Long Words: short hand for smaller ones

I used to be fond of big words like epistemology, ontology, intertextuality (never been fond of that one really) and so on. I think of such words as short hand for simpler language. But then, if I cannot explain a complex idea using simple words then I should reflect on whether I understand that idea well enough in the first place. There are times when an unusual word is called for. Perhaps to avoid repetition or to give a phrase a better meter. But to use big words wantonly when something simpler will do is to try to assume authority in the matter without warranting it. Big words can cover up confusion. Indeed I have often found myself confused with the words I use. 

Then there are situations when a big word is indeed needed. Usually because it stands for an idea, a theme, a topic. Take the word phenomenology, is that not simply talking about building a world view through the senses rather than through theory? Is it not the antithesis of metaphysics, solving problems of perception by abstract thinking? So unless I am talking about the subject itself, phenomenology, in which case referring to it as such makes perfect sense, I would rather talk about forming ideas through feelings and experience.

The what does one mean by the word ontology when talking about art? Why not say it as it is, talk about the way it was made, what it was made of, why it was made. That is so much more direct and pertinent. Meaning can be lost otherwise. It might be valid to talk about the epistemology of a painting in relation to its ontology, as short hand, but it would be equally valid to talk about looking at how the painting came about and the context in which it was made in relation to where we find ourselves now in order to undertand how we the perception of it has changed over time. This is another, but longer winded, way of saying the same thing. But perhaps more precise in helping to understand what is being meant. Approaching the verbalisation of ideas in this way I may get a much clearer idea of the relationship between two things and perhaps more importantly communicate that to myself and perhaps ultimately to the reader.