At Artistic Pursuits Inc., we believe every child can understand the concepts of art and enjoy the process of putting ideas and visual images on paper. We're committed to the goal of helping children become visually aware of the wonderful world we live in, and be able to work in creative ways within this world. We offer parents and teachers a simple way to give children a quality art education that will prepare them to meet creative challenges in their future endeavors.

How We Teach Art

The Artistic Pursuits program presents both the expressive and the technical aspects of art in an age-appropriate manner. Children are curious and expressive from the start. We work with those interests to teach them to observe more closely. Skills develop as each child observes nature and enjoys the process of creating. Using ARTistic Pursuits, a child carries art tools to locations which both inspire and are chosen by the child. Creating truly personal work gives a child a sense of accomplishment that cannot be attained by copying from a book or watching an adult do it for him. They learn because direct observation is the best teacher when accompanied by an understanding of the foundational elements of art and compositional ideas. Children examine and explore these key ideas by seeing them in their own world, in art works by the masters, through pages demonstrating techniques, and through art of their own and of others. Childhood development studies were foundational to the layout of the program. ARTistic Pursuits lessons offer children the right kinds of information at the right time. We expect a child to be a child and we value what they produce from their own hands. Projects do not try to force young children to draw like adults. Our projects do not require patience and discipline on the part of the child, which leads to frustration. Children don't need patience when their own interests and motivations are guiding them.

This approach works! Here's why.

A complete study of art should include the subject matter shown on each shelf in this illustration. The K-3 program covers the elements of art and compositional ideas suited to the age within the context of art history. Techniques are shown as new materials are introduced. In this way even the youngest students experience a complete study of art. Grades 4-12 get a complete, in-depth study of the elements of art and composition based on a variety of applications. Each application offers a different way of thinking about the topic, helping to expand awareness of the visual world.

First and Second Shelf, The Elements of Art and Composition

LESSON ONE - part 1, CONCEPTUAL APPLICATION (Building a Visual Arts Vocabulary) The first page of each unit begins with an introduction to one of the elements of art or a compositional arrangement. These are concepts foundational to a successful work of art. They are the topics for the units in each book. Each element is what artists focus on as they draw. Children learn to visually sift the element out from other information that they see.

part 2, EXPRESSIVE APPLICATION (Observation and Creative Exploration) These assignments guide children to observe the topic of the unit within their own environments. Introduced to a variety of approaches to exploring their world, each child uses creative thought, arriving at personal visual solutions within their art.

Third Shelf, Art History

LESSON TWO - part 1, PRACTICAL APPLICATION (Looking at Art) This activity broadens understanding of how each element of art or compositional arrangement is used by observing it in a work of art by the masters.

part 2, ART HISTORY (Learning About Artists, Art, Cultures, or the Times) The art history addition helps students to gain a broader view when looking at art and to understand that the ideas of people affect how the art looks. It gives a child the language he needs to do well in art history and introduces him to many artists in biographies. The assignment deals with the topic shown in the artwork of the masters as discussed in Lesson Two part 1.

Fourth Shelf, Media and Techniques

LESSON THREE - TECHNICAL APPLICATION (Art Materials and How to Use Them) Developing varied and essential skills for seeing and for applying materials, a child considers both traditional methods and experimentation. She gains a broad experience with materials most commonly used by artists.

LESSON FOUR - PRACTICED APPLICATION (Original Work) A final project allows children to bring together the main idea of each unit (explained in lesson one of each unit), its expanded use as seen in the master work of art (explained in lesson two of each unit), as well as new techniques for using materials to create an original work of art (explained in lesson three of each unit.)

What you WILL NOT find in ARTistic Pursuits:

  • NO formal exercises that make no connections to real world experiences. We will not ask your child to draw a page of straight lines, circles, cones, and cubes. The development of eye/hand coordination, which may improve with such exercises, happens more easily when children draw objects that they enjoy and are willing to draw.
  • NO single technique to learning. This is not a book of step-by-step copy exercises typical of How-to-Draw books. The technique of teaching kids to draw shapes copied from a book page does nothing to help them draw real objects. ARTistic Pursuits employs a variety of drawing techniques practiced by all artists when drawing from direct observation.
  • NO tiny boxes in which students are asked to sketch into. Artists don't work in 2" x 2" squares and we won't ask your students to do something that is physically uncomfortable. With a 9"x12" sketch book, they practice the type of whole hand and whole arm motion needed to make art. Art requires the use of the larger muscles of the hand (moving at the wrist), and arm (moving at the shoulder). Small muscle groups are used less often, therefore large sheets of paper are needed, 9"x12" or 11" x 14".
  • NO kids sitting in front of the TV or computer screen. Assignments guide children to work from life. The stillness of a natural setting revives our spirits. To be in nature helps us to become keen observers of our surroundings and active in our participation. Children benefit from time spent observing, and learn to "focus in" and "ponder" rather than "tuning out" to harsh sounds and fast paced visuals that TV and computer programs present to them. One mom wrote, "My son took his ARTistic Pursuits book and art tools out to the pasture. He's been sitting there with his dog for quite a long time, drawing something in the distance. I couldn't be happier!"

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