Monday, April 20, 2015

Artistic Pursuits {A schoolhouse review}


We were lucky enough to be chosen to review Elementary 4-5, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition from ARTistic Pursuits.



About The Company:

Artistic Pursuits is a homeschool art curriculum company who has been around since 1999.  They produce art curriculum for Preschool to High school.  Their art curriculum is written for homeschool or independent study. They are made for novice and experienced artists alike. You learn by capturing your interests as you work from direct observation and personal preferences. A range of activity books is offered, from focusing on drawing, art and composition, art history, art appreciation, color theory and composition. They also have sculpture specific books; construct, model and coming soon, carve.

About The Product:

We have been working out of the Elementary 4-5 Book One The Elements of Art and Composition. Written by Brenda Ellis, this book of 68 lessons divided up over 16 units is in it’s 3rd edition. $47.95.

4-51 p9 72

This book is for ages 9 and up. The child is never told what to draw.  They pick their own item to draw while focusing on the concepts taught.


Students learn art by:

  1. Learning to observe the world around them- to really see it.
  2. Learning what to look for.
  3. Learning to focus on one element of art at a time, while drawing, and block out the others.

Each unit is divided up into 5 pages or lessons.

The first page of each unit focuses on building a visual vocabulary by showing students which topic to focus on, explained in words and pictures. One of our favorite things have been reading the stories in the first lessons. Students create a work of art from their observations and ideas.

The second & third page of each unit focuses on American Art and appreciation and history by showing students how the topic is used in master works. They learn about artists and the times they lived in. Students create a work of art from their observations and ideas.

The fourth page of each unit focuses on Technique.  Students learn how to use the materials and tools of art.  They again create an original work of art using what they have learned.

The fifth page of each unit is Application. Here is where you create a final project of each unit, using what you have learned so far.

Students are encouraged to spend upwards of an hour on each class or lesson. The reading/ learning part only took us about 10 minutes.  The drawing we spent anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes on.  To make this curriculum last a full school year it is recommended to do two one hour uninterrupted classes per week.

A day/week in our life:

We used this curriculum as more of a family style curriculum.  Even though it is geared for 4th and 5th graders to do on their own.  My 4th grader, 8th grader, 10th grader and I all worked on it together.  We would all gather in the afternoons with our art supplies (see the list above).  One of us would read the days lesson and then we would just work on it quietly. One time we all drew the same things, after that we all always chose our own things to draw. This made art time very relaxing for all of us. We would all show each other our pictures, with no judgment, which we discussed at the beginning of starting this curriculum.

Our thoughts and feelings:

We all really enjoyed this curriculum and while I have used the higher levels before with my older children I still found it very easy to do as a family. I like how we did NOT all do the same project/ drawing each time.  We loved how it was open to our own interpretation.  This left no comparing each others drawings and no competition as to who’s is the best.  I was thankful that the curriculum, while written for individuals was able to be used in a family setting.

ARTistic Pursuits can be found on social media here:



To see what others think of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

 Review Crew

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