Fun Art Instruction Videos ~ See The Light #review
Want to get the entire family involved in an art project? Even better, want it to be educational, but actually DO-able for everyone? Then oh, boy, do I have a recommendation for you!
We recently had the absolute pleasure of painting (and making a mess) along with master artist Pat Knepley in Dreams of Joseph, an art project DVD from See The Light. Dreams of Joseph highlights the work of Russian artist Marc Chagall, discussing the styles of surrealism, symoblism, and fauvism. The color and shape elements of art discussed, along with the principles of movement, balance, and wet-on-wet painting.
Materials needed for Dreams of Joseph are fairly basic, and include:
- a 12″ x 16″ piece of white or manilla bristol board or poster board (we actually used foam board from the dollar store, cut into 15″ x 20″ pieces – it worked quite well for us – just be caution how wet you get it, or the foam board may warp)
- craft or tempera paint, in the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, and brown (we got this cheap, in matte, not glossy, for just $0.57 a bottle at our local discount store)
- several wax-coated white paper plates (again, we modified – we have a few palettes, so we used those, plus some paper plates – a little less running paint that way)
- a variety of paintbrushes, from 1/2″ flat to very small round (we discovered that if we’re all painting together, we could *really* use more paintbrushes than we have, but it worked – if you’re buying some, go for the mid-price level if possible – aka, the nicer kid ones on up. The really cheap brushes like come in watercolor paints might be *really* irritating by the time you’re done, while you’ll appreciate a slightly better quality brush.)
- newspapers, an old tablecloth, or something to protect the table (be wary of newsprint; it likes to come off onto hands and the board you’re painting on)
- a bowl of water or sink nearby for rinsing and washing brushes
- paper towels – for cleaning and drying brushes (these are a must, in my opinion)
- Also recommended were a #2 pencil and a white or grey kneaded eraser – I’m not sure what these were for, because we didn’t use them, and I don’t recall Ms. Knepley even mentioning an eraser. As for the pencil, she specifically said in the video that we weren’t going to use one!
There are four lessons for Dreams of Joseph, intended to be spaced far enough apart that the paint has time to dry between lessons. The first leads the student through constructing a simple black outline for the objects in the painting, while retelling the beginning of the tale of Joseph’s coat of many colors. The purpose of the project is to depict those dreams, with symbolism, and Ms. Knepley explains in a clear and understandable way just how those dream elements can be incorporated into the painting.
In the second lesson, students will color the background, using colors both as-is from the bottle, and some blending of colors for shading in portions of the background. Students are repeatedly encouraged not to worry too much about accidentally painting over the black lines; they’ll be touched up in the last lesson.
During the third lesson, we continued with color, finally painting Joseph’s robe, and adding in other color details that we might have missed. Ms. Knepley reminds us that the coat is embellished and bright, an physical representation of Jacob’s love for Joseph.
In lesson four, we finish up our painting, touching up the black lines, adding detail to Joseph’s elaborate coat, and generally tidying up any area that we felt needed it. We were quite surprised as we finished up – even for the desperately not arty (me, Mom) – the paintings actually turned out pretty good. I have no idea how on earth that happened, in my case, but I think it goes to show that Ms. Knepley did a fine job teaching the lesson, if even I can get something appealing out of it!
It was clear the kids had fun painting, both as a group and in response to the video instruction. We moved the table right on into the living room and sat in front of the TV as we painted; though she said we could watch the lesson, then paint, if needed, we felt much more comfortable painting as we watched, with liberal use of the pause and rewind button. My biggest frustration was trying to take pictures at the same time we were watching and painting – it takes a little bit of effort to manage that, what with not getting paint on the camera and all.
Based on this video from See The Light, I’d have to recommend this art series. Ms. Knepley does a fine job incorporating a bible story, art history and instruction into the same project, in a balanced, educational manner. Her commentary and explanations fit well into the scope of the project, and felt like a natural extension to be included – it just seems right that she continues to describe the style and symbolism as we painted.
Though in some parts (especially the black line painting in the first lesson) it seemed like she moved a little fast, there was good reason for this: she wants the painter to put the lines down on paper, not studying them, erasing and moving and perfecting them. It’s good practice for simple DOING, rather then over-analyzing – something that non-artists are prone to do, especially when they don’t want to “mess up” the clean white media they’re working with. Encouraging us to just start (which was hard mentally, without lines to follow) in the paint, by beginning with an oval for the head, and simple lines at the beginning, it took the focus off of perfectionism and put it on the painting as a process, where we could repeatedly paint over the same areas if we desired.
Dreams of Joseph is intended for ages 10 and up; younger students might not have fine motor control – or patience – for this painting project, but if your younger children are interested, go right ahead and have them join in. The paints used are standard craft paints, which are machine washable, making for relatively easy cleanup. (In fact, cleanup is so easy that the parent might as well join in; can you guess which project is mine?)
Cartooning (ages 5+)
God’s Special Surprise (ages 6+)
Shipwrecked (ages 6+)
God’s Runaway (ages 6+)
Tiffany Window (ages 10+)
Repeated Sweets (ages 10+)
Paper Jungle (ages 10+)
Pointillism Fruit (ages 10+)
Poppy Collage (ages 10+)
The art projects and bible stories from See The Light may be purchased individually for $14.99, or as a bundle with all of them for $99.99.