Understanding Positive and Negative Space in Art

As you go further in your artistic journey, you will come across many methods, techniques, and terms. Among these are the concepts of positive and negative space. While they are relatively easy to understand, many beginner artists are unaware of these concepts. But understanding positive and negative space can strengthen your skills as an artist and is a valuable tool to have.

What is positive and negative space?Handmade watercolor drawing of touristic boat

Look at any painting and you will likely see a subject and a background. The subject is the key focus of a painting, while the background adds context and character. When it comes to positive and negative space, the subject is the positive space while the background is the negative space.

For example, if you have a picture of a partly cloudy sky, then the clouds would be the positive space while the peaks of blue sky in the background would be the negative space.

Why is positive and negative space important to understand?

Positive and negative space are simple concepts, but they can help transform your artwork. More specifically, they can help create a sense of balance and rhythm.

Balance refers to how artistic elements (such as lines, texture, colors, and forms) create visual stability in a painting. With positive and negative space, you can create a busy positive space that is balanced out with a quiet negative space, or vice versa.

Rhythm refers to the harmony between artistic elements, guiding the viewer around a piece rather than focusing on just one point. By using repetition and patterns in your positive and negative spaces, you can create a sense of rhythm in your painting.

Positive and negative spaces are just a few of the many concepts you will learn as a budding artist. To learn more concepts and techniques, consider one of our art classes or workshops at Creative Ventures Gallery today!

Landscape Painting Tips for Beginners

Whether you’re capturing the beautiful fall foliage or a majestic mountain range, landscape painting is perfect for nature and art lovers. However, landscape painting requires different techniques and methods in order to properly capture nature’s beauty. Here we discuss some top tips for beginners trying their hand at landscape painting.

Simplifylandscape painting of ocean and beach

Oftentimes, artists get caught up in the details of their landscape rather than capturing the entire picture. While detail is certainly important, it’s better to emphasize certain areas of your painting and then leave the rest up to the imagination of the viewer. And remember, you don’t have to put everything you see into your painting.

Use your artistic license

Unless you’re painting a very identifiable image (such as Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon), you don’t have to copy your landscape exactly. You have the liberty to play around with your scene. Granted, you want to keep the general appearance of your scene the same, but you can experiment with details and characters.

Know your greens

The most common color in your landscape painting will ultimately be green. But it won’t be the same shades of green. You can try mixing your own greens, or you can buy different green paints. Keep in mind that if you decide to buy your greens, they will not be natural greens. This means you’ll still have to mix your greens to achieve the right colors. Either way, you’ll want to have more than just one shade of green when you start painting.

Use a palette knife

A palette knife is a helpful tool when it comes to landscape painting. Not only can you use it for mixing your greens (see above), but it can also help add crisp edges.

At Creative Ventures Gallery, our art classes and workshops can help you master landscape painting. Contact us today to learn more!

Acrylic Painting Supplies: What Beginners Should Buy

When beginners start painting with acrylics, they often rush to the store and buy the wrong supplies or too many supplies. However, as with anything, simple is always best. You don’t need to buy hundreds of art supplies to start your art career. In the beginning, you just need a few simple tools to get you started.

Acrylic paintbox of artist paint

The first thing you need will obviously be acrylic paint. There are several brands available on the market, but not all are created equal. Many beginners will buy inexpensive paint, but these have little pigment to cove the canvas. As a result, it takes multiple layers to get the color down. We recommend getting only about six colors plus white in the best quality that you can afford.


Once you’ve found your paint, it’s time to buy your paintbrushes. We recommend getting synthetic brushes over natural brushes, as they work better with acrylic paint. From there, you’ll want to get a few flat or rectangular brushes, and then a few round and pointed brushes. You can start off with mid-sized brushes (sizes 6 to 8) and then continue to branch out from there.


Next, you need your canvas. While you can paint acrylic on various surfaces, it’s usually best to stick with canvas as a beginner. Then, once you become more confident, you can try wood, paper, and more. Just make sure your canvas is thick enough to handle acrylic paints.


A palette is where you’ll hold and mix your paints. While we usually think of palettes as circular with a small hole on the side, they actually come in many varieties. Go to the store and try a few out to see which version you prefer. You can also opt for paper plates in place of traditional palettes to reduce clean-up time.

Rags/paper towels

Painting can get messy. Be sure you have some old rags or paper towels to clean up after yourself or to blot excess water from your paintbrushes. You can also use them to wipe your brushes clean before switching colors.

Soap for paintbrushes

Once you’ve finished painting for the day, you’ll need to wash your paintbrushes. Ordinary soap can work, but you can also get paintbrush soap for a more thorough cleaning.


Finally, there’s varnish. This adds an extra layer of protection for your recently finished painting. You can get varnish in matte, satin, or gloss depending on the look you want to achieve.

At Creative Ventures Gallery, our beginner art classes can help you decide what acrylic art supplies you need the most. Look through our classes today to get started!

5 Painting Surfaces to Try (Other Than Canvas)

When learning to paint, you typically start on canvas or paper. But what if you wanted something out of the ordinary? As you advance your skills, you can start experimenting with differing surfaces, including wood, metal, glass, and even books. Read on to learn more:

WoodPainting on Wood

Whether it’s an old dresser or part of a building, wood can be a fun surface to paint on. There are so many things you can do with wood, and so many opportunities to show off your artistic skills. Some artists are even painting on tree trunks to create a 3D illusion. Just keep in mind that if you’re painting on wood, you’ll need to sand and seal it before starting.


Do you have any old books that you never read? Then consider reusing them for your next artistic project! You can paint the inside pages or the cover to add a new look to your old book. Just make sure you use hardcover books to prevent any warping.


When painting on fabric, you have many options available to you. You can paint on wearable fabrics such as t-shirts, or you can opt for flags, banners, and even silk. You’ll want to use a special fabric paint and then set the paint by heating the opposite side with an iron. Some fabric can be washed after being painted, but you’ll want to do some extra research before throwing it in the washing machine.


Certain metals can also be painted on, but the most commonly used is copper. Painting on copper has been done for hundreds of years using oil paint (acrylics don’t adhere as well to a copper surface). You’ll need to sand the copper before painting, but priming is not always necessary. Some artists want the glow of the copper to shine through their paint.


Finally, there is glass. Traditionally, paint doesn’t adhere well to glass, but you can fix this by sandblasting your glass and using specially formulated glass paint. Just be sure to clean the glass beforehand so that there isn’t any dust, dirt, or natural oils leftover.

At Creative Ventures Gallery, we offer a variety of classes to help you improve your artistic skills. Contact us today to learn more!

How to Use the Wet-on-Wet Painting Technique

First developed during the early 16th century and used later by the Impressionists, the wet-on-wet painting technique is being adopted by more and more artists. But what exactly is wet-on-wet? And how do you apply it to your next painting? Read on to learn more.

What is wet-on-wet?How to Use the Wet-on-Wet Painting Technique

Wet-on-wet is exactly as it sounds. It’s when a painter applies wet paint onto either a wet surface or a freshly painted surface. In other words, you practice the wet-on-wet technique when you don’t wait for your initial coat of paint to dry and instead paint onto it while it’s still wet.

Which mediums use wet-on-wet?

You can use the wet-on-wet technique on a variety of paint mediums. While it is most often used in watercolors, you can also use them in mediums such as acrylic, oil, or even gouache. However, keep in mind that how you apply the wet-on-wet technique will differ depending on your medium. You can read how best to apply this technique to the various mediums here.

Wet-on-wet best practices

Wet-on-wet isn’t too complicated to apply, but there are things to keep in mind as you do so. Since you’re applying wet paint onto wet paint, you’ll have to account for colors mixing on your canvas. This can add a vibrant and exciting element to your painting, but it can also be a headache depending on how you like to paint. To avoid your colors mixing too much, you can use a loaded brush or a palette knife. Then, drag the paint loosely over the top. You’ll also want to choose your color palette carefully, ensuring that if your colors do mix that they won’t disrupt the painting too much.

If you’d like to learn more about the wet-on-wet technique or other painting techniques, take one of our classes at Creative Ventures Gallery. Contact us today to learn more!

How to Use a Reference Photo

Many artists draw their inspiration from the world around them. They rely on models, the great outdoors, and their own imagination. They also rely on reference photos. Reference photos are particularly helpful when you’re drawing from your imagination or don’t have any real-life references to draw from in your area. Below we explain the best practices to using a reference photo in order to create a realistic piece.

Keep the photo right next to your drawingHow to Use a Reference Photo

When drawing from a reference photo, it’s important that it’s nearby for you to quickly glance at it with each stroke of your pencil. We recommend placing the photo right next to your drawing or taping it right above your workstation. That way it’s always in your line of sight.

Modify, don’t copy

A reference photo should never be copied completely. It is there for inspiration, and simply copying a photo won’t allow you to practice your creativity. Additionally, your drawing could appear unnatural. For instance, if you’re using a reference photo to draw a waterfall, you’ll want to modify the waterfall to fit your particular scene, so it doesn’t appear out of place.

Combine references

If you’re drawing a waterfall, you don’t need to use just one reference photo for your waterfall. You can use many references to get the scene you’re looking for. Doing so can help you create an entirely unique feature that is still realistic. Study each reference closely and see what they have in common and what’s different about them.

Look online or create your own

The internet often seems like a treasure-trove of photos, but beware. Most photos found on the internet are under copyright laws. If you plan to use a photo from online, make sure it is not copyrighted. You can also try creating your own reference photos. Use props around your house or take photos of things you see as you’re going about your day to find something that’s truly unique.

Creative Ventures Gallery can help you hone your artistic skills. Contact us today to learn more about our art classes and workshops.

How to Choose the Right Art Medium for You

An art medium refers to the different materials or tools that an artist uses to create a work of art. Watercolor, pen & ink, and clay are all different kinds of artistic mediums. It’s always great to dabble in as many art forms as possible, but some artists prefer to stick to just a few or specialize in one instead. As you start delving into the world of art, you may wonder which medium is best for you. While you are the only one who can figure this out, there are ways to help narrow your choices.

What draws you in?How to Choose the Right Art Medium for You

Think about the types of artworks that appeal to you the most. Do they all have something in common? If you look closely, you may find that you enjoy a particular style or medium of art. For instance, a watercolor may catch your eye more so than a sculpture. If that’s the case, you’ll likely find painting a watercolor more enjoyable than crafting a sculpture.

What can you afford?

In a perfect world, you would be able to pursue any type of artform that your heart desires. But we all have real world expenses, and for some of us, that will impact what kinds of art mediums we can explore. Pen & ink, for example, will likely be less expensive than sculpture-making. However, if you’re truly passionate about one kind of art medium, you can always try and find a way to make it work.


At the end of the day, the best way to find the right medium is to try it out first. This might take some trial and error, but it won’t be in vain. The lessons in you learn from certain artistic mediums will follow you into the ones you’re truly passionate about.

At Creative Ventures Gallery, we offer a wide variety of classes to help you find the best artistic medium for you. Look through our classes and workshops to get started!

Natural vs. Synthetic Paintbrushes

Before you start painting your next masterpiece, you first need to make sure you have the right tools on hand. Specifically, you need to make sure you have the right paintbrushes. When choosing paintbrushes, a big factor you’ll have to consider is whether that paintbrush has natural or synthetic hairs. Here we discuss the differences between the two and which is best for your style of painting.

Natural brushesNatural vs. Synthetic Paintbrushes

Natural brushes, as their name suggests, are made from natural resources such as animal hair. They’re typically made of hog, sable, or badger hair, with the most popular being bristle brushes. We’ve been using natural brushes for generations, and for good reason. These types of brushes can pick up, hold, and distribute paints easily, speeding up the entire process. They’re also soft and flexible, plus there is a lesser chance of streaking than with synthetic brushes. Natural brushes are often used for oil-based painting, but some are also used for watercolor.

Synthetic brushes

Synthetic brushes are the new kids on the block. They’re man-made, typically made out of materials such as nylon, polyester, or a mixture of the two. These types of brushes are durable, maintain their shape, and apply a smooth finish. While many purists like to use natural brushes over synthetic brushes, there is really nothing wrong with a synthetic brush. They’re just as good at distributing paint as natural brushes. These types of brushes are ideal for acrylic painting, as the acrylic doesn’t damage synthetics like it does with natural brushes.

At Creative Ventures Gallery, our beginner art classes and workshops can help you find the perfect paintbrushes for your next project. Contact us today to learn more!

What Is Foreshortening?

Whether you’re drawing or painting, there are many different types of techniques you can use in your artwork. Foreshortening is one of them.  It is used in every two-dimensional art form from painting, drawing, illustration, graphics, and even representational quilting. Applied to everything drawn in perspective, foreshortening was a popular technique during the Renaissance. Learn more below.

Definition of foreshorteningWhat Is Foreshortening?

Foreshortening creates the illusion of an object receding into the background. It does so by making that object appear smaller and overlapped, thus enhancing the depth of a painting. Think of the classic drawing with a single road stretching out towards the horizon. As the road moves further away, it will appear narrower than it does closer to the viewer.

The effects of foreshortening

How does foreshortening affect the objects in a painting? In one of a few ways:

  • Objects become smaller the further away they are from the viewer
  • Objects up front will be larger and overlap objects further back

How to incorporate foreshortening

Foreshortening sounds simple, but in practice in can be difficult to understand for beginners. The key is practice. Start with drawing objects from real life and comparing individual shapes to better understand how objects appear at a distance. For example, you can sketch a building from a particular angle to learn how the back edge of the building appears smaller than the front edge. You can also try figure drawing with small wooden mannequins to see how foreshortening affects the body of living beings.

At Creative Ventures Gallery, our beginner classes can help you master the technique of foreshortening. To learn more, contact us today.

4 Ways Hobbyists Can Sell Their Artwork

You should always make art for the love of art, but getting a little extra money on the side doesn’t hurt either. While professional artists often rely on gallery representation to sell their artwork, hobbyists often need a simpler way. Thankfully, between the internet and local art shows, there are multiple ways to sell your art as a hobbyist.

Art Fairs and Art Shows4 Ways Hobbyists Can Sell Their Artwork

Local art fairs and art shows are always a great opportunity for hobbyists to showcase their work. Not to mention you’ll be able to spend time with other local artists and art lovers. Keep in mind, though, that these shows require a good deal of time, effort, and money. You’ll need to buy a booth, set it up, and be there all day during the show. Nevertheless, there are great rewards at the end of it.


If art fairs or art shows aren’t your style, then you can always sell your art online. This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to sell your work. You can either set up your own website, or you can turn to a site that’s dedicated to artists. Some possibilities include the following:

  • Etsy
  • FineArtAmerica
  • Saatchi Art
  • Shopify
  • Amazon

However, just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s free. You’ll have to pay for your own website, and if you turn to an art site, you may have to split the profits with the company.


Local retailers are always looking to showcase work done by local artists. While you may have to buy space or split the profits with the store, it is still an excellent way to get your art out into the world.

Social Media

Finally, there’s always social media. We don’t recommend only relying on social media, but instead using it to send potential customers to your website or a local show. Social media helps with exposure, and it can be a great way to advertise yourself to your local community. Share TikTok videos of your artistic process, or post Instagram photos of your latest work to attract future fans.

Are you looking to jumpstart your artistic career? Then take one of our classes or workshops here at Creative Ventures Gallery.