We are so blessed as reviewers to be able to express how interested we are in a curriculum before we review it, and I have to admit I practically begged for this one! The Monthly Plan from Creating a Masterpiece is providing my three artistic daughters with some excellent art instruction and is allowing Lillie to add to her portfolio for her Level Two Diploma in Art and Design.
What is Creating a Masterpiece?
Creating a Masterpiece is like no other art curriculum I have ever seen or used before. Emphasis is placed on the learner creating fine art, something they can be proud of, in addition to skills which can be transferred to other pieces of work.
I want to encourage them to take pride in their work and help them feel like a real artist, instead of doing simplistic crafts. (Sharon Hofer)
The course is divided up into levels from beginner to level 5, and also includes an additional Art in History level. Each level contains a good mixture of the following types of art:
- acrylic painting
- soft pastels
- oil pastels
- block printing
- silk dyeing
- Bombay ink
- colored pencil
- glass mosaic
- balsa carving
The beginning level can be used with children age 4 upwards, which seems astounding when you look at the end results, but I can testify that Sharon is so good at what she does and explains things in such a simple way that my six and eight year old were able to follow her instructions and produce some really excellent work.
What Does Each Lesson Include?
This is such a well thought out course, and as such I thought I would walk you through the first project we did. I began at the beginner’s Level for my two younger girls. They had many projects from which to choose:
We chose the water-colour, Floral Medley, which was a great go along to the girls’ studies of Japan.
There is a quick introduction before being taken to the actual lessons:
Each lesson contains a simple and downloadable supply list:
As well as a tips and potential problems sheet:
There are downloads available with each set of lessons, in this case, a high-resolution image of the final picture, a supplies list and a link to a shop which can supply them all for you. Sharon often gives advice over the quality of items you should buy. With the water colours it was important they were of high quality, however the oil pastels needed for a later project did not need to be of such good quality:
Also included are follow-up pictures that students have created after following the lessons:
Sharon does not just want you to simply be able to replicate the picture shown, but also to create further paintings using the skills you have learnt in the lessons provided.
The lessons themselves are high quality recorded videos of Sharon teaching:
This shot tells the user how many lessons there are to complete the project, in this case three. Sharon is very affable, reassuring and encouraging. She explains techniques with the ease of someone who has been teaching for many years:
My younger girls took to her immediately and enthusiastically began their painting. They enjoyed it immensely and did not want to wait for each stage to dry before continuing. Needless to say, we finished this project in one day! The girls were over the moon with the results:
Another project the little ones did was a soft pastel picture. Again, this was chosen to go alongside our Japan studies, as one of our books talks about these birds. This was the girls first try at soft pastels and they loved it so much:
And we were all blown away by the results:
Meanwhile my eldest daughter, who practically does some sort of creating all. day. long. chose to draw the stork in charcoal. She has been exploring charcoal in her diploma work, and was really pleased to find such excellent teaching in its use:
Again, she was bowled over by the result, and happily included it in her diploma portfolio:
Lillie has also been exploring home-made ink, made from charcoal dust. We spotted the Cardinal in Ink project, which she decided to try out, using her home-made ink. It was another success!
It was a rather crude ink to use, yet the end product was very pleasing.
What Did We Think of Creating a Masterpiece?
As you can probably tell, we LOVED this curriculum! In fact, Lillie kept saying to me that I had to emphasise just how good she thought it was. The faith Sharon has in both her teaching and her students is astounding, but it is this faith which allows for the creation of end results which are almost miraculous. My then five-year old adores anything artistic and I expected her to enjoy these videos. She is also perfectionist extraordinaire, and is rarely satisfied by anything she does, and yet even her pictures satisfied her rather exacting standard 🙂
There were a couple of really small points which I think would have improved it for us as users:
- Sharon provides a copy of the final piece which you can print out and use as guidance. My own thoughts are that I would have rather the child work from an original photograph. Whilst this may not have been possible for all the projects, I do think, for example, the Lesson in Value: Sunflower drawing could have included the photo of the actual sunflower from which Sharon was working as well as Sharon’s final drawing. I personally think it is better for a student to work from the same picture Sharon is teaching from as it would maybe bring more authenticity to the child’s own picture.
- I would have liked to have seen more lessons which use a subject matter more relate-able for younger students. They wouldn’t need to be ‘refrigerator art‘, but maybe a still life of a teddy bear or baby doll would be more relate-able than a landscape and yet still produce art to a high level.
Even taking those last (tiny) points into consideration, Sharon has created a course which is perfect for homeschoolers, especially those who are a bit more serious about their art. The student can learn to use ‘proper’ and good quality art supplies and create very professional pictures, learning techniques which can be applied to their own art work in the future.
I just need to reiterate (because I promised Lillie I would): Lillie thinks this is one of the best art courses she has ever used. She seriously loved it!
Connect with Creating a Masterpiece
Do pop over to see what the rest of the review crew thought by clicking on the picture below: