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.

What Is Mark Making?

Every time you set down your pencil or paint brush, you make a mark on the canvas. Even the simplest marks can help convey the movement, emotion, and theme of your artwork. Understanding mark making, then, and how it can impact your work is crucial to becoming an artist. Here, we explain everything you need to know about mark making:

What is it?Woman artist is drawing on canvas with brush

Mark making refers to the different lines, patterns, and textures you create in your artwork. Even a small dot on the paper is a part of mark making. It can apply to paintings, but also any other type of artwork like drawings.

Everything in your painting is made up of marks. As such, a mark is essentially a building block for your entire painting. Here’s how it works:

  • A dot is a single mark
  • A line is an extended mark
  • A shape is a cluster of marks
  • A pattern is a series of repetitive marks

How do you use marks in your artwork?

As we said previously, marks make up your entire piece of art. However, the marks you use will depend on what exactly you want to convey. Some marks show movement and fluidity, while others express stability and restrictiveness. These marks can then convey different moods. For instance, stable yet strict lines could represent anger, while fluid curves can represent calm. Being intentional in the marks you make, then, can take your artwork to the next level.

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!

4 Ways That Painting Benefits Your Health

Many begin painting because they find it truly enjoyable. They love flexing their artistic and creative muscles. However, painting also brings many benefits to our health. Below are just a few ways that painting can help your overall health:

Improves motor skillsman painting on canvas

Handling a paint brush requires a deftness and level of skill that few have. When you first start painting, you may feel a little clumsy. However, as you continue to practice, you’ll be able to handle that brush with increased mobility and nimbleness. Eventually, as your motor skills improve, your brain will create mental shortcuts that will help you in other areas of your life that require fine motor skills.

Relieves stress

Stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues can take a serious toll on our overall happiness. They can also impact our physical health. However, research shows that painting and other artistic activities can lower stress levels in individuals and improve overall mental health.

Improve memory

Another way that painting can benefit you is by improving your overall memory. Painting uses skills such as conceptual visualization and implementation. These skills further help you boost your memory skills.

Enhances problem-solving skills

Anyone who’s created a painting knows that there will be various issues that pop up throughout the process. These require problem-solving skills in order to find a solution. The more you do this, the easier it will be to solve problems not only in your art, but in the rest of your life as well.

If you’re looking to bring these benefits into your life, then start off with one of our beginner art classes at Creative Ventures Gallery! Contact us today to learn more.

Our Top 2 Tips for Landscape Painting

Landscape painting is a beautiful type of art. Many artists that see a magnificent view understandably want to get it down on their canvas. However, landscape painting can be more difficult than it seems. Here, we provide our top 3 tips to help you with landscape painting:

Keep it simple

Many beginner artists get lost in the tiny details of a landscape. While details are certainly important, try not to get lost in them. It is much better to emphasize particular areas of your painting instead of getting every little detail right. You can then leave the rest to the imagination of the viewer.

Embrace imperfection

Nothing is perfect. Learning to embrace imperfections can make you less self-critical, which in turn can make you a better artist. This is especially true for landscape paintings. Many beginners want to paint a scene exactly as they see it. When they can’t replicate it exactly, they quickly discouraged. However, there’s nothing wrong with some creative license. Your landscape painting does not have to match the landscape you see exactly. Learn to be ok with imperfections in your work—after all, you’re only human.

Creative Ventures Gallery offers a wide variety of classes and workshops that can help hone your skills as a landscape artist. Contact us today to learn more!

Shape vs. Form

As you learn to draw or paint, you will soon be introduced to many concepts. One of these concepts is understanding the difference between shape and form. Most beginner artists assume they are the same thing, and while they are related, they are nevertheless different. Here, we discuss the differences between shape and form to help you better understand their distinct characteristics.

Shapesoccer ball sketch

When someone describes the shape of an object, they will use words like “circular”, “rectangular”, “triangular”, and the like. What do circles, rectangles, and triangles all have in common? They are all two-dimensional (flat) objects.  They have a length and width, but no height, and are typically simple figures.


Most objects in the real world are three-dimensional, not two-dimensional. These three-dimensional figures are what we mean when we describe form, and they include objects such as spheres, cubes, and cones. Since they are three-dimensional, they have a length, width, and height.

However, we can only draw in two-dimensional figures. So, how do you create form in artwork? You do so by creating the illusion of three dimensions. This is accomplished through shading and the cast shadow. When you draw a circle, you have drawn a shape. But when you want that circle to have form, you shade it to create the illusion that it is a three-dimensional object.

Now that you understand the differences between shape and form, it’s time for you to start tackling more challenging art projects. At Creative Venture Art Gallery, we offer art classes and workshops for people of all levels. Contact us today to sign up!