I was recently invited to test out and review a great art curriculum by ARTistic Pursuits. They have an enormous selection for all different age ranges, but I settled on Early Elementary K-3: Book 2, Stories of Artists and Their Art. There’s just something exciting about reading stories of an artist. I think it’s my Montessori bent that drives me toward these types of books. The book says for kids ages 5 and up, but I used mine with a 4 year old, a 6 year old, and a 7 year old. My preschooler loved it as much as the big kids did.
For each lesson, there is a story at the beginning, and then a project for you to do with your children. When we did the third lesson, the boys both were so enthralled with the story of Giotto that they had to tell everyone we saw that week about him. It was exciting for me because we have never done formal art study. I usually leave supplies out and available (out of reach of the baby) for when creativity strikes, but that is about it. Some of our subjects involve art-type things, but blocking off art as its own subject was new for us. I honestly felt like my kids wouldn’t sit still long enough to learn about dead painters. I was wrong.
The projects are based around what each artist did, but they are not intended for your child to use as a stepping stone to re-creating or copying their art. You teach the technique and then your child gets to use that to create whatever they want. I bought the kids all their own paintbox of watercolors, so we did all watercolor projects. There are others in the book; we just didn’t do them. I am still pretty excited to do the printmaking lesson and the one on creating a fresco.
My sweet 4 year old did this painting, and it is one of my favorites. The texture is super rich and beautiful. It needs a frame.
There are 36 lessons in the book: more than enough to cover a year of art. Some of the lessons we finished in one day; some lessons we split into two days. If I split it, I read the story the first day, and on the second day, I went over the story so we would talk about what we remembered, then we would do the art project. It depended on patience levels and how well the baby was dealing that day, to be honest. I think it works fine both ways.
The Toolman’s painting. He’s the big guy and I’m in the house.
So far, the kids and I have done the following lessons: Cimabue: basic watercolor painting, gold leaf painting; Giotto: frescoes (we read the lesson but didn’t finish the art portion), watercolor mixing and blending; Limbourg: turning a sketch into a watercolor painting. We did one project per week for a month, and it has been a lot of fun. I look forward to continuing in our ARTistic Pursuits book.
“A Hat in the Grass” by Turbo.
Here’s the up close shot; this lesson was about turning a pencil drawing into a painting. I kind of thought he was taking the lazy way out…as it turns out, I love this painting and it has grown on me. The grass is awesome.
For art education, I would definitely recommend these books. I will check out different ones in the future. When we are finished with this book, I’m sure my kids will ask for more. If you want to read more about how other families used the ARTistic Pursuits curriculum in their home school, click the banner below. We used different products, so our experiences will be varied, I am sure. It’s a great group of ladies, so be sure to pay them a visit as well!