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.

Oil Painting vs. Acrylic Painting

When people are first learning how to paint, they’re often given a single medium for them to practice with first. Both oil and acrylic are often recommended to beginners due to their ease of mastery. However, which one you choose will depend a lot on what you’re trying to achieve and your own personal preferences. To make your decision easier, read on to find out the major differences between oil painting and acrylic painting.

Oil PaintingOil Painting vs. Acrylic Painting

Oil paints are made up of pigments and oil. As a result, oil can stay wet for much longer than acrylic. This gives you a lot of flexibility in what you’re painting, allowing you to cover up mistakes or change a particular section with ease. This also leads to a beautiful blending of color on the canvas that can help you create more subtle transitions in your painting. Keep in mind, though, that while it may be easier to blend colors, it will be harder to create clear, crisp edges and delineations.

Acrylic Painting

Acrylic paints are made up of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. As opposed to oil paints, acrylic dries quickly, which can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preference. If you don’t want to wait around for your painting to dry, then a fast-drying paint is what you’re looking for. However, this also means that it’s more difficult to blend your colors and achieve soft edges. Nevertheless, if you’re opting for clear, crisp lines and edges, then a fast-drying paint can help you achieve this with colors that won’t fade over time.

No matter which medium you choose, when you’re first learning to paint, it’s best to learn from someone who knows what they’re doing. Here at Creative Ventures Gallery, we offer both oil and acrylic painting classes. Sign up today or give us a call for more information.

Can Adults Learn to Draw?

YES. Adults can learn to draw. That’s the short answer, of course, but the longer answer is a bit more complicated. Yes, adults can learn to draw, but they have to deal with a lot of obstacles in order to do so—obstacles that are often of their own creation. The fact of the matter is that we have many beliefs that make us think that there’s an age limit on picking up a new skill, but this is simply not the case. You can learn to draw just like anyone else, but first you have to put aside these myths making you believe the opposite.

“Kids learn better than adults”Can Adults Learn to Draw?

There is some truth to this. In general, kids learn faster than adults, but just because they learn faster doesn’t mean they learn better. Adults, unlike kids, have discipline, patience, and resources in order to stay committed their goals. This gives them a very big advantage when learning a new skill. Yes, it may take you a bit longer than the kid next door, but you have the qualities to keep at it and become just as good as them in time.

Talent vs. Skill

You can learn a skill just as anyone, but many people get caught up in this idea of “talent” so much that they give up before they’ve even begun. Don’t. When people refer to “talent,” they mean certain people have an innate ability at a specific skill; it was something that they were born to do. While some people may pick up things quicker than others, how much “talent” you have is not a determinant in the quality of your work. No one is born drawing just like Leonardo da Vinci; they have to learn the basics of a skill just as you, and what will really determine the quality of your work is how much effort you put into it.

Put aside your insecurity

Another thing that sets adults apart from kids is that adults often care much more about what other people think than kids do. We’re constantly comparing our work to that of others, and we’re always afraid that someone is going to criticize our artwork. However, this will happen no matter what level of an artist you art. So, put aside your insecurities, ignore that negative voice in your head, and keep drawing. Your work will get better in time.

Anyone at any age can learn to draw, but even we admit that picking up a new skill can be a daunting task. Sometimes it’s comforting to have a helping hand throughout the process, so consider signing up for beginner’s drawing class to get you started. At Creative Ventures Gallery, our beginner’s drawing class is specifically geared towards adults to help them acquire a love of art. Sign up today or contact us for more information.

What is Plein Air Painting?

Have you ever painted outdoors? Then you’ve practiced plein air painting. It’s full name, en plein air, means “in the open air,” and it’s essentially the act of painting while outside (or, in the open air). Read on to find out more:

The history of en plein airWhat is Plein Air Painting

People have been painting outside for generations. In fact, some of the very first paintings were painted outside. However, the term en plein air wasn’t coined until the 1800s when painting outdoors became truly popular. This is due to a lot of reasons, the main ones being an expanding middle class, and the increasing relevance of particular art movements such as the Barbizon school, the Hudson River School, and the Impressionists. Additionally, with the invention of metal paint tubes in the mid-19th century, painting materials were cheaper and easier to acquire than they were in years past, making painting a much more accessible hobby to more and more people.

Notable plein air painters

Many famous painters throughout history are considered plein air painters. Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pierre-August Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and more all practiced en plein air. The Impressionists, the Barbizon school, and the Hudson River School were also highly involved in plein air painting because they believed in emphasizing natural light in their paintings.

Plein air painting in the modern day

Plein air painting is experiencing a bit of a renaissance in the modern day. Increasingly, artists of all levels are getting together for excursions and/or workshops dedicated to the craft. From cities to farms, buildings to landscapes, modern plein air painters are realizing how enjoyable it is to sit and capture the outside world.

If you’re interested in experiencing the joys of painting outdoors, then be sure to check out the plein air workshops available at Creative Ventures Gallery. Have further questions about plein air painting? Then give us a call at 603-672-2500.