Publisher: Artistic Pursuits
This is one of my 101 Top Picks!
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See the complete review in 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.
Artistic Pursuits is a series of art courses that covers art appreciation, art history, artists, and skills, with emphasis shifting from book to book. Even when studying works by the masters and learning art history, students work on their own projects, so this is a very hands-on approach. While there is an underlying Christian worldview, it isn’t overtly presented until the junior and senior high level in articles about the artists and the culture of the time.
Written for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, there are nine books in the series. Designed to work in either homeschools or classrooms, the books are labeled for a range of grade levels, so you might use one course for most of your children. You might stretch beyond the suggested grade levels, especially using a “younger-level” book with older students, since many skills and activities are certainly challenging enough or offer scope for an older student to develop greater skill. For example, a lesson in the grades 4-6, Book One on “How to best show the subject” illustrates and discusses drawing animals at different angles. While a younger student might do a rougher drawing with less detail, an older student might provide much more detail.
....Books are printed in full-color with illustrated instructions and samples of student artwork. Each book has a list of art supplies required both at the beginning and within each lesson. Students work with a variety of art media, shifting to more difficult art techniques at upper levels.
....Following is a list of the courses available....
An Introduction to the Visual Arts, K-3 Book 1: This book has three sections: What Artists Do, What Artists See, and Where We Find Art. The first section deals with observation, imagination, composition, and subject matter. The second section gets into line, color, shapes, and other elements of art as students study some works by the masters and other illustrations. The third section emphasizes art appreciation and history as students study topics such as cave art, Greek pottery, Byzantine mosaics, and medieval illumination....
Stories of Artists and Their Art, K-3 Book 2: This book continues the art appreciation and history emphasis of Book 1, picking up in the Middle Ages and continuing into the nineteenth century. Lessons each concentrate on a particular artist and one of his or her works of art.
Modern painting and Sculpture, K-3 Book 3: Continuing to follow the historical timeline, this book moves up to the nineteenth century to the present....Children explore sculpture along with other art media.
Elements of Art and Composition, Grades 4-6 Book 1: Art elements and principles such as shadows, source of light, shading, texture, and balance are taught as students develop observation and application skills.
Color and Composition, Grades 4-6 Book 2: This book introduces students to color theory with an exploration of American art and artists....
Elements of Art and Composition, Junior High Book 1: Although titled the same as Book 1 for grades 4-6, this book definitely stretches students to a higher level as they work on elements and composition....
Color and Composition, Junior High Book 2: Students explore color, working with hard pastels and oil pastels. Artists and their works are from around the world.
Elements of Art and Composition, Senior High, Book 1: The level jumps as students apply the elements of art as they learn about balance, rhythm, depth, perspective, and proportion. Most work is done with drawing pencils and charcoal in this course.
Color and Composition, Senior High Book 2: Students learn about topics such as hue, value, balance, rhythm, intensity, and emphasis as they learn to work with various art media and study principles related to color. Watercolors are the primary media.
The books really don’t repeat themselves even though they sometimes treat the same topics. Each level approaches an element of art at a different level and with different examples and applications. There is a real synergy that builds from book to book, so it would be ideal if you could work through the entire series.
Even though books are written to students, parents will need to work with students in the books for K-3, reading aloud, leading discussions, explaining the instructions, demonstrating techniques, and assisting them as needed. For grades 4-6, students might be able to work more independently, especially sixth graders. Even if students are able to work independently in books for grades 4-6, junior high, and high school, they are likely to benefit greatly from working alongside at least one other student, so they can inspire each other and share their work. If this isn’t possible, a parent might complete their own art projects being careful not to intimidate students with work that is too sophisticated.Artistic Pursuits also publishes for preschoolers titled The Way They See It which I did not review. Children draw and paint their own original works using markers, watercolor, finger paint, and crayons.
Artistic Pursuits Grades 4-6 Book 1 Elements of Art and Composition
Artistic Pursuits Grades K-3 Book 3 Modern Painting and Sculpture
Artistic Pursuits Grades K-3 Book 2 Stories of Artists and Their Art
Artistic Pursuits Grades K-3 Book 1 An Introduction to Visual Arts
Artistic Pursuits Grades 4-6 Book 2 Color and Composition
Artistic Pursuits Book 1 Grades 7-8 Elements of Art and Composition
- Suitable for: group/family or one-on-one but also for independent work for older students
Audience: grades K-12
Need for parent/teacher instruction: varies by age and ability
Prep time needed: moderate
Teacher's manual: N/A
Religious perspective: secular but reflects an underlying Christian worldview
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