orders; change your profile; manage your subscriptions and applications, and access your previous purchases.
  • How to Cancel Your Membership. You may cancel an account at any time. To cancel your account, please send an email to support@zenartsupplies.co and write “cancel membership” in the subject line. The email must come from the account currently listed on our servers as being associated with your Rewards & Referral Program. If you no longer have access to that email address, please email our customer service department and we will verify your status and cancel your account. Upon cancellation, you are no longer a member, and any unused zen coins accrued in your account will be forfeited and cannot be redeemed. Zen coins maintain their value only on valid accounts in good standing, and except as otherwise provided here for redemption, have no cash value outside of their redemption value on the Site.


  • General Members can earn zen coins on the purchase of qualifying online products at zenartsupplies.co. To receive zen coins for your Online purchases, you must be signed into your account. You may check at any time to see if you are signed in to the Site by looking in the upper right-hand corner of the site. Gift cards do not qualify for zen coins. Other products that do not qualify for zen coins are noted on the Site.
  • Earning Rate. Members earn 5 sen coins for every $1.00 spent on qualifying purchases (in other words, one (5) zen coins for every one dollar ($1) spent). Zen coins are based on your order subtotal, after any discounts, only. Zen coins are rounded down to the nearest whole number. For example, if you spend $9.99, you will receive 9 zen coins. The calculation is as follows: $9.99 x 1 zen coins per dollar = 9.99 zen coins, which is rounded down to 9 zen coins. This program started on August 17, 2020, and initial levels were set on the 2020 amount spent on ordering products. Note: Shipping and Taxes are not taken into consideration. If an item is return and/or price adjusted that will also be removed from your rewards calculations.
  • Gift Cards. Gift card purchases are not eligible to receive zen coins. However, once a gift card is redeemed, zen coins will be awarded to the recipient for the subtotal after any gift card values, provided s/he is logged into the account, as outlined in these Terms and Conditions.
  • Addition of Zen Coins to Accounts. Zen Coins will be added to your Account under the following conditions, and will generally show up immediately. You will receive zen coins:
    • At the time of account registration
    • During the purchase of qualifying products
    • For other activities outlined on the Site that may show up from time to time. Note that for these other activities, including “bonus zen coins” accumulations and other zen coin promotions, zen coins may show as “pending,” depending upon the activity.
    • Joining the Birthday Club. Birthdate must be entered 30 days before your Birthday to qualify.
    • For Liking the ZenART Supplies Facebook page and sharing the ZenART Supplies Facebook page with your following. This is good one time only.
    • Following ZenART Supplies on Instagram. This is good one time only.
    • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Your account will be automatically awarded the discount only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying purchase. Discount will automatically be applied to account if stipulations are met.
  • Exclusions. Members earn zen coins only on the purchase price of: (i) qualifying online products. Calculation of zen coins excludes payment by the Member for shipping charges and all taxes, including without limitation, federal, state, and local taxes or use taxes. Zen Coins will not be earned on any discounts or other credits offered in connection with a product or service. For example, if a product that is normally $50 is on sale for $25, a Member will only earn zen coins on the purchase price of $25. Purchases of gift cards, redemption of vouchers, and any type of price adjustments, including merchandise returns, are not eligible for zen coins. All purchases made: (i) by a Member prior to such member joining the Program, (ii) Online without a Member being logged onto the Website with the Member's Account number linked to the Member's Online account, are not eligible for Reward & Referral Program credit. The purchase of ZenART Supplies products outside the Zenartsupplies.co website are not eligible for the Reward & Referral Program.
  • Returns/Order Cancellations. Zen Coins earned for a purchase that is then the subject of a return, cancellation, refund, declined credit card or gift card, or other credit will be deducted from your account in an amount equal to the zen coins earned for the original transaction, including any bonus zen coins that may be applicable. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return. Zen Coins redeemed on an order will not be reapplied back to your rewards account for any reason on a returned order. If a return/cancellation will cause your account to have a negative zen coin balance, you will not begin earning zen coins again until your zen coins balance is returned to zero (0), by making purchases, or engaging in other promotional activities offered from time to time. If an item is exchanged (different product) any redeemed rewards on the initial purchase may be transferred to the exchange one (1) time only. Rewards used on an order that is canceled cannot be reapplied as they are good for just one use.
  • Bonus Zen Coins Promotions. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may run certain bonus zen coin promotions. Under bonus zen coin promotions, Members can earn additional or "bonus zen coins" in connection with the purchase of certain online products. When you purchase these specially marked products or make the purchase during a bonus zen coins time period, you will earn bonus zen coins on each product, as specified in the offer. Bonus zen coin promotions are subject to the terms and conditions of the offer and may be offered at any time in ZenART Supplies sole discretion. Bonus zen coin offers cannot be combined with any other offer.
  • Limitations on Bonus Zen Coins and Zen Coins, Generally. These terms apply to zen coins and bonus zen coins accruals. If you purchase a product during a promotion and the product comes with an additional, free product, zen coins will not be issued on the retail value of the free product. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product and pay a portion of the retail price after the zen coin's redemption, you will receive zen coins only on the leftover retail amount you pay, and not on any value attributed to the zen coin you used. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product in an amount equal to the full price of the product, you will not earn any zen coins.
  • Non-purchase Options for Earning Zen Coins. You may also earn additional zen coins on non-purchase activities. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may offer you the chance to win various prizes, and earn zen coins, for entering into promotions. For sweepstakes promotions, there is NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO PLAY OR TO WIN. Rules and restrictions will apply to such promotions and may be found on the entry page of any promotion.
  • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Email a friend an $8 off coupon on $50 order by clicking “ Earn Zen Coins” then “ Refer a Friend”. Enter the email address of a friend who has not purchased with ZenART Supplies before (if your referral has shopped with us before the referral link will be automatically voided by the system). A referral link will be sent to your friend with an $8 off coupon on a $50 order. $8 off coupon on $50 order will automatically be rewarded to your account only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying first-time purchase with ZenART Supplies. Your Referral friend will receive an $8 off coupon on $50 order, 200 zen coins for signing up, and zen coins from their first purchase made while signed into their new ZenART Supplies account.


  • How To Use Your Zen Coins. Zen Coins must be used in increments outlined in these Terms and Conditions. The maximum number of zen coins that may be used in a single transaction is 10,000 zen coins. Zen Coins may only be used Online at the ZenART Supplies website. Zen Coins towards Products: Members can use their zen coins to reduce the purchase price of a product or to receive a product for free based on the following scale:
    • 500 zen coins = $5.00 off
    • 1,000 zen coins = $10.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 1,500 zen coins = $15.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 2,500 zen coins = $25.00 off your at least $50 order

    Zen Coins can only be redeemed in any combination of the zen coin and increment amounts set forth above. Redemption of zen coins towards purchases of products is subject to product availability. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return.

  • Gift cards. Once available, zen coins cannot be used towards the purchase of gift cards. Gift card redemption, however, is eligible for zen coins. Zen Coins accrued pursuant to the use of a gift card will benefit the gift card user, provided the user has an account in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.
  • To Redeem your Zen Coins. Before you begin shopping with us, sign in to your Shop account on our site. Select “Redeem Zen Coins” from the red tab housed in the lower left-hand corner of the screen and select the amount of zen coins you would like to redeem. You will be issued a custom code that you can copy and paste into the discount bar during check out (Please note - only one code can be used). Your total payment amount will be discounted by the amount of zen coins you allocate to the purchase. Note that zen coins may only be redeemed for the purchase price of the product. Sales tax, shipping, and other handling charges assessed in addition to the price of the product are your responsibility and zen coins may not be used to discount these additional charges.
  • Exclusions. Only one account per natural person. Only one discount code can be redeemed per transaction. Rewards redemption codes may not be combined with any other discount codes. Zen Coins may not be transferred or gifted at this time. Zen Coins cannot be used on past purchases. Zen Coins accumulated on different accounts by different members may not be combined or aggregated to make purchases of products or for any other reason. Zen Coins earned in a transaction cannot be redeemed in the same transaction. Redeemed zen coins cannot be retroactively applied to any past order or receive a price adjustment on any order where redeemed zen coins were not applied. Zen Coins have no cash value outside of the ZenART Supplies website and are available only to members in good standing.
  • Zen Coins Expiration and Time Lapses. All zen coins acquired, whether standard zen coins or bonus zen coins, shall expire 180 days from the date the zen coins are added to your account. Zen Coins expire 180 days from the date in which they were assigned to your account. Specific onsite activities in which zen coins will be awarded are set to accrue zen coins based on a time-lapse at the discretion of ZenART Supplies.
    • Sign up: zen coins are added to your account instantly
    • Order: zen coins are added to your account when your order is placed.
  • Once zen coins are redeemed, a discount code will be assigned and we are unable to cancel the discount code and reapply the zen coins to your Reward & Referral account. Discount codes generated by redeeming zen coins do not expire until used. They are a one-time use code, so once it is used it is gone. If an order is returned zen coins will not be reinstated.

4. Subscribe & Save Plan

  • Re-occurring purchase. Purchase is necessary in order to participate in this plan. The plan is worth $6.95 and will be charged to your account on the same date of the month that you purchased the plan, i.e. if you purchased the plan on 19th of January, you will be charged for the plan on the 19th of each month you are a Subscribe & Save Plan member.
  • 15% re-occurring discount. As a member of the subscribe & Save Plan, you are eligible for a 15% discount every time you put an order in place. You are qualified for the discount as soon as you purchase the plan.
  • Cancellation. After a purchase made with a Subscribe & Save Plan, you are not able to get a refund for the plan for the month the purchase was valid for but you can cancel for the following months.
  • Free samples & accessories. These are included for members of Subscribe & Save Plan only. These are not included in each order but the member will be informed when they will receive "extras" in their order.
  • Access to exclusive content. Exclusive access to tutorials, guides, tips & tricks in video, pdf, or audio format will be part of the membership program. Not all exclusive content is available but what is and will be available is up to ZenART Supplies sole discretion.


  • By registering with Zenartsupplies.co and joining the Reward & Referral Program, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions set forth in these Terms and Conditions, as well as any other terms that may be associated with the Reward & Referral Program. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to cancel, modify, suspend or restrict the Reward & Referral Program, your account, the redemption of zen coins, or any aspect of the Program, including, without limitation, the zen coin conversion ratio and the zen coin expiration policy at any time. Any changes can be made without advance notice. ZenART Supplies may make these changes even though such changes may affect your ability to use zen coins already accumulated. You are responsible for remaining knowledgeable about the Program Terms and Conditions. A Member's zen coins balance, as reflected in ZenART Supplies records, shall be deemed correct. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to determine the amount of zen coins in any Member's account based on ZenART Supplies' internal records related to such Member's account. In the event of an inconsistency between the amount accrued in a Member's account as stated on any Member's receipt and ZenART Supplies internal records, ZenART Supplies internal records will control. ZenART Supplies assumes no responsibility for errors caused by incorrect Member information. Your right to transfer zen coins earned or granted under the Program is strictly limited. The sale of zen coins is prohibited and may result in the confiscation or cancellation of your zen coins as well as suspension or termination of your membership, which in each case shall be final and conclusive. All transactions involving zen coins and all Member accounts are subject to review and verification by ZenART Supplies. The zen coins balance in a Member's account may be unavailable for use when an account or transaction is under review. ZenART Supplies may revoke any Member's membership in the Reward & Referral Program at any time if such Member engages in abuse of the Reward & Referral Program or fails to follow the terms and conditions of the Program. Fraud or abuse relating to the accrual of zen coins or redemption of rewards may result in revocation of membership in the Program and may affect a Member's eligibility for participation in any other ZenART Supplies program, present or future. Zen Coins are non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash. The interpretation and application of the Program's Terms and Conditions are at the sole discretion and determination of ZenART Supplies. For more information or other questions, click on Contact Us.
  • The Terms and Conditions of the loyalty program are subject to change at ZenART Supplies’ sole discretion at any time and without notice to customers. Upon customer’s at-will termination of their Zenartsupplies.com registered account, or if a customer is termination for violation of these Terms and Conditions or other activities in violation of the intent and good faith intended use of this Site, all zen coins will immediately be forfeited and will no longer be redeemable. ZenART Supplies will make reasonable efforts to award zen coins as outlined above to all 1. registered and 2. qualifying Zenartsupplies.co customers but is not responsible for any technical or unforeseen errors that may occur.
  • Zen Coins are nontransferable, nonredeemable for cash, are nonrefundable and are not valid outside of Zenartsupplies.co. Purchases made outside Zenartsupplies.co are not valid for zen coin accrual (this includes, but is not limited to Facebook resell groups, Ebay, and Amazon).
  • Employees of ZenART Supplies are not eligible to participate in the Reward & Referral Program.

Subscribe & Save Plan

Membership Benefits for Just $6.95/Month

For other currencies, the respective conversion applies.


A Glossary of Oil Painting Terms

A Glossary of Oil Painting Terms

Oil painting may seem intimidating to the uninitiated beginner or starting artist. For one, there are oil painting techniques and terms that sound completely foreign. After all, many of them are Italian.

So if you need a translator or glossary, you've come to the right place. Here's a guide to the terms you'll come across on your oil painting journey.


An alkyd is a type of synthetic polymer resin used to replace the slow-drying oils in oil paints. It's also used as a medium to speed up drying time. Get alkyd oil paints if you want quick-drying colors.

Alla prima

It roughly translates into "at the first" or "all at once." Alla prima describes a painting created and finished all in one go. This is also known as the wet-on-wet oil painting technique since you paint layers of wet paint on top of each other before everything dries up.

Monet's "Morning on the Seine", 1989, oil on canvas. He greatly believed in capturing the "light" in particular moments of a day, season, weather, and such.


A binder or vehicle is one of the main ingredients in every type of paint. It holds the powder-form pigments together and helps them adhere to a surface (e.g. canvas, paper).

Oil paint is a slow-drying art medium made of pigments suspended in an oil-based binder. The most common binder is linseed oil.

For other mediums, gum arabic is used in watercolor painting, egg yolks are used in egg tempera painting, and acrylic polymer is used in acrylic painting.


A cloudy, often white patch that appears on varnished paintings. This happens when moisture gets trapped under the varnish. Blooms occur when an oil painting is kept in a damp or humid environment while it's still drying.


Every artist develops their own distinct style and you can see this in their brushwork. It's the signature way they move their paintbrush on a canvas to produce interesting effects.


An even paint layer of opaque and flat color that's mixed with gesso. This creates a tinted starting layer or a colored ground for painting.


Girl with a pearl earring

Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring is a perfect, classic example of chiaroscuro

It literally translates to "light dark." Chiaroscuro is used to describe a painting that uses a strong contrast and balance of light and dark. Think Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio.

Dead color

A term used to describe the colors used when underpainting.

Leonardo da Vinci's La Scapigliata is an unfinished painting where you can observe the 'dead colors' he used for his underpainting


A liquid or medium used to dilute oil paints (e.g. turpentine). Diluents are meant to thin and not dissolve paints.


A substance added to oil paint or canvas to accelerate drying time. An alkyd is a drier.

As much as possible, you want your colors to dry at the same time, but there will be some colors (like burnt umber) that dry faster than others.

Dry brush oil painting technique

One of the more modern oil painting techniques, dry brush painting involves, as the name suggests, painting with a dry brush that holds paint but no oil or solvent. Using a bright or flat brush will give you the best result.

This oil painting technique is popular amongst street and portrait artists since it can produce smooth gradients and blurred edges.


A stand or frame used to support your canvas upright or at an angle. Also can be used to display your oil paintings.


How much or how little oil is used in oil paint. Low fat means lean or less oil, so it dries faster. High fat means more oil, so it dries slower.

Fat over lean

A rule of thumb everyone must learn when oil painting is to paint fat over lean. With every succeeding layer of paint, you need to add more fat or oil.

What happens if you don't follow the fat over lean rule? What if you apply solvent-thinned paint over an oil-rich layer of paint? The paint film can become chalky and crack over time.

Fugitive pigment

Some paints unfortunately can fade, lighten, darken, or even change color when exposed to light, temperature, and humidity. These paints contain fugitive pigments. A fugitive oil paint has a low lightfastness or permanence rating.

To avoid this, we recommend getting artist-quality paints that have good to excellent lightfastness ratings.


A type of primer applied in thin layers to a wood panel or canvas. It helps prep the surface for oil paint to better adhere to. Traditionally, oil painters used a mixture of glue (usually rabbit skin glue) and chalk (also known as whiting). These days, the most common type used is acrylic gesso.


A transparent and thin layer of oil paint that has been thinned with diluents. Glazes create depth and can create new colors on the canvas. When glazing, make sure the bottom layer is completely dry before adding another layer of paint. To create a nice glaze, it's best to use more transparent paints than opaque colors.


A monochromatic oil painting technique often used in underpainting.


A thin layer or coat of paint applied over primer or gesso. This gives the surface the texture and color you need to start painting. An oil painting ground is the foundation of your painting—it's what your oil paint comes in touch with. It's up to personal preference. Some artists like white ground while others like it toned.


A hue can mean two things in oil painting. It's the perceived color or actual appearance of a color. It can also refer to oil paint that uses a combination of pigments to mimic the color of a more expensive pigment.


Impasto painting is one of the more expressive kinds of oil painting techniques. It requires applying strokes of thick paint onto an oil paint surface. Usually, artists use a palette knife or a stiff brush. You can use an impasto medium to thicken paint, but since oil paint is already thick in consistency, it's not necessary.

Famous artists known for impasto painting include Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock.


An Italian term meaning "the first layer." It's an initial stain or thin coat of color applied over a primed or prepared surface. This provides you with a transparent toned ground. Make sure this layer of color dries completely before starting the actual painting process.


Used to describe the overall tone or value of an oil painting. A painting has a high key if it's predominantly light, and has a low key if it uses predominantly dark values.


How permanent or fade-resistant a paint color or pigment is, especially when exposed to light. It's sometimes also called permanence, but this also considers effects besides light like heat, humidity, and acidity.

Artist paints are rated according to standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

  • I: Excellent
  • II: Very Good
  • III: Fair
  • IV: Poor
  • V: Very Poor

Alternatively, you'll see these ratings according to the Blue Wool Scale (for the UK).

  • AA: Extremely Permanent
  • A: Permanent
  • B: Moderately durable
  • C: Fugitive

Linseed oil

A type of oil made with flax seeds used to thin oil paint and extend its drying time. There are different kinds of linseed oil out there. The purest form is cold-pressed linseed oil, which gives a shinier and harder film when dry—however, this is a more slow-drying oil. more on that in our guide to mediums here.

Local color

The actual color of an object under flat white light, unaffected by shadows or colors of light.

Mass Tone

Also known as mass color, this is the actual, undiluted, or untinted color of a pigment or paint straight out of the tube.

The Essential Palette from ZenART Supplies.

Moulding paste

Also spelled "molding paste," this is an opaque, white acrylic-based paste or medium used to create texture on the surface of an oil painting.


There's a wide variety of oils artists can use in oil painting to achieve their desired consistency, quality, finish, and drying time. Besides linseed, some other common oils are poppy, walnut, and safflower oil.



The opposite of transparency or translucency. Opacity refers to how well a paint or pigment blocks light from passing through it. In other words, opaque paint will prevent under layers from showing through.


This can refer to the selection of colors used in an oil painting or the surface used for mixing paints.


Palette knife

You may confuse palette knives for painting knives. They're both metal or plastic spatulas used in many oil painting techniques. The main difference is that a palette knife is for mixing colors whereas a painting knife is used to apply thicker paint on a canvas.

The two leftmost palette knives come from ZenART's Verbena and Renoir Collection brush sets. 


A pure substance, most often a fine powder, that gives paint its color.

Plein air

A French term meaning "open air" that refers to paintings done outdoors instead of in the studio. The Impressionists—like Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir—preferred painting this way to best capture the effects of light on their subjects and landscapes.


Another type of glue applied unto a surface or canvas, to get it ready for paint application. It's usually applied after the size, in 2 to 3 layers. A primer is an absorbent coat that gives the paint something to stick to. Gesso is a type of primer.

Always size and prime your canvas or painting surface. To get a smooth surface, allow each coat to fully dry and lightly sand in between layers of primer.


One of the coolest, yet classic oil painting techniques that creates an optical illusion of depth and perspective. Fresco artists, notably during the Baroque period, did this to "open up a space" or to make flat surfaces look three-dimensional. It was often done to make ceilings look like the heavens or an open sky.

By Andrea Mantegna, di sotto in sù ceiling fresco using the Quadrato technique.


A thin or broken layer of semi-opaque paint brushed over an already painted surface. This creates texture in your painting while still exposing the bottom color or layer.


Removing areas of paint by scratching, cutting, or scraping. This reveals the underlayer. Artists like Rembrandt employed this technique to achieve fine details in their paintings.


To make a paint or pure color darker by mixing it with black.


A kind of glue used to seal wood panels or canvas before primer. You need to size or seal your surface so that the paint won't seep or sink through.

This is a necessary step to properly create a painting and ensure its longevity and structural integrity. Over time, paint can cause your unprimed, unsized canvas to rot or deteriorate.


A substance used to thin paint and speed up its drying time. Solvents are also used for cleaning brushes and painting implements. Turpentine is the most commonly used one, but it's toxic and emits fumes so be sure to paint in a well-ventilated area. Other solvents include turpenoid, odorless spirits or artist's white spirits.

You can opt for non-toxic solvents or just not use them altogether.


A general term for the surface you paint on (e.g. canvas, wood panel, paper).


To make a paint or pure color lighter by mixing it with white.


To make a paint or pure color duller or more neutral by mixing it with gray.

Trompe l'oeil

A French term that literally means "to deceive the eye." It's an illusionist, hyper-realistic style of painting that tricks you into perceiving a surface or object as real. Similar to quadratura.


The first or initial layer in oil painting commonly executed with a monochrome or dead color. It serves as the base of your composition, helping you map out where to lay down different colors.


How light or dark an object is, or the relative lightness and darkness of a color. It's often established on a tonal value scale, where white is the highest and black is the lowest value.


The final layer and a protective coat applied to a finished painting. Varnishes come in many finishes: matte, satin, glossy, and elsewhere in between. They also keep your painting protected from dust, cracking, and damage. Some varnishes now boast of UV protection for increased lightfastness.


An Italian term for the greenish or muted earth-green color—made from a mix of black, white, and yellow—to form a complete monochromatic underpainting. It was popular and essential to fresco painting but can also be used as a base for portraits or glazes.

Below you can see in Michelangelo's unfinished painting the underpainting process he used using the verdaccio method.


A thin or transparent layer of color. This is a more commonly used term in watercolor painting, but it can also apply to oil painting.


An occurrence where an oil painting darkens or yellows, often when stored in the dark. It's unfortunate but definitely avoidable and reversible.

To keep your painting from yellowing, make sure to varnish your work in a dirt and dust-free space. Don't overuse linseed oil medium as it contains acids that yellow over time. Finally, avoid varnishes that are prone to yellowing.

Have you started oil painting yet?

Now that you know most of the common oil painting terms, we're sure you can master the art of oil painting! Are there any terms we missed? Drop them in the comments below, and we'll add them to the list pronto.

Still unsure of oil painting? We've got tips, tutorials, and guides to the different oil painting techniques and mediums out there. Check out our guide to oil painting mediums, choosing oil paint, and oil paint brush strokes and techniques.

Head over to the Toolkit section on the ZenART Supplies blog. See you on the other side!


Belle O. Mapa is a writer and artist based in Manila, Philippines. She believes that everyone is born with an inner creative spirit—we just need to nurture and discover it on the blank page. Currently, she lives out her passion: writing stories, hosting journaling workshops, and advocating for mental health awareness.

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