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ARTistic Pursuits, High School Book One

The Elements of Art and Composition

by Brenda Ellis. Publisher: Artistic Pursuits Inc. Comb-binding, 92 pages, 68 lessons, 186 illustrations. ISBN: 978-1-939394-08-8, January 1, 2013, 3rd Edition

List Price $47.95

Book description: Ages 14 and up

This book provides high school students with an in-depth look at the elements of art and composition through a comprehensive text designed to engage them in the creative process as they produce original drawings using graded pencils and charcoal. High school students can begin this book without prior knowledge of art and work independently without the need for parental instruction. The organized content and conversational tone is equally engaging for both the novice and the more experienced art student. Students learn how to see the world like an artist as they are introduced to topics such as space, line, texture, and value. Each unit is crafted for focus on one art element while exploring the topic in four unique ways.

Students explore their world in engaging studies designed to strengthen observation skills as they learn about the creative process. The student gains insight about artists and movements in Western art. Art appreciation lessons show how each element is used through the study of art from European masters like Leonardo da Vinci, Durer, Raphael, Tintoretto, and more. Technique and application pages allow skills to develop naturally, as the student works independently. The unique feature of the book is the way students learn from its pages, choose a subject to draw from their own environment, and then easily apply the new information to their own art. Four special assignments show how artists combine elements of art and broaden the student’s experiences with art materials. The book provides content for a full credit with the completion of sixty-eight finished drawings in pencil and charcoal media that are both original and entirely the student’s own. Upon completing the course, students will be prepared for college art-related course with a thorough knowledge of the foundational principles of art.


Unit Pages



Unit One, Page One:
Students explore a new element of art or a compositional arrangement in each unit. The terms are introduced in both words and pictures at the top of the page. Students get their hands on art materials the first day in a project designed to explore the subject of art and creativity. The objectives of the Challenge Your Vision section are listed and color coded to clarify the purpose of the creative assignment and for easy grading using a grading system on page 91. "Wow. Artistic Pursuits had a Bigger Vision for my son as a student than I did. Lesson learned!! So I am left quite pleased and impressed with what good teaching can enable someone to do." -H.Q., Homeschool Mom


space in art

Unit One, Page Two:
Students see how the element of art is used in a work by European masters on the Art Appreciation page. When they see an element in master works, they are more able to use it in their own work. Close-ups and illustrations accompany the work, helping students see what is being discussed in the text. "My sixteen-year-old son devoured Senior High Book 1. We have never found anything for him so stimulating and so challenging. And the results were fantastic!" -R.W., Homeschool Mom


art history

Unit One, Page Three:
This section examines the art of a particular time period or a particular artist. Artists' biographies include: Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Zurbaran, Renoir, Friedrich, Jan van Huysum, Seurat, Tintoretto, Raphael, Durer, and Watteau. Students examine changing ideas from the Middle Ages to the Modern period. Topics include the Symbolism of the Middle Ages, Realism of the Renaissance, the Spanish Baroque, Dutch Realism, Expressionists, Impressionists, and more. "This art curriculum is perfect for Home Education Programs because it is intentionally self teaching," -TOS Homeschool Mom Reviewer.


arang a picture

Unit One, Page Four:
Students learn how to use a medium such as pencil or charcoal and a variety of ways. This page offers practical suggestions for setting up a drawing. It shows how to begin a drawing while keeping active and non-active spaces in mind.
"Each lesson has given (my hesitant child) some impetus to go forward with no pressure from Mom. Somehow having some more head knowledge about art itself, the techniques, has made him more sure of himself and that shows up in his drawings. He is drawing!" -H.S. Homeschool Mom


final project

Unit One, Page Five:
Instructions are given for a final project in which students assimilate the information from the unit and do a work reflecting their interests or particular interpretations. A materials list is given in the right column. Suggestions for what to use as a reference are given in the right column. As students go through the book they use all the references available, such as photographs, direct observation, their imagination, etc. Students see how others their own age interpreted and successfully used the element of art, encouraging different approaches to art in the Student Gallery. Students evaluate the success of the finished work by answering the questions. Parents can use the color-coded stated objective for easy grading. "I really appreciate the way the book appeals to naturally creative students, and yet the lessons are designed in a way that will bring out the creativity of each child in a very non-intimidating format. The inclusion of student’s works of art, is a wonderful touch!" -TOS Homeschool Mom Reviewer.

The Elements Combined Pages


hs1 p1

New feature pages show how the elements of art come together. Techniques for using materials and processes are shown in both pencil and charcoal drawing. Students are asked to select a similar subject and to make an original work.


hs1 p2

The contents page lists lessons that explore the elements of art and composition in ways that high school students can identify with and learn from. Take time to browse through the topics covered in this book.

Media Introduced: drawing pencils, vine charcoal and compressed charcoal.

High School Book One ISBN 978-1-939394-08-8.........made in the USA...........Price:


Course Credits

Visual Arts Courses: Each book is designed for 1 credit (one year) however, if a student desires to take only one year of art the courses can be modified and the two books can be combined. To do this, complete the art assignments on the first and fourth pages of each unit, while only reading through the second and third pages of each unit. Award ½ per book (one semester). A credit depends on the amount of time spent on the course.

  • Course Name: Studio Art 1 / 1 Credit
  • Course Text: Artistic Pursuits High School Book One, The Elements of Art and Composition.
  • Course Description: The fundamentals of art (line, value, shape, texture, space, and form) are emphasized through examples and projects focused on drawing. Critical analysis of artwork is stressed in the application of the elements of art and the principles of design. Art appreciation and art history is included as students evaluate the work of European masters and learn to apply specific techniques to create original works of art.

Information on Building a Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of art works that you will show to a college for entrance to their program. It is also the name of the folder you put the work into. Please note that each college will have its own set of requirements and you should look into those before sending your portfolio to them. The guidelines below will be valuable if you keep them in mind as you go through our courses.

  1. Include a total of 12 to 15 pieces
  2. 3 artworks should demonstrate drawing skills, shading, value, or line work.
  3. Include two or more pieces from each course taken. (this includes other courses you have taken, if any), including photography, pottery, oil painting, etc.
  4. Show a variety of media, technique, size and subject matter. For example, sending in 15 seascapes all done in acrylic will not make a good impression.
  5. Present the portfolio in a professional manner: neat and organized. Each college will have their own preference, so be certain to ask them. Any type of folder will work but it should be tidy if handmade. I suggest something like the Cachet Studio Portfolio at the Blick Art Materials web site.

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