You Can Paint Pastels-Book Review

You Can Paint Pastels Video Tutorial @harmonyfinearts

I am always on the look out for good beginner’s art books and I found a gem this week. We are using oil pastels along with Artistic Pursuits Jr. High Level 2 this year. I needed a bit more direction than the book offered so I was hunting for something to use with my boys. I found You Can Paint Pastels.

Edit to add: This book is not available new on Amazon.com but there are lots of reasonably priced used copies for you to order. I think this book is worth finding used and using in your family.

You Can Paint Pastels

This post contains affiliate links.

I highly recommend You Can Paint Pastels by Marie Blake. It shows you step by step how to use this medium and it is simple to follow. My 11 year old son worked on the still life project this morning and had awesome results. I think for moms who are looking for help with their nature journals and how to actually draw realistic things in your journals, this will be a terrific help.

Contents include:
Basic materials
Color mixing
Foreground and distance
Light, shade, and shape
Exploring plants
Still Life
Trees
Skies
Landscape
Animals and people
Water

Here is a short video I made on how to use oil pastels for beginners: Oil Pastel Demonstration- Beginners.

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.

This post contains affiliate links.

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 Amazon.com 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.

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