ARTistic Pursuits: An Introduction to the Visual Arts {TOS Homeschool Review}

We love crafts of any kind in our house!  I’ve loved seeing the progression of the kids’ drawings over the years, and I try to promote creativity as much as possible (rather than uniform-looking crafts or having them make things the “right” way).

We generally craft for the joy of crafting, or to help bring home a particular concept.  I’ve never actually taught them about art concepts, however.

ARTistic Pursuits is an art curriculum that teaches directly to the student.  No advanced preparation is necessary on the part of the teacher (aside from gathering the supplies).  The supplies needed for that particular lesson are very clearly presented so you can locate them with a quick glance.

From the website:

Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade

Books at the K-3 level introduce children to the visual arts and view art through history. Colorful illustrations, art appreciation, and projects designed for young hands and minds delight students and appeal to their interests. Non-consumable. One set serves your entire family!

From the K-3 series, we chose Book 1, An Introduction to the Visual Arts.  This contents of this beautiful, spiral-bound book and its 32 full-color lessons includes:

What Artists Do

1. Artists Compose
2. Artists Imagine
3. Artists Look
4. Artists Communicate
5. Artists Use Photographs
6. Artists Make Landscapes
7. Artists Make Portraits
8. Artists Make Still-lifes
9. Artists Show Experiences
10. Artists Show Works

What Artists See

11. Artists See Shape
12. Artists See Form
13. Artists See Line
14. Artists See Color
15. Artists See Edges
16. Artists See and Remember
17. Artists See Mixed Colors

Where We Find Art

18. Art in Caves (European Cave Drawings)
19. Art Underground (Near-Eastern Pottery)
20. Art in Palaces (Minoan Fresco Painting)
21. Art in Pyramids (Egyptian Murals)
22. Art on Floors (Egyptian Pavement Painting)
23. Art on City Walls (Near Eastern Bas-relief)
24. Art on Pots (Greek Pottery)
25. Art in Tombs (Etruscan Wall Painting)
26. Art in Streets (Roman Sculpture)
27. Art on Roadsides (Roman Portraits)
28. Art in Castles (Medieval Tapestry)
30. Art in Windows (Gothic Glass)
31. Art in Books (Medieval Illumination)
32. Art on Book Covers (Medieval Scriptoria)

The Materials needed for the lessons in this book are divided into groups – #1 Drawing, #2 Painting, #3 Paper Art, #4 Clay. Some of the materials are ones that you probably already have on hand (scissors, tissue paper, sketch paper or pad, heavy-weight construction paper).  For the less common supplies, you can order an art supply pack that corresponds with the particular book, or you can use one of the “Blick” links (on this same page) to order a few materials at a time at a discounted rate.

Some of the supplies that we ordered to do the first few lessons (and did not have on hand) were an ebony pencil, a Vinyl eraser, and a set of Watercolor Crayons.

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about having to order the “special” materials, but I am very glad that we were introduced to them.  We especially have fun with the Watercolor crayons that are used much in the same way as regular wax crayons, except you use a paint brush and water to paint over certain parts of your picture.  (We didn’t use the pencils to draw the picture first as was suggested, so we found out the hard way that the details smudge together if you don’t just paint the water over specific areas).

I really like the fact that the book uses pictures of famous paintings and directs the student’s attention at specific details of the painting, or techniques used.  They ask questions to encourage the student to make observations about the painting.

Each lesson is set up so that you read through the concept being introduced, examine a famous work of art, and then create a project that applies the particular concept taught.  On the projects page, there are photos of artwork that other students have created, but the kids are encouraged to use their own imaginations or their own environment rather than copying out of the book.

We really love this art curriculum, and I would absolutely recommend it to parents whether they homeschool or not.

The other K-3 lesson options are:

Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art

Book 3: Modern Painting and Sculpture

Each of these three books is available for $42.95.

Also available is a book for Preschool parents and teachers:
The Way They SEE It:  A Book for Every Parent about the Art Children Make as well as 2 books each for grades 4-6, Junior High, and Senior High.
If you would like to read more reviews about the different ARTistic Pursuit books available, please visit the TOS Homeschool Crew.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the ARTistic Pursuits Book 1 in exchange for my honest review as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and thoughts are my own.