We’d like to share with you our new favorite curriculum: ARTistic Pursuits. We reviewed a copy of Elementary 4-5 Book One, The Elements of Art and Composition.
Cost: $47.95 for this book. ~ Art packs are also available from the publisher.
Age Group: Elementary Grades 4-5, ages 9 and up. (My daughters are 5/6 grade and ages 10 & 12)
Written by Brenda Ellis Publisher: Artistic Pursuits Inc. Comb-binding, 92 pages, 68 lessons, 230 illustrations. ISBN: 978-1-939394-04-0, January 1, 2013. 3rd Edition
Book is non-consumable!
This book is the answer for the child who wants to learn to draw more realistically but doesn’t know where to start. It incorporates the creative aspects of making art into each lesson. Fourth and fifth grade students can begin this book without prior knowledge of art and work independently without the need for parental instruction. Children learn to see the elements of art in nature and in artwork by American masters. They will learn the techniques that artists use and produce a final work that requires assimilation of the knowledge gained in the three previous lessons within the unit.
There are books available for all grades from Pre-K to 12th Grade. Each level has 2 books, providing a full year of art appreciation/instruction.
Let’s go inside the book…
The first pages make up the "Getting Started" section. This includes a list of Art Supplies needed, organized by units. As mentioned above, an art-pack with all supplies needed for this book is available. For the budget-conscious, supplies can be purchased as needed from a local craft store.
As the book progresses it became apparent that this is not a how-to-draw program. Instead, it helps the student to observe, appreciate and copy the elements of art and design. Therefore, I do recommend purchasing high quality art materials. We bought our materials from a local art store. My son prefers the GRAPHITE pencils, which are more expensive, but in his opinion, are easier for erasing. My son also uses a kneadable eraser. You can use the white plastic eraser for lighter lines IF the paper is smooth. The girls use the plastic eraser.
There are five pages in each unit, separated into four sections:
Building a Visual Vocabulary: Topic is introduced, explained in words an pictures. Students will be encouraged to observe these concepts in their own environment.
American Art Appreciation and History: A student learns art through the masters. This book covers American Art Appreciation & History.
Techniques: This is where students learn HOW to use material and tools of art.
Application: The best part! Students apply what they learned using a variety of materials, references, photographs, etc.
The author recommends scheduling two one-hour classes per week. As this book is written so the student can work independently, it requires minimal parent involvement.
The next section describes what students want to know, or the objectives of the program. Students will learn to observe their world and recreate it on paper through the tools of art.
The rest of the book consists of the lesson as well as an evaluation sheet and Bibliography.
We used this book 1 hour per week in place of our current drawing program.
We started this book with Lesson 1, a single page on SPACE. After we read about what space means, I encouraged the girls to look for art with good use of space. We looked in our art books, picture books and magazines. This was a good opportunity for the girls to see that art is not just a painting on the wall in a gallery. Art is everywhere, including (as we discovered) in nature!
One of our favorite lessons in the book was Lesson 3, How to Set Up and Draw. Although the girls (especially Bear) insisted they knew how to draw, they discovered that the described ways in this book made drawing more enjoyable. It’s always fun to learn new things!
It was a fellow Crew Member who pointed out the Evaluation Sheet in the back of this book. This helped the girls to evaluate how they were understanding and recreating the concepts introduced in each unit. Unfortunately, no matter what I tried, Bear refused to leave anything just black and white.
A Note on Multiple Ages/Levels
I did not have my son follow along with the girls. However, we were able to spend time with Petra School last week and my son was able to learn from the High School level.
I was especially thrilled to find that the lessons line-up from level-to-level. Even though the boys were working on the 9th grade level, the girls were learning the same concepts on their level. It was amazing!
At first The Boy was not cooperative and just not getting that he was to complete the assignment. Luckily, Angie has the patience of a saint and finally Mr. I-don’t-want-to-draw was drawing away. His assignment: Draw a replica of Julius Caesar’s profile.
The girls worked on Lesson 2 together, looking at Line and Shape in Art. The girls’ review picture was Indian Farmer, by Oscar E. Berninghaus. I was impressed how they were able to find the curves and lines. I then gave them the opportunity to draw an object. Bear chose a fun little iPod speaker and Missy chose to draw the pumpkin from Lesson 3 (How to Draw Any Subject).
Bear Hard at Work
Note how you can buy the pumpkin for $19.99. She decided it looked lonely just on the paper and added a cart. She definitely does not lack an imagination!
Overall we are very happy with this program and will continue to use it for our official art studies throughout the year. I plan to obtain the High School level for The Boy in 10th grade (when he has scheduled art appreciation).
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Thank you to ARTistic Pursuits and Schoolhouse Review Crew for the review opportunity!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.