Category Archives: art

Texas Bucket List – K: Kell House and Kemp Center for the Arts ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

K

Ten plus years ago, we lived closer to Wichita Falls. And now that I have found these two places, I am bummed that we didn’t visit when we lived closer. I have a desire to make a trip up there to check out The Kell House Museum and the Kemp Center for the Arts. Both of these buildings are beautiful, historic structures and the both hold exhibits that would be very interesting.

The Kell House Museum

The Kell House Museum is an architecturally stunning building. It was built in 1909 as a family home overlooking Wichita Falls. Frank Kell is considered to have been a driving force in the development and growth of the town. Along with his brother-in-law, Joseph Kemp, Mr. Kell was involved in the grain industry, the development of Lake Wichita, utility companies, the newspaper, streetcar system, the railroad, the local college and more. It is opened as a museum and on tour you can experience period costumes, furnishing, textiles, and more. The CVB page mentioned that it is currently undergoing renovations but it open for tours; please call ahead. (Information from the Wichita Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau website.)

The Kemp Center for the Arts was originally built in 1917 and operated as a library for the town. It is now the center of the arts community for Wichita Falls and surrounding areas. Hosting multiple exhibits at any given time, the visual arts are showcased in a lovely and historic setting. There is an outdoor sculpture garden and both permanent and rotating exhibits. Performances by theater groups are showcased alongside the various venues for visual artists. It sounds like there is always something going on at The Kemp, including lots of classes to help teach and encourage others in the arts. (Information from the Wichita Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau website and the Arts Council, Wichita Falls Area Inc. sites.)

These places are definitely on my bucket list now! I love to visit art museums and historic homes so this fits right in with what I enjoy doing.

Blessings,
At Home.

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This is a weekly series and will be linked weekly with the Blogging Through The Alphabet co-hosts:
Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool
Kirsten at Doodle Mom
Jennifer at Worth a Bowed Head
Kimberley at Vintage Blue Suitcase
Desiree at Our Homeschool Notebook
Markie at My Life As Mrs. Cooks
Hilary at Walking Fruitfully

The Master and His Apprentices ~ a Crew review

themasterandhisapprentices

Art history is something that I am not well versed in but something that I can see the benefit of. Being able to relate history and art can bring an understanding of past cultures, religions, and world events. That is what was sought by The Master and His Apprentices when creating this curriculum.

Authored by Gina Ferguson, The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective is a versatile curriculum. When approached as noted in the Teacher’s Guide and the syllabus found there, this program can serve as a full credit for high school. However, it could also serve as a supplemental curriculum for any level, or as a refresher (or first art history) course for adults. The versatility is part of what makes this a nice study, though I might classify this more as a history study than an art study.

chapter 2 start and worksheet

As written, the program consists of a textbook and a teacher’s guide. Included in the teacher’s guide, there is a suggested syllabus or schedule, discussion guides and worksheets for each chapter, and four tests. There are also art history papers to write four times in the course. In addition to these, there are helpful suggestions for teaching the course in different settings (homeschool vs a co-op type setting) and an answer key for the discussion questions/worksheets. The teacher’s guide is available either in a PDF format or a printed softback format.

The textbook for The Master and His Apprentices is where the meat of this program is found. It is a hefty 380 pages of text and full-color images. We received it as a fixed-format PDF that can be printed but it is also available in the printed format. We have been using it directly off the computer and that is really quite difficult, especially with the timelines being so important for understand the relationships of different people, places, and artifacts.

The program goes from an introduction to art history and then into the art of God’s creation. From there, different people and times are addressed.  Included are

  • Ancient Cultures
  • Classical Antiquity
  • Middle Ages
  • Renaissance
  • Baroque Era & Beyond

There is also an appendix containing some articles to further study topics and ideas, a period chart, a timeline, a listing of pieces by location, an index, and a couple of other required elements (like acknowledgements).

Working through the text, the information covered the history of an era or people and then some of the artwork, artifacts, architecture, and other pieces that represent them. The text is arranged chronologically. Each period is begun with an introduction to the history and place. The setting within world history and Christian history is a significant part of this portion. Then, it features works of art that are seen as important, either for secular or Biblical reasons.

cover and questions

Our Use of the Program

We have worked through about the first 3 chapters. What we have found is that, while interesting, it is necessary to skip parts of the text for continuity’s sake. Sometimes, the author’s attempt to keep God at the center really diminishes the ability to understand the information shared. The text often seems preachy and heavy-handed in the attempt to keep the Christian perspective so visible.

The worksheets that are in the teacher’s guide correspond to each chapter. Each culture basically gets its own chapter. The worksheets are simply numbered questions or statements designed to help the student think. These are great if your student is a worksheet oriented thinker but if you child is a discussion oriented thinker, these don’t really do much for the student. The teacher definitely has to get involved, which then makes for some good discussions.

After having using this program for a few weeks, we are going to modify it for continued use. We are going to go to the end and work forward. We have found is that because so much of the study is history based, you have to have something to tie it together with. If you do not have that timeline in your head to place the new cultures and pieces in, it is just random information that doesn’t really go anywhere or connect to anything. So, we are going to start with pieces that are recognizable and artists that we have studied. This will allow Miss E to connect with the material more concretely. Working backward through time will help her understand where things fit together and will help the material make more sense.

Because I am not a fan of the worksheets as they are designed in this program, we are going to create a project for each chapter for her to demonstrate her understanding and grasp of information. It might be a timeline for the chapter or a crossword puzzle with the names of artists and their works. It might be a drawing or a recreation of one of the pieces of artwork.

worksheet

The other thing we are going to do is print the text and print the large timeline from the appendix of the text. Reading online is just not as brain-engaging as reading from a piece of paper. I don’t know why but we have found this to be true over and over. We will keep the PDF file handy for viewing the pieces in color since we only have a black-and-white printer. Having the printed timeline will also allow her to color code to her heart’s content and mark those connections that she finds and understands.

If you are looking for art history or a history program through art, take a look at this program. Because it is a Christian perspective, The Master and His Apprentices does not contain nudity. It is, however, unashamedly Christian. Each chapter has multiple references to God, the Bible, and Biblical history. There are specific paragraphs in each section reminding the reader to praise God and thank Him for so many wonderful creations.

I don’t mind the bold statements of Christianity and belief. However, there are some statements that are leaps of understanding. There are statements that I don’t necessarily agree with, even being Christian. I see these particularly in the second chapter on the creation account from the book of Genesis in the Bible. I think if we have any additional children use this, we will just skip that chapter.

Blessings,
At Home.

Many other families have used this program in various ways. Please click the banner below to see how they used The Master and His Apprentices.

 

The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective {The Master and His Apprentices Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

ARTistic Pursuits: Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary ~ a Crew review

K-3 art book cover

Creating is always a welcome activity and when I heard about the new video lessons from ARTistic Pursuits Inc. for their K-3 level books, I was very intrigued. The series is ARTistic Pursuits Art Instruction Books with DVD and Blu-Ray; we received Volume 1 of the series – Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary. When all of the books are released, there will be a total of eight (8) books.

instructional discs for K-3 art

Art for Children works with the student to teach them variety of words related to art creation. The book is a hardback book that is printed in full color. There are 18 lessons total. Six (6) of the lessons are video only lessons and 12 of them are text only lessons. The book comes with two discs for the video lessons – one is a DVD only disc and one is a Blu-ray. Both discs contain the exact same information and the video quality is the same.

Through the book, students will explore several different areas of art and discover how artists see the world. They will experience composition, imagination, oberservation,  and communication. They will work with shape, form, and texture while studying landscapes, still life, animals, and portraits.

The book begins with a page letting you know what materials you will need for all of the projects. There is also a short explanation of the teaching philosophy for ARTistic Pursuits.

video and book

Each of the video lessons have a single page in the book so that you know where they belong. There is materials information and a couple of steps to follow but there is no instruction written for these lessons. I think this is a shortcoming of this book. You must watch the video in order to complete the video lessons so if you don’t have access to a video player or your disc gets broken, you no longer can complete this lesson.

The video starts with an introduction by hostess Ariel Holcomb. The introduction is followed by instruction and examples by art teacher Brenda Ellis. All you see of the instruction is a video of the artist’s hands with a voice over for the instruction. It is very good instruction on how to use the materials for the lesson and the steps to follow for the project in the lesson. It is concluded with a review of the information and steps to take. Then you are to go create the project on your own. This is where having written instructions would be really helpful. For the paper folding lesson, I had to stand there with the remote control in my hand, pausing every few seconds after each instruction on how to fold the animal’s head. It worked but it was not simple.

working on a special day painting

The text lessons are fantastic. Each text lesson includes an introduction to the idea covered and is then followed by a reproduction of a work of art by a master. For example, in the texture lesson the work is The Sunflower 1906-07 by Klimt. This master work is studied and some questions are asked to help the student really focus on the art. Then the student’s project is set out for them to complete with images to help guide the student.

Each text lesson includes some preparation notes for the teacher/parent. The materials tend to be found in the midst of the lesson, rather than clearly at the front, but they are there.

Each lesson, whether video or text, can be done in about 30 minutes, depending on how much effort the student desires to put into the project creation. The lessons are designed to do approximately one lesson per week. We were able to make it through most of this book, as it was a joy to do more than one lesson a week. We often did one lesson a day and I had to stop her to get other work done.

Miss J just finished up her 3rd grade year; she is 9 years old. I chose this book for her in order to get the instructional videos of the use of materials. It was good to have some instruction on how to use the specific materials. Sometimes Miss J felt they were fine and other times she felt as though she were too old for the instruction.

 

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We have used ARTistic Pursuits Inc. in the past and I like the instruction that is included. I like the fact that master works are included and that students have freedom in how they apply the concept to their own work. This is not a program where they study line and then everyone draws the same thing. They might study line but then the student is encouraged to find a new place where they see the ideas of line used and create their art from that new thing. This is great for solidifying the concepts for the students.

working on her artwork

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this ARTistic Pursuits Inc. program. I like the format but it could use some tweaking. I don’t know that I would purchase the program because to get the entire series would take a commitment, though I am interested in the idea behind the focus on culture in the other volumes of the series.

Blessings,
At Home.

Read more about ARTistic Pursuits and their K-3 art program by clicking the banner below. Other families used volumes 2-4.

ARTistic-Pursuits-Art-for-Children-Homeschool-Reviews3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

Art with Let’s Go Geography

We are still enjoying working through Let’s Go Geography. We don’t stress over our pacing. Some weeks we do three countries; some weeks, it gets left off. It is always interesting and fun, though, and we are really enjoying it a lot still. I hope Year 2 is out when we are ready for it.

I just thought I would show you some of the art pieces that have been completed in relation to Let’s Go. Miss J absolutely enjoys the art part of this and it is good for her to have this time. I sometimes forget that she is still young and doesn’t need to have all the book time that her older sisters do. Besides the fact that she is a hands-on learner All. The. Way. It sticks with her when it is hands-on so these projects are great for her.

If you are looking for a simple geography program that has lots of skill, take a look at Let’s Go Geography. It is a great curriculum that is simple yet very effective.

Blessings,
At Home.

Magic Stix markers ~ a Crew review

butterflies

We had an opportunity to review Magic Stix Washable Markers from The Pencil Grip, Inc. If you remember back in December, we had a chance to try out their set of 12 markers. This time, we were able to try out their set of 24 markers.

We have enjoyed having these Magic Stix Washable Markers. They are vibrant and bright. They are smooth to write and color with. And they bring artwork to life. Okay – I guess that is a bit boastful but they do really show it off well because of the intensity of color.

Magic Stix 24 set markers

The Pencil Grip, Inc. created these markers with children in mind. There are several features that show that to be true.

  • They are non-toxic. I know, most things for children are these days but it doesn’t go without saying. It needs to be said and the Magic Stix say it right on the front of the package.flowers colored with Magic Stix
  • They have a cap that is vented. It took me a bit to figure out what this meant. Basically, the cap that cover the marker tip is solid and keeps the air out. But around that, there are open spaces that allow the air to flow. This is important for children because we all know that one child who puts everything in their mouth. Well, if this ends up in their mouth or worse – in their airway – the air can still pass through while medical attention is sought. That is quite a safety feature!
  • There is no odor. I am not one that is bothered by odors but some people, and particularly some children, are. The no odor factor is huge if your child is sensitive.
  • Magic Stix are washable. This is important. When it got on our table cloth, it took a couple of washes to get it out but it did come out. When it got on a melamine table top, it took some scrubbing and it came off. Mostly – I knew where it was but when someone else who didn’t know was asked, they couldn’t find the spot, so that counts as coming off, right?
  • The plastic case is wonderful! It has a handle that is easy to grip and the plastic latches are easy to lock and unlock, even for little hands. The case is rigid and study. It has a slot for each of the markers and they snap into place. I don’t need a case for markers but this is one of those things that is just a step above other companies. It brings just a tad bit of a smile to my face to have everything neat and organized in a solid case.Magic Stix washable markers
  • They don’t dry out. This claim is one that I have mixed feelings about. Our first experience, we felt like the markers dried out so that is one of the big reasons we wanted to try them again. This time, we feel like they have done much better. However, we still have experienced the warm colors (red, orange, yellow) not working as well as when we first received them.  And definitely not as well as the cooler colors – blues and greens. We did not do a cap-off test. (Some other families did so make sure you check out the other Crew reviews.)

When you get this set of Magic Stix Washable Markers, you get 24 vibrant, bright, bold colors. There are multiple shades of blue and green. The red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, and brown each have a couple of shades. There is a gray and a black in this set, also. There are plenty of colors to make every picture you are coloring come to life with bright colors. And, if you are familiar with how to layer light colors on the bottom and darker ones on top, there is a lot you can do with these colors.

Miss J absolutely adores these markers and uses them often. Several times a week, I find her using them to color her geography page or decorate a card for someone. She has used them to color while someone reads to her. They stay out constantly and are definitely a favorite.

coloring geography pictures

Overall, I do like the Magic Stix Washable Markers better than other markers we have had or used. I do wish the warm colors worked better for us but I enjoy having them and using them regardless. They still make bright marks with a bit of effort and the other colors are all working fantastic. Besides, coloring is good for our spirits, so a little extra time with a few of the colors is not a problem.

coloring together

Check out The Pencil Grip, Inc. and their selection of products for creative minds, including the Magic Stix (previous review), Kwik Stix (review of 12 pack, metallic colors), and Thin Stix (creativity pack review, six pack review).

Blessings,
At Home.

Read reviews by other families who used the Magic Stix Washable Markers, some of whom did the 7-day cap off test. Find out how it went!

Magic Stix Washable Markers {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Creative Fashion Design

For a gift, one of the giggly girls got her sister this fashion design set based on the recent live-action Beauty and the Beast. It has been a terrifically fantastic hit. It is getting used for hours on end and all the giggly girls are sitting around together, listening to music,and designing outfits.

encouraging creativity

I thought I would show you some of the outfits they have each designed, with more to come, I’m sure. Miss L is working on a series that are all related and since they aren’t all done, she wasn’t ready to share them with you. Maybe soon. Something to look forward to, right?

 

With hours invested, I am thrilled that a purchase I was hesitant about has provided hour after hour of quality time together as sisters. This has been a fantastic gift that all of them have benefited from.

Blessings,
At Home.

Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew.

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

Magic Stix ~ a review

frames done with Magic Stix

Coloring with markers is something that every kid (and adult, I think) enjoys. But markers?!? As a parent, I hesitate when it comes to markers.

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What if you could have a marker that

  • doesn’t dry out when the cap is left off, even for a whole week?
  • is odorless?
  • is washable?
  • is non-toxic?

AND

  • provides bold, beautiful colors?

2017-12-13 13.26.48

Magic Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc. provides a marker that does just that. We have been using them for a bit over a week with tons of intricate Christmas coloring pages and color-it-yourself frames. And they are beautiful. The coverage is smooth and I can get into those tiny little details with these markers. Even though the tip is one I would classify as a bold tip, it is small enough at the point that very fine details can be created.

We have had an issue with these getting a bit harder to use over the course of time BUT we have used them for hours and hours. Miss J has fallen in love with these and wanted to sit and color with Mom for hours on end. It is holiday time, so we did. These markers have been USED! And most of them are still going strong.

Magic Stix coloring pages

When I contacted The Pencil Grip about the issue, they jumped on the chance to fix it (offering to send us a replacement set) and to use the experience we have had to make their product even better. I took the time to answer some questions for the company so that they can use our experience to improve. What an awesome thing!

2017-12-13 14.14.32

 

I cannot recommend products from The Pencil Grip highly enough.

Purchase Magic Stix Washable Markers from Amazon. They make a fantastic addition to your art supplies.

And if you haven’t read about Quik Stix and Thin Stix, dry tempera paint sticks, please go read our reviews and look at some of the activities we have done. These are an amazing product that we give as gifts often.

Happy creating!

Blessings,
At Home.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of these product from The Pencil Grip, Inc. in exchange for my honest opinion. I was asked to share about them only if I enjoyed them. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

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