Creating A Masterpiece ~ Review

Art is a subject that is often neglected in our homeschool. I would rather teach algebra or writing than art. I think it has to do with the fact that I am not artistic. I would have never passed art in school if it wasn’t for the tests and reports. AJ is very critical of her art and often gets upset when it isn’t perfect, so we often just skip it. When we were given the chance to review the Monthly Plan from Creating a Masterpiece, I thought it would be just what we needed to improve on our artistic abilities.

Creating a Masterpiece

What is Creating A Masterpiece?

Creating A Masterpiece is an online collection of step by step art lessons taught by artist Sharon Hofer. Each project has video lessons that are broken up into small sections. It is the next best thing to taking an art lesson in person. There are a variety of different mediums to explore for beginners through more advanced artists.

When you purchase a subscription to Creating a Masterpiece you will have access to all of the videos in each level. Some of the mediums covered include:

  • oil painting
  • watercolor
  • pastel
  • charcoal
  • pencil
  • ink
  • carving
  • wood burning
  • acrylic
  • silk painting
  • and more

The idea is that your child will be creating masterpieces, not just crafty projects.

How We Used Creating A Masterpiece

We decided to start at the beginner level with watercolor. Our first project was an African Sunset.

Creating A Masterpiece Projects

We were both amazed with the details that we learned. We were able to finish the project in just a few lessons. The directions were easy to follow, and I think that they turned out nicely.

The next project we completed was Floral Medley. This project was a little harder for both of us.

It had more drying time and was a little more open to interpretation. After trying the project a few times, I think they came out okay. AJ is still working on understanding how art can be abstract.

Creating A Masterpiece Projects

The final project we were able to complete was a lesson from level 1. It was a color pencil project and I expected it to be quick and easy. The Tropical Clown Fish actually took the longest to complete.

Creating A Masterpiece Projects

The directions were very easy to follow, but there were a lot of steps. The fish is suppose to look as though it was painted even though it was done in colored pencils.

Creating A Masterpiece Projects

Throughout this project, AJ thought she was doing a horrible job. But once the finished project was revealed she was quite proud of herself.

In the future we plan to try out more painting projects as well as some pastels and charcoal projects.

What We Thought

I knew that AJ and I would learn a few new techniques while using Creating A Masterpiece, but I was surprised at how much we learned. After completing a few projects AJ is a lot more confident in her abilities and excited to try out the techniques that she has learned in her own paintings.

The directions for the projects really are simple enough that a child can understand. One thing I liked was that although the lessons were simple, the instructor didn’t talk down to artists. I think artists of all ages will get something out of this program.

The video quality is great, and it is nice to be able to watch and re-watch the lessons. I was very impressed with Creating A Masterpiece and would recommend it to any artist looking to improve their skills. If AJ and I can create projects that look this nice, I an sure that those with more experience could create something spectacular.

 

Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}
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ARTistic Pursuits ~ Review

I have wanted to find a good art program for AJ for a long time. She enjoys doodling, but her art skills are greatly lacking. We have tried a few different programs, but they just weren’t a good fit. We were given the chance to review Middle School Book One The Elements of Art and Composition from ARTistic Pursuits Inc. and I thought that it would be a good fit for AJ.

Artistic Pursuits Middle School Book 1

The Elements of Art and Composition is a 92 page come-bound book. There are 16 units that are each broken into four lessons. The lessons focus on different elements of art including; space, line, texture, form, depth, balance, proportion, and perspective. The lessons are written to the student making it so that most students can complete the program on their own with little help.

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
The first lesson in each unit introduces and explains the concept of that unit. The lesson has your child practice the concept in a creative way. In one unit your child is told to find an object and see how many different ways they can look at it. Another lesson has the student line up small objects and draw them a few times having some of them overlap. Each of these lessons are fairly short, but they explain the concept very well.

The second lesson is in Art Appreciation. The student is shown a piece of art that goes with the unit. There is a brief history of the culture and the piece of art, and then the student is asked to imitate the art in some way.

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The third lesson is the main art lesson, it is on technique. It gives some great tips on how to achieve different looks in your art. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that this section is large enough. It is only one page long in each unit. The information that is given is detailed, it even explains which pencils to use to get different effects.

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The final lesson in each unit is the Application lesson. This is the section where the student is told to use everything that they have learned and to do a project. Some of the projects require a lot of time, but there are some (especially in the beginning) that only take a little while to complete.

In each lesson the student draws something.

There are 64 lessons, so if your student completes two lessons a week, the book will last an entire school year. The books are not consumable, if you have multiple children they can all use it.

I decided to have AJ work on art twice a week. The first two lessons I read to AJ and worked with her. After those two lessons I quickly realized that she would be able to do the work on her own. Each lesson took between 45 minutes and an hour. She understood the lessons, but she had a lot of problems with the drawings.

She did the best on the second lesson in each unit where she was asked to imitate part of a work of art. On the rest of the lessons there were not details of what to draw and she had trouble. On a lot of the lessons there are pictures drawn by other students. Since her drawings were no where near as good as the ones in the book she became discouraged.

I think that this level was just too advanced for her. This book is full of wonderful techniques, but if you have trouble drawing basic items, then that won’t really help.

If your student has basic drawing skills and wants to improve them, then this book would help them a lot. With the different techniques and the art history, this would be a solid course that can be completed with little help from the teacher.

I plan to have AJ draw for fun a lot over the summer and then start AJ over in the book for the next school year. I think that if she improves on her basic drawing skills that she will get more from the book.

Find out what others had to say by clicking on the graphic below.

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
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Kwik Stix ~ Review

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Lately AJ hasn’t been able to do very many arts and crafts. She loves to paint and create things, but she always seems to make a mess. Between spilled water and paint that accidentally gets on the table, I say, “no” way more than I say, “yes” when she wants to get the paints out. When I heard of the new Kwik Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  I was very intrigued. A lot of paints claim to dry fast, but when we try them out, they take forever to dry. I hoped that these would be different.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
We received a Kwik Stix 12 pk and a surprise gift of a pencil grip. I wish that I would have had that pencil grip when AJ was learning to write! She has a very awkward grip some times, and I know that the pencil grip would have helped. It slides on the pencil and tells you where to place your fingers in order to have a proper grip. AJ has used it a few times, but she finds it a little hard to use because she doesn’t normally hold the pencil correctly. There was also a chart that showed some different grips that were either correct or incorrect. The way AJ holds her pencil was on the incorrect side. I loved that there was something that showed her she was holding the pencil wrong. I am not pushing her to use the pencil grip right now, but when she uses it I do see an improvement in her penmanship.

Kwik Stix Review, A mess free way to paint

The Kwik Stix 12 pk came with a variety of paint colors; red, orange, yellow, two shades of green, two shades of blue, purple, pink, black, brown, and white. Each stick is about three and a half inches long and resembles the shape of a glue stick. They are solid sticks of tempera paint, you simply take the cap off, twist the bottom of the stick if needed, and then use the Kwik Stix to paint something. They are non-toxic and very easy to use.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
When AJ first saw the Kwik Stix she thought they looked like colored glue sticks. But when she first tried them out, she really liked them. The box claimed that the paint dries in 90 seconds, and they really do. We found that they dry almost instantly. The color goes on smooth and evenly and once it dries, it has a paint like texture. They take painting to a new level. One thing I like about the Kwik Stix is that you don’t need any paint brushes or water to use them. As long as you have the paints and something to paint on, you are all set.

AJ really liked using them, and the only issue we found was that there isn’t a way to mix the colors once they dry. If AJ drew a line of black and then quickly went over it with white the line did turn gray, but it had to be done very quickly. The amazing thing was that even though she mixed colors, the Kwik Stix never had the other paint transfer onto it.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
 AJ has used the Kwik Stix on regular paper, construction paper, and on a cardboard butterfly. Everything she has used it on has come out great! She is doing more art projects, and I am dealing with less mess. In the video below you will see AJ using the Kwik Stix.

These Kwik Stix would be great to use with young kids. They are virtually mess free. If you are looking for a way to let your kids paint without all the mess, these Kwik Stixs are something you should definitely check out!

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
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Memorial Day Freebie

Grab your Free Memorial Day crossword puzzle and word search. Day 9 of the 30 days of free printables!

It is hard to believe that Memorial Day is right around the corner. On the last Monday on May families gather together to celebrate the start of summer. There are BBQs, pool parties, and usually a lot of fun. Unfortunately, too many forget that the real reason for the holiday isn’t just a paid day off of work.

Memorial Day is a time to honor those who lost their lives while fighting for our country. While we will be swimming and enjoying time together as a family, I want to make sure we take time out of our day to remember those who died fighting for our freedom. I made this word search and crossword puzzle to help kids remember the reason for the holiday. It is day 9 of my 30 days of FREE Printables!

Download your Memorial Day Puzzles and make sure to come back tomorrow for another free printable!

See the Light Review

I am not an art person, I never have been but I want AJ to learn as much as she can. When I was given the opportunity to review an Art Project DVD from See the Light, I was excited. The first thing we had to do was decide what great project we would like to try. There are a variety of options.

  • Tiffany Window
    IN THE STYLE OF LOUIS COMFORT TIFFANY
  • Repeated Sweets
    IN THE STYLE OF WAYNE THIEBAUD
  • Paper Jungle
    IN THE STYLE OF HENRI ROUSSEAU
  • Pointillism Fruit
    IN THE STYLE OF GEORGES SEURAT
  • Poppy Collage
    IN THE STYLE OF GEORGIA O’KEEFFE
  • Dreams of Joseph
    IN THE STYLE OF MARC CHAGALL
  • Horsing Around
    IN THE STYLE OF EDGAR DEGAS
  • Peaceful Seas
    IN THE STYLE OF WINSLOW HOMER
  • Sunflowers
    IN THE STYLE OF VICENT VAN GOGH
Each DVD focuses on a different topic and instructs you in how to create a masterpiece based on the artist that you are learning about. They retail for $14.99 when purchased separately, $12.50 when you sign up for the DVD of the month club, and $99.99 for a boxed set with all 9 DVDs. These DVDs are recommended for ages 10 and up and will even satisfy the fine art requirement that most states have for high school. While the DVDs themselves are not quite enough to satisfy the fine art requirement, when artist studies, additional projects based on the methods learned, and field trips are added in there should be more than enough hours to satisfy the requirement. (Be sure to check your state homeschool laws to make sure it will work for your needs)
 
See the Light Art Project DVDs are way more than just art lessons. Incorporated into the lessons are biblical lessons along with background information about the artists. You simply pop the disk into a DVD player, sit back and let the instructor teach the lesson. It is presented in a way that AJ stayed engaged and interested throughout the lesson. The instructor completes the project right along with you and provides tips and tricks to make the project even easier. For someone like me who is art challenged, it is perfect!
 
So what did we pick?
 
 
We picked Paper Jungle where we would create a collage. I honestly picked it because I had all of the needed materials on hand and it looked like fun. I had never heard of Henri Rousseau before so I was excited to learn right along side AJ.
 
The DVD was broken down into 4 lessons. During the first lesson “Background: Cutting Trees” we learned about the French artist Henri Rousseau. We were given a few different techniques for drawing and learned about the background of a picture. AJ cut out the trees for her jungle.
 
 
 
The second lesson was “Foreground: Grass and Leaf Shapes” we learned about shapes and spacing and studied a few more of Rousseau’s paintings. This was the longest lesson and involved a lot of cutting. AJ cut out the grass and numerous leaves for her collage.
 
 
In the third lesson, “Focal Points: Flora and Fauna” we learned more about the history of collage and Naïve Art. This lesson also touched on more specific aspects of drawing animals. AJ cut out flowers, fruit, and a wild animal to go in her jungle.
 

 
The final lesson, “The Final Step: Overlapping and Gluing” was where  everything came together. AJ glued everything on her collage and learned about spacing scale and layering.
 
 
Bible verses, character traits, and stories were sprinkled throughout the lessons. In all except for the last lesson I felt the Bible verses flowed very well and didn’t feel too preachy. In the final lesson however, the instructor said a prayer to have God help them to do their best on the projects. I honestly felt that was a little much, but other than that I really enjoyed the format.
 
Overall AJ really enjoyed the See the Light DVD Art Projects. When your 10 year old tells you she is going to add the DVDs to her Christmas list, you know she really liked it. She found the lessons to be fun and informative. I like that they provided a lot of technique and included art history.
 
 
There were only a few minor things that we didn’t care for. Some of the camera angles while the instructor was drawing made it difficult to see. AJ got quite frustrated a few times, but after rewinding the DVD a few times she saw what she had missed and continued with her project.
 
If you are looking for a great art program that incorporates art history, elements, and principles, has step by step directions, and has a biblical foundation See the Light is what you are looking for.
 
Find out what others at Mosaic Reviews had to say.
 
http://mosaicreviews.com/see-the-light/
 

Soap Whittling and Lungs

We have finished a few fun activities as part of the Prairie Primer. Here is an update of some of the things we have been working on.

We talked about log cabins and how difficult they would be to make. Afterwards AJ played with some wooden blocks and made her own log cabin. I was a little disappointed with the quality of the wooden blocks, they were no where near as nice as the Lincoln logs that I had as a kid, but she had a good time.

She also learned all about the lungs. We read a couple of books and I downloaded a few free worksheets from education.com. Then she made a model of a lung. I found the idea here. With just 2 balloons, a plastic bottle, straw, and playdough, you can quickly make a fake lung. It was simple enough for her to do and really helped her to understand how when you breathe in the diaphragm goes down and when you breathe out the diaphragm goes up.

 
Another project we did this week was soap whittling. In Little House in the Big Woods, Pa whittles a Christmas present for Ma, so we decided to give it a try. Since I am accident prone and the recommended age for whittling is 12, we decided to use ivory soap. Surprisingly it was a little harder than we thought it would be. After drawing our design on the soap we started cutting away the soap with a butter knife. I had decided to make a star and AJ decided to make a heart but mid way through the arms of my star were accidentally cut off so my design then changed to a heart as well. It was a fun project. We were happy with how they turned out.
 
 
Since we had a lot of soap shavings left, we tried an experiment that I have seen all over Pintrest. We put the soap shavings in the microwave for 30 seconds and this was the result.
 
AJ thought that it looked like snow so she made a little snow man.
 
 
She also worked on the lap book to go along with the Prairie Primer, spelling, Math Mammoth (review coming at the end of the month), logic and worked more on the owl lap book. There was even a little time left over to get in some exercise.
 
 
We are slowly making our way through and she is learning so much.

Art

Art through the k12 program isn’t just coloring and gluing things. It is a lot of art history. In forth grade she is learning about famous artists who painted President George Washington and about scientific art. Below there are two of the projects she worked on. In the first one she had to draw an insect that was symmetrical. She couldn’t get the picture the way she wanted so we changed up the lesson. She cut a butterfly out of construction paper, and then put drops of paint on one side. She folded the butterfly in half and rubbed her hand over the paper so the paint would spread. Then when she opened it she saw that it was symmetrical on both sides. After it dried she glued it to another piece of paper.

The next picture is a replica of Washington Crossing the Delaware. She had to study the piece and then do her best to make her own. I think she did very well. Although I really enjoy the art program, there are times when I wish she would get to do more kid friendly projects. That is where supplementing with my own crafts and projects comes in.