Color Theory Made Simple: Understanding the Basics for More Vibrant Artwork

Color is an essential element in the creation of art. It sets the mood, defines form, and brings life to your artwork. Understanding the basics of color theory can make your artwork more vibrant and harmonious. Let’s demystify the color theory and learn how to use it effectively in your art.

Understanding the Color WheelCircle color palette on a white background. Circle reflection on a white background.

The color wheel, created by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666, is a circular diagram that illustrates the relationships between primary (red, blue, yellow), secondary (green, orange, violet), and tertiary colors. Understanding this relationship is key to creating color harmony in your work.

Exploring Color Harmony

Color harmony refers to the arrangement of colors in a way that is pleasing to the eye. There are several ways to achieve color harmony:

  • Complementary Colors: These are colors located directly opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green or blue and orange. When used together, they create high contrast and vibrant artwork.
  • Analogous Colors: These are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, such as yellow, yellow-green, and green. Using analogous colors creates a more harmonious and calming effect.
  • Triadic Colors: This color scheme involves three colors that are equally spaced around the color wheel, such as red, yellow, and blue. It offers a vibrant yet balanced look to your artwork.

Understanding Color Values

Color value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. Learning to manipulate color values can help in creating depth, volume, and spatial illusions in your artwork.

Exploring Color Temperature

Colors can also be categorized as warm (red, orange, yellow) or cool (blue, green, violet) based on perceived temperature. Warm colors tend to advance (come forward) in a painting, while cool colors recede (fall back), helping create a sense of depth and perspective.

Understanding color theory is a lifelong journey. If you want to further deepen your knowledge and put theory into practice, consider taking a class at Creative Ventures Gallery. Our instructors guide you through the intricacies of color theory and help you apply these principles to your artwork. Call us at 603-672-2500 for more information.

A Beginner’s Guide to Plein Air Painting in Beautiful New Hampshire

Plein air painting encourages the artist to get out of the studio and into the environment. It offers a unique experience that captures the essence of a landscape while challenging the artist to adapt to the ever-changing environment. New Hampshire, with its stunning landscapes, offers endless opportunities for plein air painting. In this guide, we’ll provide tips to help you practice your plein air painting in beautiful New Hampshire.

Choosing the Perfect Location

New Hampshire boasts an array of picturesque landscapes for plein air painters. Whether you’re drawn to the serene lakes, lush forests, or quaint towns, there’s something for everyone. Some popular spots for plein air painting in New Hampshire include:

Gearing Up for Plein Air Painting

To make the most of your experience, it’s crucial to have the right painting tools. Here are some essentials you’ll need:

  • A portable easel or lightweight sketchbox
  • A selection of brushes, paints, and other art materials
  • A backpack or tote to carry your supplies
  • A hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent
  • A folding chair or stool

Mastering the Techniques

Plein air painting requires a different approach compared to studio painting. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Embrace the imperfections: Unlike studio painting, plein air painting is about capturing the essence of a scene rather than creating a detailed replica. Embrace the imperfections and focus on the overall atmosphere.
  • Work quickly: Natural light and weather conditions change rapidly. Develop a sense of urgency and prioritize your time to capture the essence of the scene.
  • Simplify your palette: Limit your color palette to a few essential colors. This will help you mix colors more efficiently and achieve harmony in your painting.
  • Observe and adapt: Pay close attention to the changing light, shadows, and colors in the landscape. Be prepared to adjust your painting as the scene evolves.

With these tips, you should be well-prepared for your plein air painting trip into New Hampshire. However, it’s important to master the fundamentals of painting before you head out into the open world. To sign up for our art classes, call Creative Ventures Gallery at 603-672-2500 for more information.

How to Find Inspiration and Overcome Creative Block

At some point in their artistic journey, many artists encounter the dreaded creative block. It’s a state of mind where ideas seem elusive, and every blank canvas looks intimidating. But fear not! Here are some tried and tested strategies to ignite your creativity and overcome creative block.

Seek Inspiration in Your Surroundings

Inspiration often lurks in the most unexpected places. Exploring your surroundings, either through a walk in the park or even a new route to your favorite coffee shop, can help spark new ideas. Be open to the world around you, observe the colors, shapes, and patterns in nature, and use them as a starting point for your art.

Challenge Yourself with New Techniques

Embracing new techniques or mediums can be an effective way to overcome creative block. It allows you to view your work from a different perspective and can inject fresh energy into your art. You could try your hand at watercolors if you’re accustomed to acrylics or delve into the world of digital art. The possibilities are endless!

Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation

Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and yoga, can help clear your mind and relieve stress, enabling you to reconnect with your creative energy. Regular practice can enhance your focus and free up mental space for creative thoughts to flow more freely.

Create an Inspirational Mood Board

Mood boards are a great tool for gathering and organizing ideas. Collect images, colors, textures, and patterns that inspire you and arrange them on a board. This visual aid can help you conceptualize new ideas and create a cohesive visual language for your next piece.

Connect with Other Artists

Engaging with a community of artists can provide you with valuable insights and fresh perspectives. Share your thoughts and ideas, discuss your creative block, and seek advice. The shared experience and feedback can be an effective antidote to creative stagnation.

Take an Art Class

If you’re still struggling to find inspiration, consider taking an art class at Creative Ventures Gallery. Our classes and workshops can provide a supportive environment and expert guidance to help you navigate through your creative block. Call us at 603-672-2500 to learn more.

Acrylic Painting Tips for Beginners

If you’re just stepping into the world of painting, acrylic painting is a great place to start. Thanks to its versatility, you can paint on practically any surface (as long as it doesn’t contain wax or oil), and thanks to its forgiving nature, it’s easy to cover up any mistakes. However, like with all forms of art, there are some tricks to mastering the craft.

Use synthetic brushessenior artist painting on easel, canvas, intelligent professional painter enjoys art

For acrylic painting, synthetic materials (e.g., nylon) are the best choice. Plus, there are various sizes, textures, and flexibilities to suit your needs. You can follow this guide on finding the perfect synthetic paintbrush.

Take care of your brushes

If you’re not using a specific brush, place it in water so the paint doesn’t dry in them. Once you’re done painting for the day, you should clean your brushes right away. You can use regular soap and water. However, be sure to get to the base of the bristles and then rinse and dry them well. Then lie them flat to dry, checking to make sure that you’ve cleaned out every bit of paint you can find.

Keep the paint wet

As a beginner, you’ll likely work slower than a more experienced painter. If you’re not careful, then, you could be working on a specific area only to realize that the paint you’re using has dried out. There are two ways to avoid this. The first is to work on larger areas/shapes first, and to work on them quickly with a large brush. The second is to have a plant mister on hand to spray the paint on your palette (yes, you should be using a palette) to keep them wet.

If you’re still a bit lost on how to paint with acrylics, then the best way to get started is to take an acrylic painting class. At Creative Venture Gallery, we offer several acrylic painting classes for all levels. We even have one that’s dedicated to beginner acrylic painters, so sign up today to get started!

How to Test the Believability of Your Painting

As an artist, you want your work to appear believable. But as a beginner artist, that may be difficult to accomplish. It can also be hard to tell if your painting is truly accurate when you’ve been working on it for so long.

Thankfully, there are several ways you can test your painting for believability.woman painting art in gallery

The Squint Test

Squinting helps reduces the “noise” of what you see. Squinting at your painting can help you see any glaring issues, particularly in relation to value (how light or dark your colors are) and major shapes. However, keep in mind that this will not help you pinpoint smaller issues. This is all for big-picture items.

The Thumbnail Test

Take a look at a thumbnail photo of your painting. Does it appear realistic? If so, then that’s a good sign. But if something seems off in your thumbnail, then something is off in your painting.

The Grayscale Test

Take a photo of your painting and then switch it to grayscale. This will allow you to see the value structure of your painting. You can then compare this to the reference photo and determine how believable your painting really is. Additionally, the grayscale photo should also be done with the reference so that apples can be compared to apples.

Grid and Key Measurements Test

Place a three-by-three grid over a photo of your painting. Then, do the same for your reference photo. Does everything line up? If so, then you have a believable painting. If not, then you may need to fix some items.

Turn It Upside Down

Another way to detect perspective error issues? Simply turn your painting upside down. This will allow you to look at your painting in a new light and allow your right brain to evaluate shapes not objects. When the painting is upright, your left brain identifies all the parts and overlooks the incorrect shapes. Turning the piece upside down, points out some flaws that you didn’t notice when it was right-side up.

Many of these tests can help you determine how accurate your painting is. However, nothing will substitute a great art teacher. At Creative Ventures Gallery, we offer many art classes and workshops. Contact us today to learn more!

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. They include the following:

  • Claude Monet
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Pierre-August Renoir
  • Alfred Sisley

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.

Everything You Need to Know About Selling Your Artwork at an Art Gallery

You’ve grown as an artist and you’ve started to build up a reputation in your local community. You may now be thinking of selling your artwork at a local art gallery. But how do you do so? Read on to learn more:

Commissions vs. Outright salesyoung woman at an art gallery writing notes

There are two ways an art gallery can pay you for your work: through commissions and through outright sales. The majority of art galleries take work on commission, in which the gallery  pay you a percent if the work sells. Typically, they can take up to 50% of the sale. Of course, each gallery is different, and the higher figures are usually from larger galleries.

How many pieces can you sell?

Once again, this will depend on the gallery. Some galleries are strict and will require you to provide them with a certain number of new pieces over a particular time period. Others are more relaxed and will simply take as many pieces as their space allows.

How to approach an art gallery

There is a right way and a wrong way to approach an art gallery. Here’s a quick step-by-step:

Find a gallery where your work would fit

As wonderful as your art may be, it likely won’t be the perfect fit for every art gallery out there. Your work needs to go with the general theme of the gallery without looking like another artist who’s already there.

Make an appointment

Gallery owners do not appreciate it when artists simply drop in. Instead, make an appointment. You can call or email a gallery to set up an initial appointment. If you choose to email them, attach photos of your work to the email. Don’t send them to your website as owners are busy and get inundated with requests all the time.

In order to sell your artwork at a gallery, you have to first improve your talents at an artist. Creative Ventures Gallery can help. Look through our available classes to find one that’s right for you!

Top 3 Tips for Painting Hair and Fur

Whether you’re painting a nature scene with graceful animals or a portrait of someone you love, you will need to know how to paint hair and/or fur. This can be tricky for beginners due to the details and nuance that hair and fur requires. That’s why we’ve put together our top 3 tips to help you master painting hair and fur.

Start with big, simple shapeswatercolor painting of a lion

Many beginners struggle to paint hair and fur because they get caught up in all the tiny details. While details are certainly important, it will be easier for you to start with big, simple shapes. Then, once you have the general appearance settled, you can focus on the finer details. Just as with anything, a good foundation needs to be set before you even begin to think about the details.

Remember the underlying structure of the body

Hair and fur are always attached to a body, and yet many beginner painters seem to treat it as separate entities. As a result, the hair and fur appear to be floating around the body rather than being a part of it. As such, you need to focus on the underlying structure of the body that the hair/fur is on for it to appear truly realistic.

Use highlights and accents accordingly

Highlights and accents can help make hair and fur truly come alive. If you apply them carefully, then it can add movement and character. And remember, with highlights and accents, it’s always about contrast.

No artist learns on their own. That’s why we at Creative Ventures Gallery offers a wide variety of classes and workshops for you to choose from. Contact us today to learn more!

What Types of Natural Hairs Are Used for Paint Brushes?

There are a wide variety of paint brushes on the market. The type you choose will have a huge impact on how your painting turns out. As such, every factor must be considered.

When choosing a paint brush, many artists examine the type of hairs it has. Below, we cover the different types of natural hairs are used for paint brushes so you can make the most informed decision possible.Brushes in a glass jar


Paint brushes made out of sable marten hair is soft and malleable. They form a fine point to allow painters to create more detailed paintings. These types of brushes are most often used as watercolor brushes.


Squirrels have soft hair with a little bit of a spring to it. Brushes made from squirrel hairs are cheaper than sable, but we recommend only using larger squirrel brushes, not smaller ones. This is because squirrel brushes need more hairs for support.


Hog brushes use the hair from the back of a pig. They’re used mainly for oil or acrylic painting because the hairs’ natural split-ends allow them to hold increasing amounts of paint.


Camel brushes don’t actually come from camels. This is because camel hair is too woolly for brushes. Instead, when you see a brush labeled “camel” hair, it is really made from other types of soft hair.


Ox hair is long, strong, and springy. As a result, they’re often used for flat shaped brushes.


Horse or pony hairs are often coarse, so they are only used for cheaper watercolor brushes.


Finally, there’s goat hair. These lack a spring but they do form a solid point. As such, they’re often used for calligraphy or Chinese Brush painting.

No artist learns on their own. That’s why we at Creative Ventures Gallery offers a wide variety of classes and workshops for you to choose from. Contact us today to learn more!

Understanding the Foreground, Middle Ground, and Background

As a budding artist, you’ve likely heard people talk about the foreground, middle ground, and background of a painting. But what, exactly, do they mean by this? Here, we break down the meanings so that you can use them to your advantage as you begin your artistic career.

Foregroundpainting of a forest

The foreground refers to the area of space or object in the painting that is closest to the viewer. If your focal point is in the foreground, then it will appear close and intimate while objects in the middle ground and background are simply there to complement it.

Middle Ground

The middle ground is, as the name suggests, in the middle of the painting. If your focal point is in the middle ground of your painting, then it will appear balanced and natural. Many landscape paintings have their focal point in the middle ground.


Finally, there’s the background. This is the area of the painting that is furthest away from the viewer. If your focal point is in the background, it will appear distant and will pull your viewer’s eyes towards the back of the painting. For example, many sunset or sunrise paintings have their focal points in the background.

Understanding the foreground, middle ground, and background of a painting is essential for creating a realistic space. To learn more, be sure to attend one of our classes or workshops! Look through our selection on our website or give us a call at 603-672-2500.