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Friday, April 17

Review : ARTistic Pursuits

ARTistic Pursuits is an art curriculum company believing that all children are capable of understanding the concepts of art, and enjoy putting ideas and visual images on paper. They teach the technical aspects of art, according to age and maturity level, and are committed to helping children become visually aware in our world. They offer parents and children a quality art education presented in an easy to understand format for both the teacher and child.  Their goal is for children to explore the world as they see it, rather than the way adults think they should see it! 
We received Elements of Art & Composition, Grades 4-5 Book 1, which covers art elements and principles such as shadows, shading, texture, balance, and light sources.  The lessons are designed to teach students observation and application of multiple crucial elements of art.  We completed two lessons each week, but did not complete them in order.  We jumped around so that we could try out different media.  It was during our study that the children asked if they could visit an art museum, and so we spent Spring Break museum-hopping in the city.  If nothing else, the curriculum sparked an interest that was not there before!
The first thing I did when we received the book was flip to the table of contents page to get an idea for what kind of art lessons would be included.  There is also a section that explains how the lessons are set up and a suggested course for each lesson.  We talked about the different forms of media and each of the children selected what they were most interested in.  As we skipped around doing different projects, we focused on their primary interests first.  Preparing for the lessons was easy, as materials are noted and fairly common ones to find.

ARTistic Pursuits is an excellent choice for you if :
  • You want to incorporate the technical side of art for a complete art education
  • You want something beyond the typical color and cut art project
  • You want one book that can be passed down from child to child
The lessons are in three parts; the first page talks about what artists do, the second page is art appreciation, and the third is a project using simple media and using what the child learned earlier in the lesson. In addition to famous artwork and real-world examples of the element being taught, there are even illustrations of pictures done by children!

Most of the supplies needed are normal art supplies for school that you'll have around the house.  I really liked that, if you just wanted to buy it all together, you could buy the Grade 4-5 Art Pack right off of ARTistic Pursuits website.  They have the complete collection of supplies you need for each book....but you're going to pay for that convenience.  We were fortunate enough to have everything needed in our art cabinet.

Some of the lessons that are pictured here are :

  • The blind walk (exploring the world through touch and non-sight senses)
  • Still life drawings (using line formations, curved and straight)
  • Negative space drawings (filling the space instead of the object)
  • Nature drawings 

ARTistic Pursuits seemed like a great idea!  The idea that the children could learn about art history and the elements of art, while working on their own projects, seemed perfect.  However, in practice, it went a little differently...  Here are our thoughts about the curriculum.
Likes :
  • Exposure to famous works of art from different eras / genres.
  • Mini history lesson about the piece and the time it was created.
  • Use of different media (oil pastels, charcoals, pencil, chalk, crayon), rather than just one media.
  • Sparked an interest in art that had not been there previously.
Dislikes :
  • It was very dry, and the art projects weren't that interesting or fun.
  • Children could not work independently; I had to guide them through the lesson. 
You can learn more about ARTistic Pursuits by visiting them at their Facebook Page. If you want to check out the books in more detail, you can visit their website. They have shared pages from each book so that you can see what they are all about before you invest.

Curriculum Positive Points :
  • Guided lessons with no teacher planning
  • Curriculum available for preschool to high school
  • Lessons can be done in any order
  • Materials list included (and we had most of them around the house already)
  • Materials are inexpensive
  • Non-consumable book can be handed down
  • Real-world artists in each lesson
Curriculum Negative Points :
  • Price - $47.95 per book
  • Dry - for our tastes, it was very dry and technical, but that's just preference

ARTistic Pursuits Review
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