Want to sound like someone who is art savvy? Make sure you don’t use the following art “faux pas.”

• Using the word “seriagraph” – Actually, there is no such thing as a seriagraph. What you are attempting to reference is a form of printmaking known as a serigraph, screenprint or using past terminology, a silkscreen print.

• Using the word “sketches” – Those who are knowledgeable about art use the term “drawings” instead of sketches.

• Using the word “picture” – The word picture suggests an item that is more decorative in nature, while the word “painting” denotes a valuable work of art. The word decorative tends to be used as a put down when commenting on the desirability of a work of art, somewhat akin to the word “interesting”.

• Using the words “it’s just a print” – There have been prints that have sold for several hundred thousand dollars, for example, works by Mary Cassatt, Pablo Picasso, Hokusai, and Sharaku. Aside from value, some artists did not create paintings, so their entire form of expression used printmaking. Sometimes effects achieved with printmaking cannot be accomplished with painting or drawing directly. If you meant “just a reproduction or a reproductive print”, then you are commenting on a photograph of an existing artwork, which does not constitute an original work of art. This is entirely proper.

• Falling into the “art trap” – Whenever you are asked what you think about a painting, check to see if there are similar paintings in the room before responding. A family member or close friend may the proud artist. This is what I call the “art trap.” A sharp observer will recognize that each piece is signed with the same name. Find something positive to say. Life in the art lane can be treacherous, but it is just like functioning as an expert witness, Think before you speak.

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