Thursday, March 5, 2009

ARTistic Pursuits (K-3 Book2) and (Jr. High Bk1)

What a blessing to be able to review these two books from the ARTistic Pursuits art program. We are an art lovin' family, and this has been great fun!

I'll give you some pros and cons, and then my summary.

Pros:
  • Art Programs directed specifically towards the Homeschooled Student, whether for individual instruction or classroom "Co-op" instruction.
  • Interesting text, and color photos of great artwork directly in the manuals... no need to go "Searching" for work by a particular artist. It's all there!
  • Methodical lessons that build on one another.
  • Art Supplies are easy to buy, bundled, directly from ARTistic Pursuits, or two other discount art supply sites. You can add the "bundle" to your cart, and delete those items you already own. EASY!
Cons:
  • Initial cost: Approximately $43/ book and $30-$50 per book if you need to buy ALL of your art supplies. However, if you break this down into 32 weekly lessons, it averages out to a little over $3/week, so not really all that bad! AND with each successive volume, you will already have purchased some of the supplies, so the cost should go down....

Now for a summary discussion of each book

Grade K-3 Book 2 Stories of Artists and Their Art covers Gothic, Renaissance, and Academy Art of the 18th Century. This fit in very well with our current History study of the Middle Ages! What Providence!

I like the way Brenda Ellis (the author/publisher) has created fictional stories about the artists in their youth, to give the children a "Connection" with the past. She also highlights terms that one may run across in the study of Art History. It is never to early to start building that core of knowledge, and she does so in a very gentle and gradual manner. I mentioned in my "pros" that the artwork of the masters is right there in the manual, and there are observation/discussion questions as well.

Two of the projects my son did were using "gold leaf" (Foil chocolate wrappers!) and watercolor, and oil pastel "Scratch Art. We are doing a "Fresco" on plaster-coated cardboard next. The results have been delightful, and enjoyed by all!

You can see samples from this book and others in the series on the ARTistic Pursuits website.

Junior High Book 1 The Elements of Art and Composition featuring World Art.

This book is also set up well, and is written directly to the student, eliminating the necessity of "Teacher Preparation and Lecture". Each Unit has four distinct lessons (Set apart with gold type, so easy for the student to see, and know what needs to be done) covering:
Building a Visual Vocabulary
Art Appreciation and Art History
Techniques
Application (A final project for the unit)

Another thing I like about the lessons being written directly to the student is that it gives my older student something to do that is interesting AND allows me to do something, either with my 8 year old, OR my toddler(like get him down for a nap!!)

You can see samples from this book here.

Other offerings include
Grades K-2(Featuring art from the Ancients through Modern)
  • Volume 1: An introduction to the Visual Arts
  • Volume 2:Stories of Artists and Their Art
  • Volume 3: Modern Painting and Sculpture
Grades 4-6(Featuring American Art)
  • Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition
  • Book 2:Color and Compostion
Junior High(Featuring World Art)
  • Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition
  • Book 2:Color and Compostion
Senior High(Featuring European Art)
  • Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition
  • Book 2:Color and Compostion

There is an excellent set of FAQs on the website, which includes a discussion about why all three series, from Gr. 4-Sr. High school are useful, and that covering what "looks like the same material" isn't REALLY the same. If you are familiar with the Classical approach, you will recognize this concept.

Don't forget to check out other crew members' reviews on a variety of the manuals available and their experiences with ARTistic Pursuits.

One final note:
I was so pleased with the classic art pieces chosen to go along with these books. I have been disappointed innumerable times with "Children's Art Books" that include "art" which my 11 year old is quick to term "inappropriate". I have wondered, with SO many possible pieces of art, WHY those paintings, sculptures , and drawings with nudity or questionable themes have been chosen for CHILDREN'S viewing(I mean.. really... Michaelangelo was fairly prolific!). Just doesn't make sense to me. Thank you, Brenda, for creating an art program that includes art history and appreciation with pictures/manuals that I am not afraid to let my children peruse on their own.

Till next time~
Lis

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