Have you been introduced to ARTistic Pursuits yet? If not, please allow me to have the honour. Over the past six weeks our family have been using Early Elementary K-3, Book 1: Introduction to the Visual Arts and LOVING it! Now let me tell you more about this fantastically fool-proof art curriculum…
Did I say fool-proof? Yes, I did! I was really amazed at how easy it is to teach from this book! I had heard good things about the course by Schoolhouse Crew members last year, and now I know why this is a sought-after product.
When the 95-page book arrived in the post, the kids were excited and wanted to get started immediately. I disappointed them by saying they would have to wait until I had a day or two to look through it and see what it was all about…but the layout and instructions are so clear that we had our first session that afternoon! All you need to do is gather your supplies (which are listed at the start of each lesson), and get started! There really isn’t any other prep!
The book is on good paper, in one-sided full-colour printing and bound in a plastic spine. I do think a small improvement would be to use a metal coil binding to allow the book to be fully folded over in our small space. But that’s very minor. There are colour pictures on every page. There are classics from around the world, as well as examples of student’s art work in each lesson. There are also illustrations where needed to guide you through your project.
Each lesson is only 1-3 pages. The first page will teach a little about the history of what you are going to learn in that lesson. Then you’ll look at a work of art from somewhere around the world and discuss it with your children. The questions to ask are even provided! Of course, you are also totally free to delve deeper, but I appreciate having the prompts as I do not have a lot of artistic knowledge.
Then, it’s on to the ‘fun’ and getting hands-on. There aren’t a whole lot of supplies that you’ll need to complete the book, and fewer to get you started. It’s recommended that you do purchase quality artist supplies. This does seem expensive, but most things you can search out and source for decent prices. I like the children using ‘proper’ art supplies. They can feel like professional artists while learning how to use the items correctly right from the start.
This art curriculum contains a wide variety of art projects to work on using different mediums to achieve the end results. You can work your way through the book in order and build on each focus point (lines, form, space, etc.), but for the purpose of this review we jumped around the book to try out several things.
I love that it’s so easy to apply the lessons learned to real life. When we were doing the lesson about mosaics, the children and I wandered down to the local yacht club to have a look (and feel) of the new mosaic triptic that was commissioned last year.
Then we went home and the children tried out making their own mosaics with paint chip samples. And just to prove that you can find art wherever you look, Tristan even made a mosaic out of his cheese on toast! A Tie Fighter was the choice today.
The children have used oil pastels with Phil before, so they were already familiar with them. The one thing they really wanted to try out were the chalk pastel projects. Kallista drew a picture of my parent’s cat that she remembers from our last trip home before she was 2 (and she’ll be 5 next month – where does the time go?!). Tristan drew a picture of a giraffe, and included lots of wind swirling in the air.
My parents will arrive this week for a visit that will not be long enough. I think it would be terrific if we all did some art together on a rainy day, or maybe even out at a beach to create a lasting memory together of their visit. The book and supplies are easy to throw in a backpack and take along with us.
My personal favourite project was when we all walked down to a daffodil field nearby and sat amongst the flowers. The children traced out the lines of the flowers in the air before beginning. They first sketched with a pencil before using water colour crayons and water to bring their picture to life. I even sat down with them and created my own smaller version!
One of the projects is to create your own art exhibition; mounting pictures and even inviting people to see it and serving something to eat and drink. Although we haven’t (yet) gone that far, we have made a mini gallery in our hallway, and the children each have their own books to use as a portfolio for their art. Tristan has had one of his pictures in a children’s exhibition before, so it was funny during their first projects when the kids were writing HUGE selling prices on the back of their pieces!
The last time we visited our favourite local gallery, Kallista (4) was excitedly going through the gallery and pointing to many of the paintings, telling me which ones were watercolours! How did she know? “By the ripply paper, Mommy,” she told me. Spectacular! And now we had much more to talk about as we admired each piece. We can’t wait until we go to Belfast soon and can wander through more galleries.
And I’d better not forget to show Tristan’s favourite picture so far…a water colour crayon spider “To freak Mommy out!” Tristan loves this picture as it was entirely of his own imagination. It’s sitting on some sand, and now I’m not looking forward to going out and doing yard work today!
We’ve ALL really enjoyed this course ALOT and we’ll absolutely continue to work our way through the curriculum. This is the first art curriculum we’ve ever tried, and I highly recommend it to everyone! Whether you have a novice or more experienced little artist, you’ll find something to learn. Don’t be afraid of art! Get out and enjoy a new perspective in life.
We’ve been doing about 2 -3 projects a week. We varied the time of day from the afternoon when all of the other work was done, to first thing in the morning to start the day off in a great mood. We’ll be continuing to use ARTistic Pursuits until we complete the book. And of course, there’s no reason why we couldn’t then go back and do the projects again using new inspiration for each drawing, painting, or sculpture.
ARTistic Pursuits have books available right from preschool to high school. See their book list to see everything available. To read more reviews about ARTistic Pursuits by the Schoolhouse Review Crew, click on the graphic below and follow the instructions. You will find 100 honest reviews by the Crew. If you’d like to know more or would like to follow ARTistic Pursuits, you can connect with them through their website or Facebook.