Color & Composition

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Anyone who knows us knows that my daughter is the art queen of the family. Naturally, she loves getting art-related materials to review. As someone who crafts daily, she's always looking for new skills, supplies, and ideas.

The books from Artistic Pursuits Inc. are some of her favorites and have been well-used over the years. We've learned about artists, art characteristics and styles during various time periods, and techniques. This time, she's been focusing on the creative process of art with ARTistic Pursuits, Middle School 6-8, Book 2 Color and Composition.

Artistic Pursuits was developed by Daniel an Brenda Ellis in 1999. What began as a single drawing book for high schoolers has evolved into full curricula from preschool all the way through high school. Their goal is to "develop experiences in the visual arts that allow children to create original works of art." Their program is designed to help students understand art concepts and enjoy the process of putting their own ideas and visual images on paper.

Color and Composition is the second book in the Middle School series. The books in the program can be used both by students with no prior art instruction and by those who are looking to advance their skills. They are designed to be used independently without parental instruction with instruction that is conversational and suited perfectly for a middle school student. The books have comb binding with clear, plastic covers.

The first book teaches students topics such as line, shape, value, symmetry, perspective, and proportion and focuses on one element of art per unit while exploring it in four unique ways. The second book  introduces the color wheel while strengthening observation skills. It covers techniques including blending, hatching, frottage, and working on colored paper all using either hard pastels or oil pastels.

Color and Composition provides lessons for 68 pastel drawings that are original to the student. As the student works through the book, his color skills advance as he learns about different hues, which ones compliment, how to balance and apply them, adding depth, creating a viewpoint, and more. Each unit features a famous artist of the past with a short biography, a brief cultural lesson teaching how the techniques were used around the world over the years, explanations, definitions, examples, an applicable challenge, and an engaging project.

My girl has been working through the book on her own. Many times a week, I'll find her at the kitchen table surrounded by papers and pastels. It might not be the intended way to approach the book, but I allow her to choose projects at will instead of working through it systematically. I never want art to feel like work that she must complete; I want her to follow her interests and desires and let her creativity be her guide. I have found that her interest is sparked more with this approach.

She has been practicing smooth and rough textures, drawing on a dark background, blending, combining color and texture, using frottage, and more. She learned that she can spray her works with hairspray to set the colors and used a chamois for the first time on a project.

Here are some of her thoughts on the book:

"I really like the sections on the artists and cultures and learning about the history. 
I liked learning about frottage, too. I had never done that before, and it's fun."

ARTistic Pursuits, Middle School 6-8, Book 2 Color and Composition is a great way for 6th-8th grade students to increase their art skills. Students learn a series of actions or steps to achieve their drawing goal as they learn the process of art based on elements. Instead of teaching step-by-step projects and giving specific ideas, the book teaches techniques and leaves the art subjects up to the student's own choosing.

Art is personal. Artistic Pursuits Inc. strives to bring out the artist in everyone.

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You can view more budding artists' works and read more reviews of this book and some of the others that were reviewed by my Crewmates by heading to the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

Art Through The Ages & Art for Children {Artistic Pursuits Inc. Reviews}