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ARTistic Pursuits, High School Book Two

Color and Composition

by Brenda Ellis. Publisher: Artistic Pursuits Inc. Comb-binding, 92 pages, 68 lessons, 187 illustrations. ISBN: 978-1-939394-09-5, January 1, 2013 3rd Edition

List Price $47.95

Book description: Ages 14 and up

This book provides engaging instruction for the high school student who wants to paint and be creative along the way. The organized content and conversational tone is equally engaging for both the novice and the more experienced art student. Students find to their delight that they are asked to select their own subjects to paint as they study topics such as tinting hues, color intensity, complementary hues, balance, rhythm and more. Each unit is crafted for focus on one color theory principle at a time while exploring the topic in four unique ways.

Students explore their world in engaging lessons designed to strengthen observation skills as they learn about the creative process in the first lesson of each unit. Art appreciation lessons show how color is used through the study of modern European masters like Van Gogh, Marc, Picasso, and more. Students gain insight about artists and modern movements in Western art. Technique and application lessons allow skills to develop naturally as students work independently without the need for parental instruction. Four special assignments show how artists combine elements of art and broaden the student’s experiences with art materials. The unique feature of the book is the way students learn from its pages, then choose a subject from their own environment, and apply the new information to their own art. The book provides a full credit for the completion of sixty-eight finished paintings in watercolor that are both original and entirely the student’s own. Upon finishing the course, students will be prepared for college art-related course with a thorough knowledge of the foundational principles of color in art.


Unit Pages


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Unit 2 Lesson 1: Students explore color theory or a compositional arrangement in each unit 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 assignment are listed and color coded to clarify the purpose of the creative assignment and for easy grading using a grading system. “Each well-crafted lesson is carefully laid out, making artistically challenged parents such as myself virtually unnecessary for their student’s success." – D.O., Homeschool Mom


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Unit Two, Lesson Two: Students see how the topic of the unit is used in a work by a master artist. When they see it in other works, they are more able to use it in their own work. Diagrams point out the ideas presented in the text so that the student cannot miss seeing it.


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This section examines the life of a particular artist and the influence he or she had on future artists. Students learn about European art history and how ideas changed with a focus on the Modern period. Topics include modern art's appearance in the climate of a rapidly changing world. Students practice color mixing to expand their knowledge of the color wheel in the first part of the book. Later, students practice with the concept presented in the unit.


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Unit Two, Lesson Three: Students learn technical information. A variety of watercolor processes are introduced. Techniques for painting and exploring certain subject matter are shown. Students practice with the techniques shown, completing a painting.


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Unit Two, Lesson Four: 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. Once students go through the book they will have used all the references available: photographs, direct observation, their imagination, etc. Students see how others interpreted and successfully used the element of art in the Student Gallery. A range of skill levels is shown to encourage different approaches to art. Students evaluate the success of the finished work by answering the questions in the Look Back box. Parents can use the color-coded stated objective for easy grading.


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Special feature lessons show additional color concepts and have students practice watercolor techniques and processes in more depth. This lesson explains color intensity, an advanced concept, in a way that students can understand and use easily.


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This special feature page explores the process of making a full-color painting, beginning with a line drawing. Students can use the information in any future painting assignment. "Encouragement to create a personal work, rather than copy step-by-step instructions, gives students a sense of accomplishment…extremely user-friendly." -H.P. Homeschool Mom


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The contents page lists lessons that explore the color wheel and composition in ways that the high school student, both the novice and more experienced, can learn from. Take time to browse through the topics covered in this book. "The website actually includes information on how to assign credits for this curriculum! Hurray and many thanks, Artistic Pursuits, for making my job so easy!" -H. K., Homeschool Mom

Medium Introduced: watercolor with various techniques using masking fluid

High School Book Two ISBN 978--1-939394-09-5.........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: Painting / 1 Credit
  • Course Text: Artistic Pursuits High School Book Two, Color and Composition.
  • Course Description: The fundamentals of color theory are explored along with a thorough study of watercolor techniques. Composition is emphasized in abstract and realistic works using landscape, still life, and portraits. Critical analysis of artwork is stressed in the application of the creative process. Art appreciation and art history are included as students evaluate works of European masters and apply techniques.

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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