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Category: Art

One of the subjects I was really looking forward to offering Satori was drawing lessons. She loves to draw, and I think she’d really take off with some lessons. My plan to use Drawing With Children never materialized, it is just not user-friendly enough.

So I was on Homeschool Buyers Co-op over the weekend, and found Mark Kistler’s Online Art Lessons at a shockingly low price. Through the end of this month, they are offering a Three Year Family Subscription for just $39.60!!! That’s under $7 per year in drawing lessons for Satori and I, under $5 if David participates. (This is 60% off the regular price.)

So I established that it was extremely affordable. Next, I did some research to see if it was worth it. Glowing reviews on the homeschooling forums from the families that used it… The free samples on his online site impressed even my husband. Fun and engaging and actually incorporates many art concepts! The amount of 3-D art instruction you get is amazing, and people say he adds more videos often. Mark Kistler won an Emmy Award for his children art instruction TV show.

The real test would be to see if Satori would like it… I couldn’t wait until morning to try it out with her.

I played his free demo instructions and placed Satori’s little table in front of my monitor in our loft room. We did one of his Mini-Marshmallow lessons, geared for younger kids. Satori wanted to do his Ninja Egg lesson. And here’s her finished drawing! She learned about 3-D drawing, shadows, and horizon lines.

Although his instruction is very cartoony, you can take all the concepts learned and apply it to realistic drawings very easily.

We also did his Balloon lesson. She learned perspective and drew smaller and smaller balloons the further away they are. Again, note the shadow to make it look more 3-D.

I asked her if she’d like to continue these drawing lessons. She said she’d love it! I then clicked BUY on the Homeschool Buyers Co-op and had our online login within two minutes.

Now these are excellent drawing lessons we can EASILY do every week and learn from all the time. Even our cat Kashi loves to watch the videos!

The second artist we’re studying in our Meet the Masters program is Mary Cassatt. She specialized in women and children, as at the time, it was inappropriate to paint men that weren’t in her family. She was the only American who exhibited with the Impressionists. She befriended Edgar Degas, an artist we’ll also be studying soon.

Mary loved to use chalk pastels for her painting, so this is the medium we used in this project. Meet the Masters first had us practice drawing a big hat, and then showed us how to position our chalk to get both thick and thin lines. Here are our experiments with making chalk pastel plaid patterns.

After practicing, we made our pattern once again, this time making a hat design on the back. We cut it out and pasted it on black paper. Satori added the woman’s head.

I’ve been pretty busy lately, but I wanted to share our Artistic Pursuit art project we did today. This is from Book 1, Lesson 2 – Artists Use Their Imagination.

Satori used her imagination to draw a mermaid sitting on a rock out in the water.

She used the Neocolor II water-soluble crayons and then used a wet brush to blend it all in. I love these crayons, and now I am wondering how we can get a full set of 126…

We had an enjoyable month studying our first artist Vincent van Gogh. I’m so glad Meet the Masters used van Gogh as the first unit and introduction to the artists, we all really loved learning about him. So today we re-read our books on van Gogh.

We did another art project in The Usborne Art Treasury, the first one called “Swirly Landscape”.

For this we used acrylic paints mixed with white glue so we could really gob the paint on to get some texture. We used a spoon to etch some grass and swirls in.

After it dried, we could see a bit of texture, although not as much as some of Vincent’s paintings. He really must have went through a lot of paint!

And just like van Gogh, Satori signed only her first name.

Next the family each chose a coloring page out of Color Your Own Van Gogh Paintings coloring book. We had a sample print of his to copy if we wanted, and then we took various markers to try to replicate it. Coloring is such a relaxing activity, I love it.

Mom printed off a bunch of prints for our next artist study. Can anyone guess who it might be?

And just for kicks, Mama spent the entire night last night compiling a list of top 100 famous artists. This was awfully hard to do as there’s thousands of wonderful artists, but I mostly took the artists most commonly found in children’s art books and on various artist lists for children to study and came up with a top one hundred. I added a few modern-day artists that might not be found in many art books. The closer to the top, the more popular an artist is. And the top artist was Vincent van Gogh! Other popular ones are Da Vinci, Picasso, Matisse, Degas, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt, all of which we’ll be covering in our art appreciation studies.

As I was surfing the bloggers who participated on Science Friday, I saw Old Oak School’s art lesson of a dinosaur done in chalk pastels. They in turn got the idea from one of my favorite art lesson sites – Deep Space Sparkle: the Dazzling Dinosaurs Art Project. Since I had Artistic Pursuits “Horizon Line Project” lined up for today anyway, I thought this would be the perfect project to practice drawing with a horizon line!

This was our first project using chalk pastels, and wow, was it messy.

The point today wasn’t to make realistic dinosaurs, we just wanted to have fun. We got our hands and clothes quite messy, including the table and floor. I don’t think she was too eager to get out the chalk pastels again.

But after looking at the Deep Space Sparkle site again, I realized it said to do the outline in black OIL pastel first. Since we used chalk pastel for the black outline, it got pretty messy. Fortunately, I convinced Satori to try again. We think they turned out much better using black oil pastel and then colored in with chalk pastel. This time we used our fingers to blend in the chalks to give a smoother color.

Here’s Mama’s dinosaur.

This project is from Artistic Pursuits – The Way They See It book, which is their Pre-K book. I’m going to try and finish it this month so we can move on to their other three books for K-3. :)  For this project, we took visual notes on trees we observed in nature. So we headed out of our house to find the right tree.

We only have Lodgepole pines and Aspens to choose from, and I happen to think the lodgepoles are ugly, so we headed out to an Aspen grove.

First we did some bark rubbings.

I did not plan on participating, simply photo-documenting the experience.

Then some leaf rubbings. We used Prismacolor Art Stix for the rubbings, which are perfect for large areas of color.

We used Derwent watercolor pencils for the actual drawing. I love these pencils!

We found a natural bench to sit on and sketch the trees around us.

Here’s Satori’s picture, she couldn’t resist drawing herself in the picture.

And I couldn’t resist quickly joining in on drawing a tree at the last moment.

Nor could I resist taking one more picture of our little tree-hugger!

This weekend also marked our very first foray into our new art enrichment program, Meet the Masters! Satori and David had been coloring on the living room floor, so I snuck a laptop in front of them and started playing the lesson. This program is online, so we watched both the Preview and van Gogh Unit lessons. This viewing was Step 1, and we loved the lesson and enjoyed listening to “Starry, Starry Night” by Don McLean. (music and video shown at end of this post)

Step 2 of our van Gogh lesson explored texture and had a few worksheets in the Downloadable Art Packet for Satori to practice drawing texture.

Step 3 is the Create a Masterpiece Art Activity! We used van Gogh’s technique of using little line dabs to make texture, and made our own starry night.  We used black construction paper (actually sulphite) and used oil pastels. The oil pastels really stood out upon the black paper.

The whole family made their own artwork, and we had a print of Starry Night propped up in front of us. (This is our new Art Appreciation binder I made a few days ago).

Here’s Satori’s Starry Night masterpiece!

We used the directions for Track A, Year 1 ages 5-7. There are two other levels you can use if you have older children, so you can get a bit more sophisticated. For Track A, there are age levels of 5-7, 8-9, and 10-adult.

Satori turned around and made another picture, she wanted to draw birds flying on a landscape.

It actually reminded me of Vincent van Gogh’s painting “Wheatfield with Crows”, although I don’t think Satori ever saw it. Now I have it up as a desktop wallpaper on the kitchen computer. We have various van Gogh painting as wallpaper on all our computers now.

Vincent’s story was very sad and tragic, but we loved learning about his life and his passions and sorrows.

Lyrics and explanation found here. An alternative YouTube video without the depressing text at the end is found here.

We are now seeing van Gogh’s paintings everywhere! Now that we studied him in just this initial lesson, we can’t miss his unmistakable art techniques, colors, and subjects. This is exactly what I wanted in starting an Art Appreciation program!

I have a bunch of read-alouds and other activities that we’ll do the next few weeks to continue with our van Gogh study. Meet the Masters only has 7 units, so we could easily whip through the entire first “year” in just a few months. We loved our first lesson, but I’ll have to find ways to slow it down by doing this more slowly, and adding our own fun supplements.