Tag Archives: art

Drawing Lessons from Creating a Masterpiece ~ a Crew review

Learn to draw with the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece

Never have I felt like an artist yet a niggling thought has stuck in my head for several years – maybe I just need the right kind of guidance. Enter Creating a Masterpiece and the series of instructional pieces in their newly released Drawing Program, with lessons from Beginning Drawing to Level 3.

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Creating a Masterpiece has been around for a while and has had video instruction for several levels of various media, including watercolor, inks, acrylics, and more. Recently, the company has expanded their offerings to include drawing lessons. This is what I have been using for the past few weeks and have come to enjoy a lot.

I have been working on at least one drawing a week, hoping to improve my abilities and enjoyment of the process of creating through drawing and sketching. Well, so far so good. I look forward to finding time to work through another of the drawing lessons. I have progressed from the beginning level through most of level 1. That is a total of 15 drawings, from a giraffe to a fish to an egg, each one stretches my abilities and learning.

The drawing lessons use various media for drawing. These include pencil, charcoal, colored pencil, and eraser (yes, you read that right!). Papers used have included regular sketching paper, vellum, black paper, and charcoal paper. Additionally, I have learned about using a kneading eraser, a pencil eraser, vellum paper, a tortillon, and techniques for using the pencils.

The lessons are simple enough to get into and get started on. Log into the Creating a Masterpiece site and then click on projects, at the top.

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From there, you scroll down to the Drawing Lessons. You then select the lesson you want. You will be taken to a page where you can look at the materials needed. This page also has a link to a site where you can order the materials if you do not have a local art or hobby store to visit. One the page that has the materials link, there is also a sample of the completed project and the link needed to enter the video portions of the lesson. Click on that and head into the instruction.

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Each project is broken down into several short video sections. This allows the instruction to be given in small, manageable segments. They have ranged from 2 video sections to 6 sections, I believe. Each video segment ranges from about 2 minutes to almost 10. The segments show Sharon walking the student through each step of creating the artwork, explaining the process and choices made.

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While she is demonstrating each step, we are able to view her hands working from above. This makes is really easy to feel confident in the way to proceed with each step.

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penguin drawing in progress

The language of drawing is explained along the way with different projects touching on different art vocabulary. In the lake drawing, Sharon talked about words like gradient, contrast and values. With the owl, she discussed the basic shapes and the value of light and dark, particularly how different colors have those different values. While working on the turtle drawing, the instruction included gradation, repetition, and variation within the context of drawing. I liked how that instruction was woven seamlessly into the demonstration of each drawing.

Confidence is built along the way by the small steps that Sharon asks the student to make in each drawing. There is seldom a large section that is covered or a jump in instruction made. The step-by-step examples and instruction allow every student to have success with every drawing. While every drawing may not be the student’s favorite, it is still a masterpiece of creation and growth demonstrated. What a wonderful thing!

I am still hoping the girls will find interest in the program and join me some. While they have not yet, I have absolutely adored having access to this program and plan to continue using it. I have finished about half of the drawings and feel much more confident in my drawing abilities through the process. I have learned much about the different types of materials that are available and how to use them.

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My favorite project? Well, it depends on the day. I really enjoyed doing the colored pencil harvest drawing on vellum paper. I also have really enjoyed the while on black drawings where you work with negative values to create the images. But then again, I have had fun creating the various animals – penguins, turtles, and giraffe.

In case you can’t tell, I do recommend this program. I do think it would work well for older elementary students on up. I believe there could be a quick frustration level for lower elementary. I don’t think I would plan on my 10 year old attempting these unless she wanted to on her own. But I can easily see high school students getting a solid drawing education from these lessons.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece)

Many other families have been using Creating a Masterpiece, most with their students. Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read other reviews. You can get there by clicking the image below.

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Bronze Statues at the Library

Bronze Statues at the library

We went to the library a couple of weeks ago and stumbled upon an amazing – and fabulous – thing. The library was hosting an art showing of bronze work by various artists. From a life-sized statue of a warrior to a chair that can be sat on to a day to a number of smaller statues of less than about a foot high. We spent a good bit of time that day studying the statues and have enjoyed looking at them briefly again each time we go now.

You can see a video of the smaller statues by visiting my Instagram feed.

I think our absolute favorite was the chair, though.

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Each of the letters is textured. The texturing is something that starts with that letter. For example, the z is textured by zippers. It was so much fun to go through and try to figure out what each one was. There is a list on the back of the page that tells about the chair so we were able to find out what all of them were.

This was tons of fun and I hope everyone in Waco is able to get a chance to go by and see them. The work of each of the pieces is beautiful and it was interesting to read about each of the pieces and the artist that created it.

A visit to an art show is always a great stop. We are so pleased to be able to see these beautiful pieces of art for a while.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

 

More Murals

Last week, At Home Dad and I took a short trip to Jefferson, TX. Jefferson is close to the Louisiana border and has a beautiful bayou. It is close to Caddo Lake, if you know where that is.

While we were walking around Jefferson the first night, looking for a place to eat, we saw a beautiful mural on the side of a building. It was really beautiful. So I took a picture.

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The next day, while we were walking around the downtown area, we started noticing how many murals there were. I didn’t take pictures of all of them because some of them were harder to get pictures of, what with cars parked in front of them and whatnot. But these murals are often used a signs for the businesses, which is really neat.

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Some of them are huge and take up the whole side of a building. Some are small and compact. Some are clearly older while some seem to be very new. They are all unique and individual.

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Oh, and I can’t forget to share the neat VB bus sitting on an empty lot. Just another example of art to be found.

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Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Finding Art – Waco Mural Hunt

Waco Mural Hunt finds

I know that the word art evokes different thoughts for different people. But we got to have a fun art day a couple of days ago when my niece was here. She loves artwork of all sorts and found a listing of the murals around Waco. I had totally forgotten about the murals so we had never gone mural hunting. My niece picked out several she wanted to go see and we went on a trek. Some of them were walking distance from each other. Many were not. Take a look at what we found.

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We sure did have fun looking for these murals. Some of the murals were just fantastic. Some I did not care for. Some we didn’t have the ability to stop and get a picture of.

Do you have murals in your area? They sure do showcase some amazing talents, don’t they?

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. ~ a Crew review

ARTistic Pursuits art instruction

The youngest of the giggly girls adores creating works of art and so when the opportunity came up to review one of the K-3rd Grade Level, Volumes 1-8 series from a beloved vendor – ARTistic Pursuits Inc. – she was very excited.

We were given the option to choose which of the eight levels we were most interested in. Volume 1 gives a solid art foundation with vocabulary and techniques and then volumes 2-8 go through the different historical periods in chronological order.

  • Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary, K-3 Vol. 1
  • Art of the Ancients, K-3 Vol. 2
  • Art of the Middle Ages, K-3 Vol. 3
  • Artists that Shaped the Italian Renaissance, K-3 Vol. 4
  • Art of the Northern Countries, Renaissance to Realism, K-3 Vol. 5
  • Art of the Impressionists, K-3 Vol. 6
  • Art of the Modern Age, K-3 Vol. 7
  • Art in America, K-3 Vol. 8

Each of the volumes 2 – 8 also focus on a different medium. For example, we have been using volume 8 which focuses on techniques using graphite pencils and colored pencils. Other volumes work with chalk, clay, textiles, collage, sculpting, watercolor, and printmaking, to name just a few of the mediums and techniques this series addresses.

On the ARTistic Pursuits website, you will find an image that shows each of the volumes side-by-side. It puts the volume number, the title, the time period, and the art materials emphasis from the book in an easy to compare chart. There is also a sample video lesson for you to watch.

While the level of this series is listed at K-3, I have found that it is also a solid series for those a bit older because it is working on techniques. Each volume comes with a two discs – a DVD and a Blue-ray – that have video lessons. These lessons come up every few in the book and are clearly marked. This is the only place where an older student might feel like the series is below them as the videos are clearly made for students on the younger end of elementary ages. As I said though, there are so many good techniques and ideas taught, that this is a solid series for those a bit older who would benefit from this.

art video lesson

The beauty of the video lessons is that it is shown clearly how to use the materials. When discussing dark and light, the instruction is on a drawing a mountain goat and the darker and lighter portions are discussed on the video. Also, in talking about how to sharpen colored pencils, there is a visual to look at as the audio explains that there is wax in colored pencils and so after you have sharpened one or two, the sharpener doesn’t work as well. You need to sharpen your graphite pencil in between colored pencils so that the wax build-up on the blades is removed. I have gone 40+ years without knowing that, thinking I just wasn’t pressing the colored pencils into the sharpener hard enough. Yet, one minute in video lessons from Art in America, K-3 Vol. 8 got me information that has made a world of difference when using colored pencils!

So, why did we choose Art in America, K-3 Vol. 8? We have been studying American history this year and so I felt this volume would work well with our history studies. We are moving faster through the art book than the history periods but we are learning a lot and are able to correlate some of the artist studies with things we have studied or are going to study. One of the pieces of art work featured in the book is A Boy with a Flying Squirrel (Henry Pelham), 1765 by John Singleton Copley. The information that accompanies this artwork helps us see yet another way that some colonists showed their wealth, as portraits were for the wealthy in the American colonies. And in studying what he is wearing and what is around him, we see more of that wealth. This fell right in with some of the discussions we had about wealth vs poverty in the American colonies, especially after visiting Colonial Williamburg. We could imagine this piece of artwork hanging in the mansions we visited but no so much in the smaller homes and boarding houses. This is just one example of how this fits so well. The project to go along with this was for the student to create a portrait. So, I sat for a while as she drew me working.

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All of the volumes in this series focus on a time period and a part of the world so I imagine all of them will fit in nicely with a historical study. I am thinking we will be studying world history next year so I may be getting the other volumes to accompany that study.

Another way this series is fabulous is that it is very adaptable to your schedule and your needs. We have been doing between 1 and 2 lessons a week. They are easy to do and, in our volume, we can take them with us easily if we are schooling away from home for some reason. We did more than one lesson at the dance studio, including one that looked at shape. She drew the shape of the windows on the building.

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Each lesson includes a title and a listing of which lesson it is. Also, if it is a video lesson, it is stated at the top of the page. Then, there is a box under the title that lists the needed materials for the lesson so they can be gathered prior to starting the lesson.

The video lessons require watching the video to get the instruction on how to use the materials and how the assignment will work. Then, there is a recap in the book for the video lesson.

The written lessons begin with prep notes that the teacher might need to help get set up or grab, such as a photograph to work from or a plant to draw. They might need to take a walk outside or have you sit for your portrait. There is then a short study of an artist. We have read about Rembrandt Peale, John James Audubon, and have upcoming artist like Charles Demuth and Charles Burchfield. Next, there is a piece of artwork created by the artist and information about the piece. The pieces are reproduced in the book in full color. There are also questions for each piece to help the student really think about and focus on the piece.

After studying the artwork that illustrates the ideas of the lesson, the student has the lesson written out. Here is their list of materials in the written lesson, as well as what they are to do. There are examples of the steps drawn in the book and an example of student piece for that assignment. Then the student does their own piece.

In volume 8, their work includes light and dark

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lines (drawing a favorite stuffed animal)

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shape

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shape and details

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or adding color.

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One thing that I have always liked about ARTistic Pursuits is that they leave a lot of the decision making up to the student when it comes to exactly what the student’s artwork will feature. They give the assignment such as drawing strong lines but allow the student to choose what object they will draw. This allows the student to have choice and say in what their artwork will be about. This personalizes their work and helps create a connection to the piece.

Art in America, K-3 Vol. 8 works on techniques with graphite pencils and colored pencils. This includes creating lines, color, light and dark, shadow, layering color, and so much more. The 18 lessons cover a lot. At the end of the book, there is a list of the objectives for each of the 18 lessons. And at the end of the each lesson, the piece of artwork is something for the student to be proud about.

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We were able to review Art for Children, Building a Visual Vocabulary, K-3 Vol. 1 last year. It was as enjoyable as volume 8 has been. The videos and the book work the same way in both volumes, though the first volume focuses on building vocabulary and multiple techniques rather than on a time period and a narrowed focus on materials. It was a good, solid foundation for the other volumes. I had some reservations after using just volume 1 last time. Having used another volume, I find I have grown to like the format and the focus on a time period. I feel like I understand the series as a whole better now and like that it starts with the foundation and then narrows focus. It is quite a monetary commitment to get the entire series but I do feel like the materials is quite well done and really adds quite a bit to our history study this year.

Miss J’s Opinion:

All of the lessons are very good. I like the book. I like that it is art and I think others would like that, too. I learned how to draw things more like they look, such as a circle light hanging.

Okay, so she didn’t have much to say this morning about the book but it is one of the first lessons she asks about each day. I think it is fair to say that she really likes this book and is more than happy to keep creating art with Art in America, K-3 Vol. 8, part of the series K-3rd Grade Level, Volumes 1-8 from ARTistic Pursuits Inc.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

The Homeschool Review Crew families have been using all eight volumes from this series. Be sure to visit the Crew blog to read the reviews of other families using the other volumes. Just click the banner below.

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Kidzaw.com Master Kitz ~ a Crew review

Read the Review for Kidzaw.com

Art is something that can be implemented in a gazillion different ways and all of them are good. Kidzaw.com is a company that has presented us with the opportunity to review one of their Master Kitz. This is a kit that teaches the student a bit about a master artists and then helps them recreate one of that artist’s masterworks. In this case, we received Master Kitz The Starry Night to help us recreate a painting by Vincent van Gogh.

what comes in the Master Kitz

The kit arrived in a compact box that is study and contained everything we needed except for a plate or palette for the paint and clean up supplies. If the students want to add more color than yellow, orange, white, and blue oil pastels, then that will also be something that you will need to supply. The kit includes:

  • 2 pieces of deluxe art paper (16‘x20’)
  • 4 oil pastels (it says 5 on the box but ours came with 4)
  • custom “van Gogh” paint roller
  • three acrylic paints
  • star mask sheet
  • sponge roller
  • composition stencil
  • instructions
  • learning materials

A couple of days before you plan to work on the project, it is a good idea to get your paper and stencil out of the box, roll it gently backwards of the curl in it, and then place it under something heavy to flatten it out so it will be flat for the project. That will make it much easier to work with.

The process is pretty straightforward and the instructions (inspiration!) are step-by-step and clear. From the placing of the star masks to using the rollers, most of it was easy to do. The stencil required multiple hands, though. When Miss J was working with it, both Miss E and I had to help her keep the interior parts of the stencil flat so that paint would not get under it. When Miss E was using it, it was a little easier and I was able to help her on my own. It is such a large stencil (almost 16″x20″) and it has such a small amount of interior support, the roll that was put in it from the box was just problematic. However, do take a look at our finished products and you will see it didn’t really hinder us. Yea – we had to have additional hands but we were all around the table anyway so it wasn’t an issue.

Kidzaw.com background work

Before we began, Miss E read to us from the instructional materials that were included in the kit. We talked a bit about what we remembered from previous studies of van Gogh and as additional artist names came up (he was influenced by a number of people and had a number of famous contemporaries), it was good to be able to talk about things the girls recalled and how they all intersected.

We learned a bit about using the different materials – acrylic paint, stencils, rollers, and oil pastels. We learned about how to “mask” (or protect an area) from paint so that it will remain the color you want. We learned how to combine textures and materials (oil pastels over acrylic, mixing color in oil pastels, etc.).

Master Kitz Starry Night from Kidzaw.com

We were able to use this for two projects at the same time, though it did take a bit of finesse with materials going from one paper to the next, having to make sure they were dry before the second paper, etc. There does appear to be enough of everything in the box except for the paper to create a third project. The star masks we had to be very careful with – they had a tendency to stick too hard to the paper and we did have a couple of places tear, in addition to making sure the paint didn’t smear when taking them off and the paint being dry when putting it on the second page. For the most part, the materials were of good quality and with everything being in one place, it was a very convenient activity for a rainy day.

It took a couple of hours to get these two paintings to the color stage – where they were using the oil pastels to create the stars and add any other additional color. From that point, it is up to the individual artist how much longer they want to spend adding details. Miss E took about two more hours to decide on her colors, practice and put that on the artwork. It is certainly not a quick project but will definitely be shorter if you are doing just a single project. Clean up took a while, as well, since we did try to preserve the materials for another go at the project for Miss L after we get some more large paper.

Miss E's finished productMiss J's finished product

One comment Miss J made I need to share – “I didn’t like that we didn’t get to use a paint brush and learn to paint.” That is a mistake on my part. I must have misled her accidentally by talking about doing a painting similar to one created by van Gogh. She thought she was going to get to learn how to paint like him. I am sharing this so that others might not make that same mistake with their kiddo. She did actually enjoy the project once she knew brushes were not involved.

I am looking into the additional kits that are offered by Kidzaw.com, including Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh, The Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt, and Water Lilies by Claude Monet. Check out their website for more options. They would make fun gifts and projects so with Christmas on the horizon, this may be a very good item to add to wish lists.

Blessings,
At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read additional reviews of the Kidzaw.com Master Kitz projects from other families.

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

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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

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