Discovering Great Artists

Discovering Great Artists Review @harmonyfinearts

Here is a review of a book that I have been using for quite some time now.

Discovering Great Artists by MaryAnn F. Kohl and Kim Solga can be seen around the homeschooling world quite a bit and I know a lot of different programs recommend it for a study of great artists. Here’s some pros and cons:

Things I Like About Discovering Great Artists

* The chart in the front shows the artist’s name, style, dates of lifetime, list of corresponding activities, and the level of difficulty
*Most activities give an example of a finished product
*Most materials we have on hand
*I love chapter 5 with examples of games and activities (Masters Scrapbook page 111 is a fabulous idea)

Things I Don’t Like About Discovering Great Artists
*I would have liked a list for each artist giving their major works so we could easily look them up. (See note below for a suggestion.)
*I wish the prints included in the book were in color for the children to look at and study

This book could easily be the basis for a whole year’s worth of art projects. They recommend the book for ages 4-12 but I would recommend it for ages 8-14. The art activities and the projects listed in the back will keep you busy.

Update: I just did a quick search of the Bright Ideas For Learning website (publishers of the book) and they now have a page that links to each of the artist’s work! Click the link above to check it out! They also have art activity cards that you can print out from their website. These cards can be printed in color and they include an artist’s print, short biography of the artist, and an additional art activity.

This book would be a great inexpensive choice for starting out on your journey to get to know artists while having some fun activities to try.

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Classical Music Start-Up Kit-Review

Classical Music Start Up Kit from Naxos @harmonyfinearts

Updated: 8/6/09
You may be interested in reading an updated review that I wrote for Curriculum Choice:
Classical Music Start-Up Kit

I have been listening to classical music for quite some time but I have many friends that say that it is not their cup of tea so they don’t expose themselves or their children to the variety and sound of classical music. It sometimes takes a few times through a particular composer to get the feel for his music.

I found the perfect CD set to introduce your family to the general overview of classical music. It is called The Classical Music Start-Up Kit volumes one and two. The first CD covers the years 1500-1825 and the second volume covers 1825-1945.

They call it a kit but really it is just a CD with a booklet “instruction manual”. You can just listen and enjoy the selections or you can pull out the booklet and read about the composer, the time period, and the music itself. I had my boys listen to the CD several times and then we went back and read a bit about what we were listening to after they had some exposure to the music.

We listen to the music in the car while we are driving to our appointments or classes. I put the music on when they are working on art projects. I listen to the music during the day while I work on the computer. You would be surprised at how many times you can find to listen to one or two of the selections each day.

You can click the link to below and there you can actually listen to samples of the music from each CD. I highly recommend these CDs as a reasonably priced introduction to classical music.

Please note these CDs are used in the Harmony Fine Arts High School Music Appreciation plans.

Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad

Draw Squad @harmonyfinearts

Learning to draw can be an adventure. For my boys it has always been about making things look real…at least since about age 8. The want realistic cars, planes, houses, animals. They want results!

I was introduced to Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad many years ago when my oldest son, now 18, wanted to learn to draw in 3-D. Take a look at his website and get a feel for how he teaches drawing. There are many art lessons for free to have your child give a try. If you are in an area where he is teaching a summer art camp, I highly recommend them. My two sons attending two summers ago and they had a blast and so did everyone else that attended. Mark Kistler is very entertaining and has a lot to offer children of all ages. He encouraged the parents to stay and draw with their children and I enjoyed the chance to play with 3-D.

I would highly recommend Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad to anyone interested in a fun and easy way to learn step-by-step how to learn to draw in 3-D. He also teaches all the common art elements such as shadow, shading, and density.

A’s Drawing with 3-D
B’s Drawing with 3-D
Mom’s Drawing in 3-D

Drawing and sketching are such important skills for everyone. It is never too late to give it a try. I took my first drawing class at age 39 and I regret not doing it sooner. Your children will use these skills for the rest of their lives. I found with my children that at around age 8 or 9 they wanted to draw things more realistically. I think this book helped them to get past stick figure drawing and sparked their interest in learning to draw even better.

If you have any doubt about the influence of Mark Kistler’s books on a young artist, you need to just look at these drawings my son made last week when he was down with the flu.

How about this one?

We have been through Kistler’s book Draw Squad several times and it has greatly increased our family’s ability to see in things and then draw them. My son enjoys creating his own little worlds with his drawings and there is always plenty of humor.
Note: There are affiliate links in this post.

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