Friday, April 17, 2015

ARTistic Pursuits ~ Elementary 4-5, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition ~ REVIEW

Are your children fans of art?

 I'd like to share with you today our new favorite art curriculum from ARTistic Pursuits. We recently received Elementary 4-5, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition for the purpose of a review and my daughters and I think it's pretty wonderful. I was all already familiar with the quality of products from ARTistic Pursuits but I just have to note that once again I was completely blown away at the amount of information given and the way it is presented. ARTistic Pursuits makes learning art fun and enjoyable. I appreciate that. 

Elementary 4-5, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition is a wonderful art instruction book that is perfect for the child who wants to learn how to draw more realistically but does not know actually how or where to start. Fourth and fifth grade students can begin this book without prior knowledge of art and work independently without the need for parental instruction. Throughout this book, my children began to learn and see the elements of art in nature and in artwork by American masters. 

This art book focuses on the elements of art and the principles of design. Each topic is explored in four unique ways and is fully covered through a process of learning that builds on the others through simple yet engaging lessons. 

In the beginning of this book I found a page called Getting Started. This helpful page includes a list of the contents as well as a list of the art supplies needed to work through the book. I had most of the items listed  because most of the items were things that we use in our homeschooling on a regular basis.  I did have to go and purchase a few things.

The four unique ways the book teaches are:

  • Building a Visual Vocabulary
The first page of each unit showed my daughters which topic to focus on. Each topic was thoroughly explained through words and pictures. Each assignment allowed my daughters to observe the topics in their own environments and allowed them to create works of art from their own observations and ideas. 
  • American Art Appreciation and History
The second and third page of each unit taught my daughters how each topic is used in master works of art and how to apply what they had learned to their own works. They were also taught about new artists and the times those artists lived in. 

  • Techniques
The fourth page of each unit taught my daughters how to use materials and tools of art in their own original works. 
  • Application
On fifth page of each unit my daughters were instructed to do a final project incorporating the new techniques they had learned.

Throughout the units covered in Elementary 4-5, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition my daughters began to learn how artists can draw objects in a bunch of different ways by focusing on one element at a time.

They learned all about 
  • space
  • line
  • shape
  • texture
  • value
  • form
 They had the opportunity to use these elements separately and all together. One of the things that my daughters loved was the fact that they were able to choose the subjects they wanted to draw. This resulted in meaningful works of art and allowed them to be a creative as they wanted.

Learning through trial and error

In the very first lesson my daughters learned about space. They learned that space can be turned horizontal or vertical to best fit the subject. It was fun to see my daughters learn to determine this before beginning. In one instance my oldest daughter also learned by trial and error. I noticed as she began that she should probably turn her paper, but I allowed her to do what she wanted, because maybe I wasn't seeing her vision. It became obvious to her that she hadn't chose the correct way and she payed more attention in the rest of her works of art. It was fun to see them learning how important it is to allow the right amount of space to best showcase a subject. I'm really glad that I didn't speak up and say something. I believe it was an important lesson learned, allowing her to see the difference space makes through her own trial and error.  

I feel that the very first lesson helped pave the way for the following lessons. My daughters began to really pay attention to what they were learning and began to use their new found knowledge of elements in their own works of art. One of the things that I enjoy about art is the fact that a person can have their own visions of how they want their subjects to be drawn. ARTistic Pursuits does a wonderful job of teaching the topics but also allowing students to be as creative as they can and want. I like this and like that my daughters enjoyed learning with Elementary 4-5, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition.

 My girls spent about two days a week for about an hour each time working through the book together, but I also found them drawing on their own time. This assured me that they were indeed learning and having fun with it. I'm glad that art is something they enjoy and I feel very blessed to have been able to provide them with such a wonderful art curriculum.

I also liked that I found an evaluation sheet in the back of the book. This sheet allows you to calculate a number and letter grade for each project within each unit. I didn't find this immediately but when I did I tried to remember it for the rest of the projects. 

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