The Elements of Composition in Art and Design

Take a look at a work of art. What do you see? You likely notice characters, actions, and scenery, but if you look a little closer, you will notice movement, contrast, patterns, and balance. These are the elements of composition—various visual elements that make up a painting or drawing. They are not to be confused with the elements of art, which include lines, shapes, colors, values, etc.  

There are 8 elements of composition in art and design, and they are as follows: The Elements of Composition in Art and Design

  • Balance focuses on the symmetry or asymmetry of a work of art. A symmetrical painting, for instance, will feel calm and balanced, while an asymmetrical painting will appear chaotic and unbalanced.  
  • Unity, or variety, asks how diverse or monotonous a particular work of art appears. In other words, do the objects of your painting or drawing fit together? Or does something seem out of place? 
  • Contrast is the difference or juxtaposition of various elements of art. You can have contrast between light and dark, circles and squares, or any other seemingly different elements. 
  • Focus, or emphasis, is as it sounds—it’s the focal point of your artwork. When someone views your painting, their eye will automatically gravitate towards a specific subject. That is the focal point.  
  • Pattern is the repetition of certain shapes, lines, colors, or elements. Practically anything can be turned into a pattern just as long as it repeats throughout the painting or drawing. 
  • Movement is the illusion or sense of motion (or lack thereof) throughout a piece of art. For example, a scarf blowing in the wind portrays movement, while a cup sitting on a table portrays stillness. 
  • Rhythm relies on movement, as it uses the sense of motion to create an organized repetition of artistic elements. It is often confused with pattern, but while patterns are consistent (the same shape over and over again), rhythm includes variety (different shapes repeated in a similar order). You can think of it as rhythm in music where there is a consistent, underlying beat but with various notes.  
  • Proportion is how different subjects or objects relate to one another. By using linear perspective, you can make objects appear large or small, nearby or distant.

Understanding the elements of composition in art and design is one way to elevate the quality of your artwork. To learn more about how to use these elements, sign up for a beginner’s art class here at Creative Ventures Gallery today! 

How to Use the Horizon Line in Your Artwork

For any type of artwork, the horizon line is an essential part of making your art more realistic. It helps you to scale the subjects in your drawing or painting properly, and it provides a sense of three-dimensionality to a strictly two-dimensional surface. As such, understanding what the horizon line is and how it works is one of the first steps you need to take in improving your artwork.  

What is the horizon line?How to Use the Horizon Line  

In a drawing or painting, the horizon line is the point where the earth meets the sky. It is always at eye-level—no more and no less. While not all works of art depict the horizon (after all, plenty of paintings and drawings feature interior settings rather than exteriors), artists will create an eye-level line to ensure that the subjects are in the proper perspective.   

Why do we need to use it?  

Simply put, a horizon line helps us to create perspective. Linear perspective is an artistic technique that makes a 2D surface appear three-dimensional by creating an illusion of depth. Think about it. Objects that are farther away from us appear small, while objects that are closer to us appear big. Thus, to make a painting or drawing realistic, we have to replicate this by making subjects that are further away smaller, and items that are closer to us bigger. We can do this by creating a horizon line with a vanishing point as a point of reference.  

Horizon lines and linear perspective are crucial techniques for beginner artists to learn. At Creative Ventures Gallery, our beginner drawing classes can teach you the basics of horizon lines, linear perspective, and more so that you can reach new creative heights. Give us a call today at 603-672-2500 to learn more. 

How Art Therapy Can Benefit Seniors

Art therapy can help anyone, no matter their age or situation. Children, for instance, can improve their critical thinking skills, and adults can use art to improve their mental health. Seniors can also benefit from art therapy, as recent studies have shown that seniors who participate in artistic activities are less depressed and have fewer doctors’ visits. Here’s how: 

Cognitive functions and intellectual stimulation How Art Therapy Can Benefit Seniors

Art is a creative activity the involves using different parts of our brains. By stimulating brain activity, then, it can keep our minds sharp. Some studies have even found that art therapy can slow the development of dementia or Alzheimer’s. 

Motor skills 

Art is found to improve motor skills in children, and that’s also the case for seniors. It forces you to use your hands as you focus on a single task. The low-impact physical activities can improve coordination and increase blood flow in your joints, hands, wrists, and fingers. As such, it can also help alleviate pain brought on by arthritis. 

Communication skills 

Art is a form of expression, and as a result, it can help seniors communicate emotions or thoughts that they may not able to form into words. Additionally, an art class can be especially helpful as it gives seniors a chance to meet and talk with others, alleviating feelings of isolation or loneliness. 

Mental health 

As we said before, art is proven to help those suffering from mental health issues, no matter their age. Many seniors struggle with depression and anxiety disorders. In fact, 15% of adults over the age of 60 suffer from a mental disorder. Art therapy may not be a sole cure, but it can certainly help ease symptoms, and, in conjunction with other forms of therapy, it can lead to a happier lifestyle. 

Here at Creative Ventures Gallery, we believe that art can help all people, in all age groups. That’s why our classes and workshops are open to anyone near the Milford, NH area. Contact us today to learn more. 

How to Stay Creative During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Creativity doesn’t have an on-off switch. Even if the best of times we struggle to find our artistic inspiration, but during the coronavirus pandemic, it is even more difficult.  Yet, art can be a great way to escape the stresses of everyday life, and thankfully, there are ways to find that creative spark again. Here’s how: 

Give yourself a break How to Stay Creative During the Coronavirus Pandemic

While you may have more time to dedicate to your creative endeavors, a global pandemic is not necessarily conducive to creativity. When you’re worrying about your health, your family, and your job security, the inspiration for your next drawing will be harder to come by. So, don’t force it. Instead, put down your paintbrush and give yourself a break for a few days, even a few weeks.  

Spend your time doing activities to spark your creativity 

While you’re taking a break from your art, you can find other activities to spend your time with. There are several activities that can help to boost creativity and might encourage you to head back to the canvas again. Here are just a few ideas to get you started: 

  • Go for a daily walk or run 
  • Read a book 
  • Listen to podcasts 
  • Doodle in a journal 
  • Watch movies or TV shows 

Start small and start slow 

When you feel you’re ready to pick up that paintbrush again, don’t think that you can jump right into your biggest project. Instead, ease your way into it by starting with a smaller, less intimidating project. Create whatever comes to mind, and don’t worry if it’s not very good. When you feel you need to take a break again, do so. Your project will still be there when you come back. 

While you may not be able to attend your favorite art class, staying creative during the coronavirus pandemic is important for your art and for your own well-being. Then, once this pandemic is over, you can return to our classes here at Creative Ventures Gallery and pick up where you left off. If you still find that you need a hand tapping into your creative side, we are open by appointment and for a limited number of classes. For more information, contact us today.  

How Drawing Can Improve Your Mood

There are many reasons why people should pick up a pencil and draw. Drawing, or any other form of art, can improve our mental health and aid childhood development. It can also improve our mood in the present moment, helping to make a bad day somewhat more bearable. Here’s how:

It gives us something to focus onHow Drawing Can Improve Your Mood

When you’re in a bad mood, your mind can swirl with a thousand dark thoughts. This will only make your situation worse, but if you can take your mind off of what’s happened, then your present state of mind will start to improve. Drawing helps us do this by making us focus on something else. In that respect, it’s similar to mediation, forcing us to pay attention to our environment and our actions rather than what’s bothering us.

Drawing helps to express our emotions

Sometimes we have emotions that are just too difficult to explain in words. Drawing can help by giving us an outlet to express our feelings without words and without judgment. By expressing our emotions, we can lift that invisible weight off of our shoulders.

What should I draw?

Anything! If you’re a bad mood, just pick up a pencil and draw anything that comes to mind. It could be a beautiful landscape or simple stick figures. Whatever it is, it will at least help to distract you from your present concerns. If, however, you’re having a hard time coming up with something to draw, then try to look online or outside for some inspiration. And remember, it doesn’t have to be good to help improve your mood!

Here at Creative Ventures Gallery, we believe that the creative process enriches all lives. So, be sure to sign up for one of our classes or workshops to see how art can be a positive force in your life.

What Is Value in Art?

The word “value” can take on many different meanings in the art world. There’s the monetary value that a piece of artwork may have; there is also the cultural value that a painting or drawing may have as well. For this blog post, however, we are concerned with the third type of value: that in relation to color and light.

The definition of valueWhat Is Value in Art?

There are seven elements of art, and value is one of those seven. Put simply, value is how light or dark something is. An object can have multiple values depending on the way light hits its surface. For instance, if you shine a light down on an apple, the top of the apple, facing the light, will be lighter than the bottom of the apple. These two parts of the apple, then, will have two different values, as will the parts in between. In order to replicate an object accurately, then, an artist must replicate the exact values that object may have.

Value scale

Value exists on a black and white scale that, technically speaking, can go on for infinity. However, most artists use a scale from 1 to 9, with 1 representing the lightest white and 9 representing the darkest black. Every color can be placed somewhere on this scale, as all colors, even if they’re not in black and white, have their own value.

Why do you need it?

In order for your artwork to appear realistic, you must create the illusion of space and depth. One way to do this is through linear perspective; another way is through value. Value creates the illusion of light and shadow so that your drawing appears as close to the real thing as possible.

At Creative Ventures Gallery, our beginner classes can teach you the basics of value as well as the other seven elements of art so that you can reach new creative heights. Give us a call today at 603-672-2500 to learn more.

Why Art Is Important to Childhood Development

In recent years, schools have been promoting the STEM subjects more and more. While math and science are certainly important, so, too, is art. Art is a form of expression, a way for children to communicate their ideas and to understand the world in a better light. It is also crucial for childhood development, teaching important skills that will help our children for years to come.

Communication skillsWhy Art Is Important to Childhood Development

Art provides children an opportunity to learn about the world around them. In that respect, it also helps them to communicate their ideas about that world. While forming sentences and phrases may still be difficult, they can instead use colors, shapes, and actions to communicate their wants and needs. It also helps them to learn how to express feelings that may be difficult to communicate through verbal language.

Critical thinking skills

When creating a piece of artwork, multiple decisions must be made. Even if it’s something as simple as stick figures, you still have to decide where the stick figures are, what they’re doing, how big they are, and more. These decisions help to improve our critical thinking skills, which in turn helps to improve our creativity.

Inventiveness and problem solving

With art comes innovation, encouraging children to think outside of the box and to look at situations in a different light. By enhancing their creativity, art can teach children how to solve problems in unique, and previously unthought of, ways.

Fine motor skills

Art can change the way we think, but it can also change the way we do. More specifically, by frequently using pencils, scissors, paintbrushes, and other artistic tools, children can learn better ways to control their hands and develop their find motor skills.

Teaching art to our children is just as important as any other subject or skill they learn. That’s why we at Creative Ventures Gallery provide painting and drawing classes just for kids. Give us a call at 603-672-2500 to learn more.

Understanding Linear Perspective

We live in a 3D world. Everything around us has the breadth and depth of three-dimensional objects. Our artwork? Not so much. Drawings and paintings are done on a two-dimensional surface, but in order to make them realistic, we must make them appear as three-dimensional. Thankfully, there is one way we can accomplish this: linear perspective.

What is linear perspective?Understanding Linear Perspective

Linear perspective is a drawing technique that gives the illusion of depth. In other words, it tricks the eye into believing that the picture in front of it is actually 3D, not 2D. Objects that are farther away from us appear smaller, so we draw them smaller to create that illusion of space and distance. As those objects meet the horizon line, they disappear into one (or more) points called the vanishing point.

Types of linear perspective

There is more than one way to create depth with linear perspective. In fact, there are three ways: one-point perspective, two-point perspective, and three-point perspective.

One-point perspective

One-point perspective has only one vanishing point along the horizon line. Imagine a picture of a road stretching straight out into the distance. This is one-point perspective.

Two-point perspective

Also known as three-quarter perspective or angular perspective, two-point perspective has two vanishing points along the horizon line. The vanishing points are typically on either side of a canvas, and they’re used to convey such things as two corners of a building on a street.

Three-point perspective

Three-point perspective, or multi-point perspective, has three vanishing points along the horizon line. This type of perspective is good if you want it to appear like you’re staring up at an object. To accomplish this, you would place two vanishing points on each far end of the horizon line and then a third point above them.

Linear perspective is the building block of artwork, but it can be confusing for someone who has never been introduced to the concept before. At Creative Ventures Gallery, our beginner drawing classes can teach you the basics of linear perspective and more so that you can reach new creative heights. Give us a call today at 603-672-2500 to learn more.

Graphite vs. Charcoal Pencils: What’s Best for You?

An artist has many tools, but you have to use the right ones in order to properly translate what’s in your head onto paper. Graphite and charcoal are the two most widely used materials for drawing, and while both are carbon-based, their functions fundamentally differ. Here we go through everything you need to know about graphite and charcoal so that you know which is best for your next project:

GraphiteGraphite vs. Charcoal Pencils: What's Best for You?

Despite being called “lead,” graphite is what the majority of modern writing pencils are made out of. It comes in a range of consistencies, starting from 9H all the way to 9B (with 9H being the hardest and the lightest, and 9B being the softest and the darkest). Graphite is great for sketching, but it works better on smooth paper (the type you would use for smaller drawings or quick sketches). It’s also easy to blend thanks to its softer nature.

Charcoal

Graphite is made for small, quick sketches, but if you have a large project, then you’ll want to use charcoal. Charcoal has a wide range of values and consistencies; this range allows you to capture every possible shade necessary for your project. However, it is messy, and if you’re not careful, you could smudge parts of your drawing. It’s also difficult to capture minute details, as charcoal is better for a “big-picture” (literally) type of scenario.

Once you have the right pencils for your project, all that’s left is to start drawing. However, if you’re new to drawing, this could be a big step to take. At Creative Ventures Gallery, our drawing classes can teach you everything you need to know about graphite, charcoal, and the drawing medium in general. Contact us today to learn more.

The Basics of Color Theory

From painters to graphic designers, all sorts of creators use color theory for their work. It’s how we determine how colors match, blend, and complement one another. The entire field of color theory could fill several books, but it’s always best to start with the basics in order to truly understand the concept.

The Color WheelThe Basics of Color Theory

Chances are that you learned at least a bit about the color wheel while you were attending art classes in elementary and middle school. First created by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666, the color wheel has gone through several variations but nevertheless accomplishes the same goal—informing us how colors relate to one another.

The Types of Color

The color wheel is a representation of the three main types of color—primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Primary colors

Red, yellow, and blue. These are the basis of which all other colors are derived. As such, they cannot be created by any combination of other colors.

Secondary colors

Green, orange, and purple. These colors are formed by mixing primary colors.

Tertiary colors

Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green. These are formed by mixing primary colors with secondary colors.

Color Harmony

The color wheel can also help is determine how colors harmonize with one another to create a color scheme. There are many color schemes that can be created, but these are the basic ones:

Analogous

Analogous colors are three colors that are side by side on a color wheel.

Complementary

Complementary colors are two colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green.

Triadic

A triadic color scheme is formed by three colors that are equidistant (of equal distance) from one another on the color wheel.

Tetradic

Tetradic is similar to triadic, except it includes four colors that are equidistant from one another rather than just three.

While this blog post covers the basics of color theory, there is certainly much more to learn. At Creative Ventures Gallery, we offer color theory workshops where you can learn everything there is to know about color theory. Give us a call today at 603-672-2500 to learn more.