We love art in our house, in whatever form it may take. Yet I confess I am anything but artistic. My sun looks like a square, my pony looks like a blob…So I really appreciate a company like ARTistic Pursuits Inc. that can help encourage and inspire my children at every stage of their artistic journey. Last year we had so much fun reviewing Art of the Ancients, Volume 3, this year we were very excited about reviewing Art in America, K-3 Vol. 8.
These are just two of the eight volumes that comprise the K-3rd Grade Level, Volumes 1-8, each one focusing on a specific period of history as it relates to art, helping our children learn what to look for and how to really see and draw from direct observation.
This hardcover book came with both DVD and Blu-ray discs. This is recommended for grade 3 and above but all four of my children really enjoyed this one. There are 18 projects in all; 12 text lessons and six video lessons. My youngest is 3, my oldest is 13, and these lessons were full of opportunities for every one of them. While there are lessons to be learned and techniques to be practiced in each lesson, this program really knows how to do it in a way that allows our children to also express themselves as they learn and create their own works of art.
My girls love to sit and draw; they never enjoyed coloring but they can sit like this for hours. I love how they work together and help other each make shapes and decide which colors to use; they even challenge each other to drawing contests. Since every page in this book is so full of color, they could not get enough of this book. It was such fun for them both to look and then draw what they could see. My oldest daughter is enjoying her new skills in portrait drawing. Maybe not an exact sketch of her little sister but still such fun!
I was surprised that my younger son was so excited by this one. He has been very interested in woodworking; he learns towards needing to have a purpose in all that he does. So this was a real lesson for him in purpose in art. He is very tentative when it comes to drawing, a bit of a perfectionist. As you might imagine, this can make things a bit complicated. It can also bring out some amazing creations when he is willing. He loved the video lessons! I think he watched and completed every one of them in just one afternoon! Being able to go forward and back and pause as needed really motivated him and I think grew a new appreciation for drawing. He also learned that drawing animals isn’s as hard as he thought it was. He did a pretty nice ram if I say so myself. Then he moved on to the ship – designing his as a pirate ship.
This volume featured artists and art work from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Using colored pencils and graphite too, we learned a variety of ways American artists use line and color. Each lesson focuses on a particular objective ranging from drawing an object, to an animal, a vehicle, patterns, light and shadow. If we didn’t learn too about some very talented artists along the way too! So many artists that we enjoyed exploring and learning more about. The fine artist in the American colonies, John Singleton Copley, who painted portraits of colonists, which became prized possessions of the wealthy. Or John Frederick Peto who was the master of trompe l’oei (fooling the eye). There is so much we can learn from these artists and from observing the works they created so long ago. There are even questions throughout the book to help guide you, and your children, as you learn how to see.
Throughout these lessons my children each had the chance to practice various techniques. It wasn’t overwhelming, the lessons were the perfect length for all of my children. And often what we were drawing as related to light or shadow, colors or position, was something right in front of us. We read the lesson and then would search out our very own item to practice with. Perhaps a chunk of cheese, or a bit of fruit. Maybe daddy’s hat or the folding fan. We drew buildings, leaves, flowers and birds – Having so much fun with every one of them!
My oldest son sketched his sister’s stuffed lion. My younger son drew a image of his model tank built with Dad last winter. My girls drew each other and cupcakes. My younger son also decided to do a self portrait; his first year as a goalie and he has really found something he loves, so have to draw that!
I love materials of this sort, ARTistic Pursuits really is THE curriculum for creativity! This is such a fun way to learn a bit of history while also enjoying a bit of art. I know for my kids when they can do, they learn so much more. There is a lot less struggle involved too. These are very affordable and it doesn’t just encourage us to learn and create but also to come together and do together. It can be hard to find things that all four of my children want to do, together, without endless fighting. But this is something they all get so very excited for! With eight volumes in all you are sure to learn so much too!
Be sure to read what other members of the Crew had to say about the ones they reviewed: