Wednesday, May 3, 2017

ArtAchieve (Homeschool Review Crew)

ArtAchieve is a web-based curriculum that strives to help everyone believe they can draw. John Hofland, the program's creator, firmly believes drawing is a skill, not necessarily an innate talent - that anyone can hone and strengthen.  Celia has been working with Entire Level III package for this review - you may recall last summer that she completed the Level II program. (Make sure you read to the end to catch an update on those projects.) New lessons build on skills taught in prior lessons, with the goal being a student's project looks like what they intended. It's not about learning to copy the inspiration piece but learning to re-create it with individual flare.

Overall, ArtAchieve is a program is recommended for aspiring artists aged kindergarten (about age 5) to adult.  Because this is a skill-based program, if you're new to drawing, ArtAchieve recommends that you start at Level I, regardless of your age, so that you build a strong foundation for later levels.   ArtAchieve recommends the Level III program specifically for students age 9 and up because the program requires some motor and planning skills that younger students may not have the maturity for just yet.  (They offer a free sample lesson, The Czech Cat, for students to test skill level against. If you have an older/slightly experienced student, I recommend completing this project before choosing a level.)

Celia craves the arts like air: she plays two instruments, is the first chair violin in a local string orchestra, is both an actor and set builder in the school musical, and attends every after-school art club meeting she can.  When I add the fees for all of that up, my checkbook cries.  It's worth every penny, but that doesn't mean I don't cringe when I see a lot of pennies flying out every semester. One thing I love about ArtAchieve is that at only six dollars (plus materials) for an individual lesson, it's also an affordable lesson source.  However, if you purchase the entire level as a bundle, ArtAchieve will give you a 25% discount, effectively making each lesson only $4.50.  I can handle this with only a bare grimace.

However, don't let yourself be fooled by the price.  These aren't "cheap, don't expect much" lessons!  Each lesson includes about 70 minutes of drawing instruction time. We started with the first lesson, Hawaiian Frog.  Celia found that while the drawing lesson itself could be completed in an afternoon, the entire unit took closer to two weeks! ArtAchieve provides suggestions for cross-curricular content as well, making the lesson not just "draw a frog, and use color and line to make it artistic," but places the original piece in the context of its source, as well as providing additional ways to explore the topic.

Each lesson contains instructions in both video and PowerPoint formats.  Celia loves having both options.  She begins with the video, which explains not only the mechanics to draw/color her picture but also includes instruction on art theory.  For example, the Crane explores color, including the basics of complementary and analogous colors and using color in a painting.  Students are given the option to paint their pictures in colors that mimic nature or evoke emotion.  I like how ArtAchieve gives instruction in both and allows the student to personalize her work.  This is a crucial step in the development of an artist's personal style.  Realism in art is important -- the finely corded muscles of Michaelangelo's Creation in the Sistine Chapel help underscore the perfection of God's work, but there's certainly a place for the unique coloring of many of Picasso's works.

However, after watching the video (about 30 minutes), she will go back to use the PowerPoint instruction.  These provide step-by-step instruction without the frustration of trying to listen, draw/paint, and stop/start a video precisely. (She can also hit the arrow-over button with the back of a pencil or brush, limiting the potential for paint to get on the computer.  Definitely appreciated.)

If you're a full-time homeschooler that likes the Unit Study approach, you could probably do a lesson in about a week's time.   Since Celia is working on this "after homework and on weekends," it's taken her a few weeks for each lesson, especially since she wants to explore all of the "extras" in order to grow as an artist.  The lessons use different media - oil pastel, acrylic paint, watercolor, etc., and that has an effect on how long things take.  For example, her oil pastel frog itself took her about two hours, because she could go from area to area without waiting for anything to dry.  It also was small - drawn on letter-sized paper.

 However, her African Crane is currently on Day 11 since she began her line drawing exercises. She likes how the program doesn't say "OK, here's our canvas, let's go!" but instead breaks it down into smaller pieces that she can practice.

In addition, she's using an 11x16 canvas and acrylic paints for her finished piece.  She also did several test drawings on smaller paper,  working to scale parts up to a larger painting,  Now that she has begun,  the actual painting itself is taking several days. - choosing colors, layering paints, etc.

Finally, she's moving at a slow speed since her "studio" is also my dining room table.  She tends not to work on acrylics until she knows she has enough time to leave her paints out for several hours at a time, and the table has been in heavy use recently for non-painting endeavors.  However, both the program and the works being created are easy for her to stop and start working over several days' time without losing her place -- something that has frustrated her with other online art lessons.

If you're in a state that requires you to meet specific educational goals, you'll appreciate that the lessons are designed with National Coalition for Core Arts standards.   The lessons provide thorough instruction as both a fine arts course and in creating a well-rounded student.  These are the standards that the African Crowned Crane (III-lesson 2) meet:

If you have a student like Celia, looking for extra-curricular instruction, standards may not matter as much.  However, I like knowing that the program holds itself to these standards.  Whether she becomes a famous painter or just dabbles as a hobby, it's good to know that this program is laying a strong foundation.   I also like that it uses models from around the world to show that things like line, color, and indeed art, are universal.

Now, an update on Level II.  Celia worked on this last summer and took her portfolio to school last fall to show her art teacher.  She was impressed at the variety of subjects that Celia had worked with, including a Korean Wedding Duck and a Dala Horse.  (Celia has been updating her about the Level III subjects as well.)  This spring, Celia was invited to submit her Korean Wedding Duck to the school's art show, and it was chosen from show submissions to be part of a county-wide art tour.  Not bad for an "internet art program." 

She's looking forward to using Level III to broaden her portfolio for next year!

100 Crew members have been creating with ArtAchieve.  Click the banner below read their reviews.

Art Lessons Inspired From Around the World {ArtAchieve Reviews}

©2012- 2016 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover