This inviting, full-color book for grades one through six is divided into two parts: “Learning About the Elements of Art” and “Using the Elements of Art.” In the first part, students learn about the seven elements of art (line, shape, color, value, texture, form, and space) by creating art projects that focus on each particular element. The book gives a variety of great ideas for exploring each element, and all projects are suitable for homeschoolers. Projects use basic art supplies, such as colored pencils, markers, tempera paints, construction paper, scissors, glue, and clay–most of which I already had lying around my house. Some projects also require photocopied pages, such as when students complete their own tertiary color wheel. Each project is illustrated both in progress and completed, so students have examples to work from.
The second part of the book focuses on different artists and styles of art from a variety of cultures. Altogether, there are 24 art projects in this section. Students learn about an artist or culture and then use the elements of art that they learned about in the first part of the book to create their own artwork in a similar style. The featured artists are Klee, Mondrian, Van Gogh, Matisse, Da Vinci, Calder, Degas, Ringgold, Cezanne, Picasso, Escher, Oldenburg, O’Keefe, Warhol, and Lichtnestein. The featured cultures are Ancient Egyptians, Chinese bookmakers, Anasazi peoples, Australian Aborigines, Roman tile workers, prehistoric peoples, and Medieval architects. This section of the book is amply illustrated with student examples, both in progress and completed, but you will also need to obtain examples of each artist or culture. These are easily found in any library or on the Internet. My family enjoys the Getting to Know the World’s Famous Artists series by Mike Venezia.
Although this series is recommended for grades one through six, I think it could also be used for high schoolers if supplemented with an art history book, such as The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland. If you do art once a week, this book would easily provide two years of quality art instruction. Highly recommended!