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Art Video Productions Review by Kate Kessler

Frederick Remington: A Real Man Artist
Art Video Productions
(800) 437-1066
2308 Crown Point Court
Oxnard, California 93030

Frederick Remington: A Real Man Artist and Rembrandt Van Rijn: Painter & Printmaker, from Art Video Productions, are worthwhile introductions to the lives and works of these great artists. The Fredrick Remington video comes with a sixteen-page instructor's guide that explains how best to present the accompanying video lessons. This guide includes helpful background information for the teacher, learning objectives, vocabulary words, discussion questions, a timeline, and a list of necessary materials you will need in order to do the art lessons.

Frederick Remington's video begins with a twenty-minute, narrated slideshow of his life and works. The narrator, author Carolyn Lebo, has a pleasing voice and the information is interesting and well presented, including many historical photographs and works of art. Three art lessons follow this segment where students can design a pair of cowboy boots, draw and sculpt a horse's head, and make a western poster. The cowboy boot lesson teaches students how to use markers to create a line design. The second lesson starts with drawing a horse's head, followed by sculpting the head. This lesson demonstrates how to observe shapes while working with clay. The author argues that the final poster lesson is "the most important art lesson for children" because it is so useful in every area of their education. Planning, creating focus, and lettering are some of the skills students will acquire during this lesson. Parents will need to provide some basic art supplies: paper, ruler, markers, pencil, eraser, scissors, clay, garlic press (for horse hair), poster board, Western magazines, glue, and stencils or stickers (optional, for lettering).

Rembrandt Van Rijn's video comes with a ten-page instructor's guide offering the same helpful teacher information as the Remington guide. I also appreciated the Interdisciplinary Connections offered that related the study of Rembrandt's art to his place in time, printmaking, and additional art suggestions. His video begins the same way with various works of art as well as a nicely detailed and interesting history of Rembrandt, his life, his specialties, and his success. While I was somewhat disappointed with the slightly grainy quality of the VHS tape, and wished that some of the paintings were close-up with more detail, the variety of works shown outweighed any negative to me. I could not have provided all that was in the tape on my own without a huge amount of work and many library books! All of his different styles of painting, printing, drawing, and etching were shown with great variety and I really appreciated this.

Following the generous instruction on Rembrandt's life we are introduced to the three art lessons. Art Lesson 1 shows the children how to create the special light that Rembrandt was so famous for. Students learn the importance of light in art and what a difference it makes to artwork when done well. Art Lesson 2 teaches how to draw a group portrait in an interesting manner to create a mood or feeling rather than a simple line of people. Art Lesson 3 is all about understanding the etching process. All of these projects are worthwhile and creative and children enjoy the hands-on aspect immensely. In reality, it is much more than three art lessons as promised on the tape. The art history portion was comprehensive and definitely enough to really understand Rembrandt and his importance to the art world.

We were very impressed with this product. Our children love video teachers because, unlike us sometimes, they are infinitely patient and will repeat themselves as many times as needed. As Mrs. Lebo does each art project, she describes the process, and full instructions are included in the instructor's guide as well. Many wonderful examples of student work inspire creativity and show students that there is not one right way to do art. Art Video Productions has unit studies for many artists and you can see them at

-Product Review by: Heather Jackowitz and Kate Kessler, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine