English is lacking when it comes to expressions of specific situations. In the particularly rich language of Japan, for example, “tatemae” means what you pretend to believe, and “honne” means what you actually believe.
Another Japanese expression, “arigata-meiwaku” is an act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favour, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude.
My idea is to add more compact expressions into the English language:
Outhanger: A painting you think is lousy but that others think is great which leaves you with the problem of what to do with it.
Snooler: A person who gushes over your work but who you suspect privately thinks he can do better but actually can’t.
Pormorse: The guilt you feel when you love to do your work and happen also to get paid for it.
Slovo: An artist who attends a classy dinner party with paint still on her hands and somebody makes a remark about it.
Daddylongpocket: A man who buys a painting done by a woman who is suspicious that the sale took place because she has nice legs and she has.
Seeblocker: A person with a high opinion of his own work and a low opinion of everyone else’s, neither point of view being justified.
Arstratto: A wannabe artist who knows how it’s done, knows all about it, talks about it all the time, but can’t bring himself to do it.
Dollarflopper: A dealer or a curator who tells an artist what or how to paint.
Superalphabetted: A person whose name is followed by a lot of letters.
Lugg: A husband who inquires when dinner might be ready just as the artist has wax-resisted and is laying in a delicate wash.
Ungrept: A wife who doesn’t understand she’s living with a genius.
If you have more, please send them to email@example.com for consideration and possible inclusion. We’re doing pioneer work here.
PS: “‘Dontopedology’ is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it.” (Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT, OM, GBE, AC, ONZ, QSO, GCL, PC, AdC)
Esoterica: The invention of words or expressions that describe complex actions is a way of taking possession of your personal processes. For example, “blindballing” is a system where a painting is made with no endgame in sight, which begins to evolve from the first stroke and continues to yin and yang between bravura and delicacy, glazing and scumbling, prodding with casual sloth and contriving with elegance and sensibility until a motif emerges that seems to be okay. The system is exciting but has its potential problems, including overworking. In Japan, an “age-otori” is someone who looks worse after they had the haircut. I use age-otori (pronounced ah-gee-oh-tori) as a handy noun to describe a painting that looks worse than when I first decided to stop working on it but didn’t.
by Dr. Hal Martin, San Antonio, TX, USA
Justimbiber: Art groupie who attends show openings to be seen and drink a lot of free wine with no intention to purchase.
There are 4 comments for Justimbiber by Dr. Hal Martin
by Diane Arenberg, Mequon, WI, /Santa Fe, NM, USA
Galliar: A person who points to a painting that is already sold and says, “I would have bought THAT one!”
Minwager: A person who asks you, “How many hours did it take you to paint that?”
There is 1 comment for Galliar, Minwager by Diane Arenberg
by Andrea Pottyondy, Fall River, NS, Canada
Dittotopper: An artist who takes too many workshops and their art ends up looking like replicas of the teaching artists’ work.
There is 1 comment for Dittotopper by Andrea Pottyondy
by Maryann Kovalski, Toronto, ON, Canada
Blugg: A man who assumes wives are the cooks in all families.
There are 2 comments for Blugg by Maryann Kovalski
by Dave Greene, Newton, NJ, USA
Freudenschadensnob: A person who tries to suppress their perverse joy that you are but an ‘associate’ member.
Famioaf, Bossoor, Dreammortuary, Recoart, etc.
by Valerie Vanorden, Kalamazoo, MI, USA
Famioaf: Family buys paintings/art from artist and keeps him/her in dark about how unprofessional he/she is.
Bossoor: Boring boss who has no goals and resents the artist who works a day job for having a life outside of the dull grind.
Dreammortuary: Dream killers send artists to the dreammortuary to pick up the scattered pieces of their lives, sometimes called rehab.
Recoart: Recovery art, done in a period of time and as a series of recovering one’s broken dreams.
Furryinterruptor: Dog/cat interloper who comes to investigate artists’ actions and either gets a nose full of paint or a pointed pen in the duff.
by John Unbehend, Seattle, WA, USA
Dopplescumbler: The artist that lives inside every painter’s head that tells them they should add just a bit more paint when a painting is done.
There are 3 comments for Dopplescumbler by John Unbehend
by Ray McNeice, Stouffville, ON, Canada
Artichoke: An artist who is so unsure of their work that they refuse to exhibit it publicly.
There are 4 comments for Artichoke by Ray McNeice
by Declan Whelehan, Toronto, ON, Canada
Ignoranus: One who loudly discusses a work while admitting he ‘knows nothing about art’ (and likes what he knows).
There is 1 comment for Ignoranus by Declan Whelehan
Liarkinding, Clownvisagia, Saddergaller
by Carmen Beecher, Satellite Beach, FL, USA
Liarkinding: Complimenting an artist on a painting you hate because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.
Clownvisagia: Going out in public unaware you have paint on your face.
Saddergaller: Depression because you didn’t sell well at your show.
by Peter Randall-Kent, Sydney, Australia
Stumour: A person who, at an exhibition of your work, raves about your talent, buttonholes you at every possible moment (much to your embarrassment in front of others) and promises to return and purchase a painting during the quieter period after the opening…………. never to return!
by Kathleen Hope, Fountain Hills, AZ, USA
Mockmoser: A non-artist that wants to be an artist because it’s cool to say, but lacks the work ethic to be one. Then suddenly decides to paint Plein-air in a public place.
There are 3 comments for Mockmoser by Kathleen Hope
Mortvert, Lensridden, Fleurish, Howdoyoudoitis, etc.
by Gabriella Morrison, Maple Ridge, BC, Canada
Mortvert: Sick to death of flabby landscapes.
Lensridden: Too heavy reliance on undigested photographic sources.
Fleurish: Flogged to distraction by floral themes.
Howdoyoudoitis: A condition of begging for details on technique.
Contrapasto: Decking an unwanted critic with a left hook.
Wax resist: A verbal method of argument with a workshop leader or teacher.
Digital manipulation: Finger-painting.
Pedigreed Dog: A bad work by a famous artist in any medium.
There is 1 comment for Mortvert, Lensridden, Fleurish, Howdoyoudoitis, etc. by Gabriella Morrison
Linguiflate, Turkey Salad, Oopsiopea, Damniopea, etc.
by Fawa Conradie, South Africa
Linguiflate: The use of “big” words when talking about an art piece; usually as a busk because he/she does not really know what to say about it.
Turkey Salad: The withdrawal symptom an artist (who works in oils) experiences when away from the intoxicating smell of his studio for a lengthy period (as in Cold Turkey).
Oopsiopea: Exact moment you realize, when using watercolours, you have just added that one brush stroke too many.
Damniopea: Exact moment when you realise you won’t make the deadline. Can also be used when realising that you won’t have enough works for a show.
Buttrofactus: Anything that accidently falls in an artist’s studio will land face down (much like buttered toast).
Lots to learn
by Kathleen Dawson, Black Creek, BC, Canada
These words are funny because they are true and also comforting to artists and so they are needed as every artist has sucked up every single one of these experiences. I teach occasionally and also put a huge amount of effort into each and every aspect of painting in class so that each student actually learns something about painting. After four or fewer lessons, students sometimes start asking about selling their work and how much could they get for their painting. It always amazes me how so many humans believe that painting is a simple process like a child’s exploration in kindergarten. Painting is a wonderland of exploration with millions of decisions made along the way, some successful, some a failure and some that need adjustments. Learning about this journey takes the better part of a lifetime.
There are 3 comments for Lots to learn by Kathleen Dawson
Vocabulary influences art
by Ania Kyte, BC, Canada
There is Polish expression, smacznego, which is said at the dinner table, wishing everyone enjoyment in eating the meal, similar to the French bon appétit; the Italians have the term sprezzaturra to refer to doing something with natural perfection, seemingly without any effort, despite how many hours of long practice may have taken place behind the scenes. It never ceases to amaze me how many times the English language seems to be missing terms for certain situations or conditions I love your idea of creating new words to address these deficiencies, thus simplifying long explanations… My English literature professors always commented that my papers were too wordy: I realize now that it might have been because I was trying to find a way to compensate for terms that don’t exist in English.
This wordy tendency can sometimes find ways of seeping into my artwork: whenever I find myself at the torch creating a tiny sculpture out of molten glass, I am constantly needing to fight the urge to add too much: too much of one colour, too many different colours, too much detail, too much heat… Despite best intentions, the piece becomes overworked and often nothing like that I had envisioned (similar to your “age-otori” factor), and I realize that working with basic colours and shaping the glass quickly to achieve simple designs conveys more than any contrived intricacy. This is what I strive for even after ten years of working with molten glass — I think it is a worthy goal, although it might require inventing a new mental vocabulary for my glass techniques :-)
There is 1 comment for Vocabulary influences art by Ania Kyte
The Fire Next Time
collage 48 x 48 inches
You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.
Enjoy the past comments below for A new vocabulary…