Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: ARTistic Pursuits- Early Elementary K-3, Book 1: Introduction to the Visual Arts

As you all may already know, I love art. I love creating it, enjoying it, teaching it, learning about it. Perhaps you do not share the same enthusiasm for it. If that's the case, you may very well enjoy the ARTistic Pursuits homeschool curriculum. The lessons are short, direct, and the projects are things the children can do on their own.

For my review as a TOS Crew member, I was blessed with a physical copy of the Early Elementary K-3, Book 1: Introduction to the Visual Arts. While this art curriculum is for K-3 (ages 5 and up), my older children enjoyed it as well.   

How We Used It in Our Homeschool:

While lessons are numbered in order, I wanted to skip around a bit in the curriculum to help you see some of the diverse pallets found within the lessons.

You probably imagine that I was involved in reading and observing works by Master Artists (and you'd be right). So, it was natural for me to plop down with my children and read and discuss the lessons.

One of the first things our children did was an "Information Gathering Exercise". They went around the house looking at different objects and drew them in little books which they made. This was a nice, quiet activity that they did while I got my little Super Busy guy down for a nap. (It's an exercise I may institute from time to time when I get him down for a nap because it worked so well this day!)

Even Miss Sweetie Pie wanted to try.   :-)

Master Artists

Some lessons contain portraits by artists and discussion points- the author guides the students to learn how to observe details in paintings. This is something we all enjoyed doing. It opened up doors to observing other little things and talking about them.

Following these exercises are projects for the students to work on. The instructions are step-by-step but also give the students freedom to create original works of art.


One of the neat things is that we are exposed to artists which we may not otherwise have discovered. While The Birthday by Marc Chagall may not be to our own personal tastes, it was fun to look at this piece from 20th Century France. The kids got a kick out of thinking of a memory and creating the mood for their paintings by imagining how to show how they felt about that memory.

Scientist thought back to a time when he was pulled by a strong lab. He played up on the strength of the dog, his small size at the time, and of course the lumps of earth forming as the dog pulled him along.

Artsy Girl was thinking back to a dog she loved very much and is no longer around. He was little, cute and just a good puppy. I think she expressed very well the joy children have with puppies.

Song Bird's piece depicts goofy fun in the outdoors. She enjoys nature a lot and doesn't mind picking up slugs (ick!) and observing them up close.

Dreamer was thinking back to a time when she was enjoying picking flowers and putting them in baskets. The brown thing is a guitar. She doesn't own or play the guitar. But it shows musical feelings of joy (I figure) about being out in nature.

Explorer was having fun playing in the woods. What else can I say? He just has fun and I think he expresses it well in this painting. :-)

Elements of Art

Other lessons focus on elements of art. Each lesson of this nature discusses one element and has the students focus on that particular element within their paintings.


For the above lesson, children are told to observe textures they see outdoors and to paint them. The lessons are flexible for K-3rd children as they are not skill based but technique or observation based. This helps to encourage students to create at their individual levels.

Even though we were focusing on an element of art, we discussed Houses of Parliament, London, Sun Breaking through the Fog by Master Artist Claude Monet.

The children were limited with the use of 3 colors: yellow, blue, and red. They were encouraged and challenged with using a limited pallet (such as what Monet did). It was allowable to mix water color crayons to create 3 more colors (orange, purple, green). Explorer pushed to use the three without mixing because he couldn't get the colors to mix just right (artist's temper). But he did stick with the three main colors the project called for.

What Artists Do (Artistic Processes)

Well, it's kind of obvious that artists draw in color. But, this is something that is important for people of all ages to consider as a part of the artists process. It has to do with the way an artists handles materials. And it's important to understand because it helps artists to flourish in their individuality that God has given them and it helps others to better understand artists.



Where We Find Art (Art History)

This was for Lesson 26. It was interesting learning about the Egyptian Pavement paintings. Our children used construction paper so that they had a large surface to create on. The curriculum encouraged them to use the floor- but we used the table because it's easier (in our home) to clean the chalk pastel mess off of the table than it is the floor. Another option was to use the chalk out on the sidewalk. That could have been fun but didn't work out for us on the day we did this project.

What We Like About ARTistic Pursuits

  • The lessons are short, direct, and the children can easily do the projects on their own.
  • The lessons are divided into 3 main categories: What Artists Do; What Artists See; Where We Find Art.
  • A variety of materials are used.
  • For the most part, the materials needed are not too expensive (especially if your arts and crafts store offers coupons).
  • Our children enjoyed it!
  • If you are a Principle Approach/Bible Principles teaching/learning family like we are, you will find it easy to teach the Bible Principles of Art along with these lessons.
  • There is a materials list for all of the art lessons in this book.  

Something I Would Like to See:

A bit of history about the Master Artists presented- even if it's a brief guide for parents. I would have loved to have known that  Marc Chagall was a Jew. Especially because we did this lesson leading up to when Israel observes Holocaust Memorial Day (Monday the 28th). I would liked to have highlighted him as an artist during our studies on the Holocaust. (I found out after researching more about him on my own later on).

What is included in ARTistic Pursuits Early Elementary K-3 Book One:

What Artists Do: 
Think Like an Artist, Lesson 1-5
Handling Materials of the Artist, Lessons 6-9
The Subject Matter of the Artist, Lessons 10-13
Show it Like an Artist, Lesson 14

What Artists See:
Seeing and Using the Elements of Art, Lessons 15-21

Where We Find Art:
Art in caves, underground, palaces, pyramids, floors, city walls, pots, tombs, streets, roadsides, churches, castles, windows, books, and book covers.

How Much ARTistic Pursuits Early Elementary K-3 Book One Costs:

This resource is $47.95 and you can purchases it at ARTistic Pursuits here. If you follow them on facebook, you can keep in touch about other products they offer, including their brand new Sculpture Technique: Construct and Sculpture Technique: Model curriculum. 

Read the other reviews by TOS Crew members on this and other ARTistic Pursuits curricula by clicking on the graphic below.


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