Nothin' 2 Prove

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ARTistic Pursuits for High School ART!

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We have had the great pleasure to review an outstanding program from a favorite vendor that we love.

ARTistic Pursuits has revised and expanded their art curriculum books to include even more amazing in-depth study lessons. They have complete art programs for all levels of study from Pre-School through High School.

My sophomore was very excited when given the opportunity to review ARTistic Pursuits High School 9-12 Book One, The Elements of Art and Composition. She had been asking if we could use this for her High School art credit after she worked through Middle School Book One and loved it.


This new 3rd Edition non-consumable book contains 68 lessons in a 92 page book with 186 illustrations, and retails for $47.95.

The high school level is for ages 14 and up.

The ARTistic Pursuit format is a brilliant mix of the elements of art and principles of  design, techniques, art appreciation, art history and biographies.

Each level is carefully designed to include technical and expressive aspects in a delightfully organized fashion. The books are wonderfully appealing to the eye and once you pick it up, it’s difficult to put it away without wanting to just keep flipping through the whole book!

The levels are divided according to developmental ages. For levels 4-12 the program contains two separate books with book one covering art and composition elements of drawing, and book two covering color theory and composition.

As I mentioned before, we received High School Book one, Elements of Art and Composition for review. This book uses pencil as the art media to explore these elements:







Each unit is divided into four lessons.

*The first lesson of each unit is “Building a Visual Vocabulary”, where a topic is focused upon in words and pictures.

*The second lesson of each unit is “Art Appreciation and Art History”, where the topic is used in a work of art by the masters.

*The third lesson of each unit is “Techniques”, where they make an original work of art from tools and materials they learn to use.

*The fourth lesson of each unit is “Application”, where a final project is completed using  new techniques applied to the topic being covered.

This book is designed for independent use by the student, and if completed in it’s entirety can easily qualify for one full high school art credit. The description of the book says that it can be used by students with no prior knowledge or art training, or can be equally as stimulating for more advanced art students. *My daughter’s personal opinion differs a little bit in that she feels the high school book would be best used after the middle school ones, or some other basic art instruction.

Supplies needed to go with book one are drawing pad, drawing pencil set range 2H to 4B, vinyl eraser, and metal handheld sharpener for the first semester of activities.

Check out the website to see samples of the pages from unit one and to see the complete contents page and art supplies needed for the full book one program.

ARTistic Pursuits at Gunn Ranch Academy

As I’ve already mentioned, my high school student requested ARTistic Pursuits for her high school art program. She even chose it over personal one-on-one instruction. She loves the format of the book, and the way it is organized.

She has always loved art and is a wonderful artist. She has had a well-rounded mixture of art instruction in the past, but this program definitely is more complete and in-depth than she has had before. It is also a jewel in our treasure box being perfectly designed to complete without additional outside instruction or resources. I don’t remember one time ever having to clarify or answer any questions my girls had while using the middle school level book. I was always amazed at the projects and activities they completed and how easy it was for me to pick up the book and see what they had been working on. (I don’t typically give letter grades before high school, but for our high school transcript find a need to be able to assign a solid grade, which is very easy to do with this program. There is a evaluation sheet near the end of the book explaining how to assign grades.)  I worked through much of the middle school book (2nd edition) with them because it was really a wonderful and stimulating program!

She already knew what to expect since she had used middle school book one (2nd edition), but  is definitely enjoying the expanded 3rd edition high school level book with new features. One of the added features is that some of the elements being discussed are now combined and explained together in more depth.  She feels the high school book is definitely much more advanced than the middle school level and her personal opinion is that a student should have some prior knowledge of art or some type of art instruction (completing the middle school levels at least) before using the high school levels or they might feel discouraged and frustrated. (I’ll discuss this in the “con’s” paragraph.)

The “pros” of this program besides being complete, independent, well organized and eye appealing  are that the student ends up with a wonderful portfolio of projects and drawings with a full scope and sequence in the given subject. I also really LOVE the art appreciation and history,  and the beautiful photos, illustrations, and biographies that are contained right in the book. It’s really a plus not to have to go elsewhere to look up or try to find a dead link on the internet or go searching in a library for additional resources. The inclusive nature of this program makes it a perfect fit for homeschooling a high schooler!

One of the “cons” of the program my daughter didn’t like was that she felt  some of the unit projects weren’t particularly relevant to the actual elements being studied in that section.

For instance, in the first unit which discusses use of space, one project was to draw a round object or face, paying attention to shading and texture, giving very little mention to space. At this point in the program, shading and texture hadn’t even been covered yet.  So for a student with no prior art instruction, this could be very discouraging and confusing, but for a more advanced art student this should be no problem.

Since she had already worked through the middle school book this was a natural progression for her. She felt the middle school book projects were much more relevant to the elements being discussed, and also that the high school level book would be best for followup of the middle school level to get the most out of the program.

My interpretation of this from my perspective is that the program is definitely meaty enough for a high school credit!

When I asked her how she felt about scheduling and time it took her for each lesson, she said personally she loves including art in her everyday schedule.  For the first four units she chose to complete a lesson daily, four days a week, with four lessons per unit.  She usually spends at least an hour per lesson.

As her year progresses, she might take some weeks off, or choose to work  lessons two or three days a week, but a student can definitely complete one lesson per study period. She says more than one lesson per study period would really be too much, and each lesson really focuses on one specific element or topic, so one lesson per study period really helps focus on that aspect of the topic better.

The suggested schedule in the book is completing two classes per week, about one hour per class for a period of 32 weeks which is a full school year.

It is stressed in the book just as my high school student also mentioned, that a full lesson should be completed with each session, because if interrupted it is difficult to pick up a lesson where you left off.

She also mentioned that with the middle school level book the projects started out easy and simple, but with the high school book the projects were much more time consuming, such as the very first lesson, which was to create an outdoor scene.  She also added that this  particular activity was relevant to the element being taught (space) in that it asked to identify active and non-active spaces.

She has really been enjoying High School Book one and I’m so thankful we have such an amazing art program as ARTistic Pursuits to enrich our high school years!

We totally recommend this program for High School Art. All of my kids will be using it for their high school art credit!

Be sure to check out my Crew Mates’ ART adventures with this and other levels of ARTistic Pursuits over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog!

Enjoy Your Journey!


*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse 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. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations*


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