Summary: The word artless has multiple meanings, some of which you can likely guess easily and some that may surprise you.
Here's a word that seems straight-forward, but has some subtle variations to its multiple meanings, depending on how it's used:
Artless (ART - les) is an adjective that can be just what it sounds—uncultured, or lacking in knowledge, skill, art—as in, "He's an artless buffoon, and I don't know what she ever saw in him." It can also be used to convey crudeness in action, like, "The opposing candidate's artless attempt to win votes did his campaign no favors." Or it can mean natural, free from artificiality: "Still, there's an artless grace to both of them that hasn't yet been tainted by the poseurs and politicians around them."
The word artless is also a synonym for innocent. In this case, it's also meant to convey freedom from artificiality, lacking in guile or craft, naturalness—such as, "The artless young woman wears her heart on her sleeve for all to see."
The English language adopted the word around 1590, and as with all multi-meaning words, its various usages evolved over time. It's important to study the sentence each time you see this word in print or hear it being spoken, so that you understand the meaning that's being related. If you get it confused, someone may just accuse you of being artless!
If you Twitter, use the word artless in your tweets today, along with my username (@KealahParkinson) and I'll send you free information on my soon-to-be-released e-course, Speak YOUR Truth, where you can learn to say what you mean to get what you want.
© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009