We have had so much fun reviewing ARTistic Pursuits Early Elementary K-3, Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art written by Brenda Ellis. For this review, I received a copy of the Early Elementary K-3, Book 2. Since we have not previously used a set art curriculum, I have been using ARTistic Pursuits with all the kids.
There are 36 Lessons covering 16 different artists beginning with Cimabue (~1240-~1320) through Jean-Francois Millet (1814-1875). Some of the other artists included are Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. The projects in Early Elementary Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art focus on watercolor painting, oil pastels, mixed media and print making. Throughout the lessons, there are many illustrations both of the famous artists’ work and of student projects which are featured in the Student Gallery of each lesson.
Each lesson begins by studying the artist. This part of the lesson is written in a story-like format that my kids found enjoyable to listen to. For example, we learned that when Cimabue was “to study writing, he ‘spent the whole day drawing men, horses, houses and various other fantasies in his books and papers’.” We also learned that when Giotto was supposed to be watching over his fathers sheep he began to scratch pictures onto flat rocks using another rock. He then carried these rocks home with him. Later Cimabue took Giotto to be an apprentice so he could learn how to paint.
The next part of the lesson encourages the student to study examples of the artist’s work. There are questions that require the student to look closely and really study the art work. For example, when studying the Lamentation of Christ by Giotto they have to identify how many people have halos, how many figures have wings and halos, etc.
The last step is the art project that the student completes. The student is encouraged that they can make a project using the same techniques that the master artist used. They are then given instruction on how to accomplish this and given an idea of where they should go for inspiration. For example, one lesson encouraged the kids to go for a walk and look at buildings near where they live. Then they were to paint a picture about where they live, like Cimabue did.
One of the favorite projects that the kids completed was the Fresco painting. For the fresco we used a hardboard panel (we used some scrap pieces of paneling that had been left over from building our cabin) and applied spackling paste with a plastic putty knife. (The particular spackling paste I had picked up was pink while it was wet and then dried white, the boys were quite alarmed at first that they were going to have pink plaster!) Once the plaster was dry they each painted a scene. It had been raining so they all painted people in the rain. I guess that was what was on their minds.
Another lesson they rated as a favorite was the Printmaking Basics. In this lesson they made prints on styrofoam sheets using a pencil. Once they have drawn their picture they put printing ink (water soluble) on a brayer. Then they make a print of their picture on a piece of paper.
I would recommend ARTistic Pursuits for anyone who is not a natural artist or doesn’t necessarily feel comfortable teaching formal art classes. Early Elementary Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art is laid out so that anyone can learn about famous artists and their techniques and be equipped to teach art instruction. I love that they learn art history and the techniques that each artist used. Then they get to try their hand at those same type of techniques to produce their own masterpieces.
Do you want to know what others thought about ARTistic Pursuits? Interested in the reviews for other books in the series? Check out what other members of the Crew had to say.
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