Friday, April 17, 2015

ARTistic Pursuits - High School 9-12, Book 2 - A Crew Review

Arlene and I have been reviewing a gem of a book from ARTistic Pursuits this Spring for the Schoolhouse Review Crew. It is their High School 9-12, Book 2: Color and Composition, written by Brenda Ellis. I can tell Arlene has been enjoying using the book, because besides the actual lessons, I've found her doing extra watercolor paintings in her free time. This High School level book teaches about both the color wheel, and the composition of a picture through studying great art and the use of basic watercolors. Brenda Ellis is a Master Artist who has separated the knowledge gained from a lifetime of painting into manageable sized chunks of learning for your art student.

ARTistic Pursuits, art curriculum

The sixteen units in this book can be adapted to either a one-year/ twice a week or one-semester/ four times a week schedule. The four parts of each Unit include 1- Vocabulary and Creative Exercise, 2-Art Appreciation, 3- Technique, and 4- Application (project lesson.)

Begin at the beginning. Before your student jumps into the lessons, read the Getting Started pages together. They cover what the parents will want to know about content and scheduling, as well as the things students will want to learn about color. The absolutely MOST important part of these pages is page 5, where your student will learn about "The Tools of Watercolor." The first and most lasting lesson? Brush Care. Why? Because quality water color brushes are an investment that can be squandered upon the first use, or when well-treated can last for years. This page also gives instruction on taping your watercolor paper and arranging your other supplies.

ARTistic Pursuits, art curriculum

Once your student has read the intro, it is time to dive into the first unit. Unit one teaches the true basics of using watercolors. The four lessons in Unit One should not be hurried through. Repeat the assignments for lessons 2-4 as many times as are needed for the student to relax while using watercolors. If your student feels overwhelmed by this new medium of watercolors, have them cut their watercolor paper in half and work with a smaller area to paint. Getting comfortable with their tools in this first unit should help a lot towards future success in their assignments and enjoyment of the process of painting. As your student progresses through the units, they will learn a lot about hue (tinting, shading, mixing,) color and edges, line and texture, balance, rhythm, viewpoint and emphasis.

ARTistic Pursuits, art curriculum

The basic watercolor supplies needed for this course are 4 paint colors (the primary 3... plus black,) 3 brushes, watercolor paper, masking or artist tape, tracing paper, and liquid masking fluid. One of the beauties of using ARTistic Pursuits' High School books is the inclusion of Art History into every unit. Students are taught how to observe techniques used by famous artists in the second lesson of every unit.

Each of the units builds upon the previous techniques taught, and then ends with a "LOOK BACK!" section that has the student evaluating how they did on one or two key points from that lesson. By truthfully answering the LOOK BACK! questions, the students can see if they are following the instructions and techniques that should be learned by the end of each unit. If they find themselves answering "no" to any of these questions, they should probably repeat the assignments in that unit.

Arlene was able to work on her assignments without any assistance from me other than the trip to go purchase watercolor paper. We already had all of the other supplies she needed, thanks to my Mom letting me raid the drawers where my Dad kept his painting supplies when he was still alive. These lessons are thorough, but not overwhelming, in what is presented each day. I knew Arlene had been doing her work because I kept finding small watercolor paintings around the house!

Reading through the book, I found myself reminded over and over of my own art classes and the many outstanding instructors I was blessed to learn from. If you choose this art book for your High School student, know that they will be blessed to learn from a quality instructor in Brenda Ellis. My own Dad was an accomplished artist, and many of the techniques Mrs. Ellis teaches sounded just like the lessons I received from my Dad.

ARTistic Pursuits, art curriculum

From Arlene (almost 15): I liked that there was something to do for each lesson. Sometimes it was mixing colors, sometimes sketching, but mostly painting. Make sure you learn to tape your paper evenly, or it will look lopsided when the paint dries and you remove the tape. 

We give this book an A+! It not only includes quality, detailed instruction on using watercolors, it also includes what many books do not - encouragement to try something on your own. Unit 16 is  Developing Original Art. This unit can instill confidence to strike out on your own and try something new. Maybe your student really wants to paint cars or animals, not just trees and flowers. This final unit prepares them for painting after this art course is over. High School 9-12, Book 2: Color and Composition is a Non-consumable, comb-bound, full-color book that currently retails for $47.95. What a great price for such a quality resource!

Throughout the book are quotes from artists both past and present. My favorite one is in Unit 5. "I would advise young artists to paint as they can, as long as they can, without being afraid of painting badly." -Claude Monet

To read more about the various levels offered by ARTistic Pursuits, click the banner below.

ARTistic Pursuits Review

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