ARTistic Pursuits

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I do not consider myself an artist. I have not received any formal instruction in art since middle school.  I don’t draw or paint (except walls). But compared to my husband, I am a master. He can’t draw a stick figure. Somehow the art gene must have skipped both of us and planted itself firmly in our oldest son.

Our 10 year old has been drawing since he could hold a crayon.  He loves to draw and create.  We have so many different drawing and art activity books it’s almost ridiculous.  Some of his artwork is impressive. I wish that I could take an ounce of credit, but he is entirely self-taught.

When Brenda Ellis, the author of the ARTistic Pursuits Art curriculum, asked me which of her art books I would like to review, I knew immediately which of my children was going to be doing the reviewing. I chose to review Grades 4-6 Book 2 – Color and Composition.  I chose Book 2 because as I mentioned, my son already has many, many drawing books, so I thought that he could use the variety of the Color and Composition book.

The book is divided into 16 units.  The first 7 units focus on color, while the last 9 units focus on composition. Each of the units is broken down into 4 lessons. The first lesson of each unit focuses on building a visual vocabulary, the second on art appreciation and art history, the third on techniques, and the fourth on application.  If your student has 2 art classes per week for about 1 hour each, this book will last for 32 weeks.

I mentioned that we have a lot of drawing books.  This book is unlike any of them. Almost all of the other books teach drawing using step-by-step instructions for drawing a specific object. This book is different.  It doesn’t show the student what to draw.  It gives an idea of the type of subject to draw for each lesson, but it is left up to the student.  This curriculum encourages creativity. This worked wonderfully with my son.  I can’t imagine it working quite as well with my daughter.  She likes the structure of learning to draw a specific thing.  She is only in the 3rd grade though, and as she matures, may be more ready for a program like this one.

ARTistic Pursuits also includes art study.  This is extremely helpful to me as a non-artist.  There are so many things that I never learned that I want my kids to learn. (I want to learn it with them too!) I wouldn’t know where to start in teaching about great works of art to my children.  This particular book focuses on American Art, so it also makes a good tie-in with a study of American history.

Here are some of the assignments that my son completed.

This assignment was to draw a landscape. It could be from the window or from a picture.  My son used a picture in a calendar to copy.

This is a drawing of a subject that is interesting to you.  He chose to draw a basketball, which is another of his current hobbies.

This is a seashell.  The assignment was to draw something from nature but to make it big.

My son is enjoying this curriculum.  He is learning while getting to exercise his creativity.  It is a very good fit for him. It’s also a good fit for me, because it is a student-led curriculum.  He is able to read and do the assignments independently, without any help from me.

ARTistic Pursuits is available for K-3, 4-6, Junior High, and Senior High.  The 4-6, Junior High, and Senior High books are of a similar format, with Book 1 focusing on drawing and Book 2 on color. The K-3 books are titled An Introduction to the Visual Arts, Stories of Artists and Their Art, and Modern Painting and Sculpture.  Each book is $47.95 and is available at

Disclosure: I received this product as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I was not compensated for this post.

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