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Genesis Art Quest Review by Linda Rose

Homeschool Middle School Edition, Ages 11-14, DVD Set
Kevin Myers
Genesis Art Quest

As a homeschool mom, I am always looking for ways to bring more art instruction into ourhomeschool. Sometimes I feel like art gets pushed to the wayside because we either don’t have the supplies on hand or I lack the skills to teach the lesson. Because of this, I am always on the lookout for DVD instruction, since going to an art class isn’t always convenient. I find the need for good quality art instruction even more important as my students enter middle and high school.

We have enjoyed viewing the Genesis Art Quest DVDs. My twelve-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-olds have all been working on these lessons. The suggested age range is from eleven through fourteen, and I really don’t feel that it is a stretch to have my fifteen-year-old participate as well. The instruction is very thorough for each lesson, and I can definitely tell that Mr. Myers has drawn from his many years of art teaching experience to be concise in his instructions but also to share helpful tips along the way for what works best. Each step is shown entirely, guiding the students to reach a decent outcome without frustration. There are several lessons focusing on drawing, which is the base for making great art. However, there is a great variety in the types of projects, too, which keeps the classes interesting.

What I really love about this series is that there are sketchbook assignments as well. Mr. Myers give excellent instructions for how to keep a sketchbook. He also gives weekly assignments, which are to be worked on between classes. He considers that you will watch one DVD lesson each week for an art class and then work on sketchbook assignments in between each class. In the beginning of the DVD, he gives details about the lessons and suggests that the sketchbook assignments are the ones that really launch the student into making good art. The suggestion is to purchase at least a 70-page sketch book. The entire list of sketchbook assignments can be found on the website. 

In total, there are 30 lessons all demonstrated and narrated on DVD. Two full semesters of art lessons then make up one complete year of art curriculum for middle-school-age students. During many of these lessons, Mr. Myers uses several famous pieces of artwork to teach these different techniques. Art history is effectively taught alongside art-making—both are important experiences for fine arts. 

Disc one includes a very thorough introduction with instructions for the sketchbook. Lessons one through five are included on the first disc. 

  • Lesson one serves as a fun and simple lesson to get the creativity started. Students create a finished picture of the Aurora Borealis using chalk pastels. This is a unique lesson which teaches students how to not only use the pastels, but also how to blend them. He gives several tips for using a fixative spray over your finished project. This project was a favorite in our house, and there were many exclamations of how cool it looked. 
  • Lesson two begins a series of fundamental drawing lessons. Lesson two focuses on one-point perspective as well as how to shade the objects that are drawn.
  • Lesson three teaches shape-to-form style of drawing, which shows how to draw a geometric shape and its 2D form, as well as how to add value-scale shading. This is a lesson that includes a handout, which can be found on the website. These two lessons were enjoyed by my 15-year-old.
  • Lesson four is the lesson where students begin to apply their knowledge from the previous two lessons. The artist Georgia O’Keefe is introduced, and students learn how to use charcoal. Mr. Myers gives excellent instruction at the beginning of this lesson about charcoal and how messy it can be. He encourages kids not to be discouraged with the mess, but that practice is necessary to learning. The students use their skills learned to create a charcoal drawing of a still life of three objects.
  • Lesson five: Mr. Myers considered this lesson as a test for the unit of drawing which they have been working in. The students choose a jar as a still life and then draw it. The students are encouraged to do the best they can and to capture as much detail as they can. He even shows student work, which was inspiring for all of us.

Disc two includes lessons six through twelve. 

  • Lesson six has students using pen and ink with watercolor to create a fall trees pictures. This is a lengthy assignment, but the results are pretty cool. I really like how he showed us how to draw the tree, totally opposite from the trunk and big bush I used to draw when I was a kid. 
  • Lesson seven begins with some Op-Art for the art history portion. The images he shares on the screen are truly dizzying! The basic principles of design taught in this lesson are movement and repetition along with the elements of shape, space, design, and value. I personally enjoy the simplicity of this lesson but also the thorough instruction so that every student will be successful. Mr. Myers really helps the students understand the project and gives extra tips during the lesson so they won’t be frustrated with their final results. 
  • Lesson eight: Repetition design is the art principle taught as students look at several examples of famous pieces of art. Mr. Myers asks leading questions and guides the students in a discussion. Students use markers and a ruler to create an artwork based on repetition. This is another cool and simple project. At one point, the teacher makes a minor mistake, and I love how he talks the students through fixing that mistake. He emphasizes that there is no such thing as a mistake in something like this. 
  • Lesson nine teaches how to make custom crayon rubbing. This is a stand-alone art project. The principles of design are still taught, but this lesson isn’t related to the previous lessons. Mr. Myers discusses types of visual texture at the beginning of the lesson. This is a lesson that, as a former art teacher, I could totally see students getting hung up on. I really appreciate the tips given in this lesson as well as the suggestions for where to find textures for their crayon rubbings. This lesson is followed by a bonus extension idea which includes reasons for doing crayon rubbings. This helps students translate tactile texture into visual texture as they use their texture collection to create a picture.
  • Lesson ten teaches students six ways to show depth in pictures. The instructor talks about how artists “trick” people into seeing depth in their artworks. Renaissance art work by Pieter Bruegel is shown and discussed. Famous artwork is used to show how depth is created by artists. Students then create a Bible illustration using these secrets that they have learned. 
  • Lesson eleven discusses the modern period of art and uses this discussion to show motion in art. This art project is quite unique and uses some of the same techniques used in lesson seven. He shows examples of good art selections and poor art choices and thoroughly discusses each one. 
  • Lesson twelve focuses on mosaics. These are projects that I usually shy away from with my kids because of the time involved, but the results of this project are pretty amazing with the focus on images from a historical perspective. The vocabulary in this lesson is rich and the images fascinating for any student who loves history. There is definitely a time commitment involved in this project, and I appreciate that Mr. Myers suggests using a smaller size of paper for the base of the project. 

Disc three holds lessons thirteen through sixteen with lesson fifteen being the final project of the semester and lesson sixteen being a bonus project. 

  • Lesson thirteen focuses on sculpture. After many lessons on two-dimensional design and paper, students can look forward to something totally different. They will create a three-dimensional unique sculpture. Different kinds of sculpture are discussed, and then students are able to dive right into the fun of making sculpture! Safety rules and parental permission is given before starting the work of the project. 
  • Lesson fourteen is another stand-alone lesson that combines two pictures into one using an accordion fold. Although this seems like a relatively simple lesson, the students still need to take their time in order to be successful.
  • Lesson fifteen is the final project for the semester using four-part mixed media. Students will demonstrate some of the art principles and elements they have learned in the semester. This project could be presented as a gift because it is such a nice finished project. While this is a complicated project, you will be amazed at what the students are able to accomplish after this first semester of thorough art instruction. This is definitely a longer lesson, so students should take their time for best results.
  • Lesson sixteen contains a bonus lesson for the students. This is a fun lesson that teaches them macramé.

Disc four dives into the second semester with lessons one through eight. The second semester has an expanded drawing unit, teaches some color theory, shows some quick and easy projects, and encourages students to continue with the sketchbook homework. 

  • Lesson one of this second semester focuses on contour lines showing the outlines of objects. Students practice making a blind contour drawing—no peeking at the paper while drawing!
  • Lesson two continues the contouring lessons with pure and simple contours. The students will turn the contour lines into a drawing. The student works that are shared are inspiring and show how different students translated this assignment using repetition and patterns.
  • Lesson three is a follow-up drawing project related to contour drawing using the student’s own hand for the complex contour drawing using pen and ink. Students are encouraged to first practice a blind contour drawing before the final project is started. Simple copy paper is used for this lesson for a couple of reasons but mainly because it helps the ink not to bleed when using copy paper.
  • Lesson four is another part of the extended drawing unit using an upside-down drawing technique. This type of drawing forces students to use both hemispheres of their brain in art. Some images are shown upside down in this lesson and then right side up to prove to the students that they were only using one side of their brain to identify the picture. Students then copy a famous drawing using the upside-down drawing technique.
  • Lesson five introduces two-point perspective in a similar fashion as in the first semester. Two vanishing points and a linear perspective are practiced to create the illusion of three-dimensional drawing. As in the first semester, shading is also shown of each of the shapes created.
  • Lesson six continues where lesson five left off with students creating a two-point perspective city. This is a lesson that I would encourage my students to follow along with the teacher and pause the disc as necessary. The results of this drawing are pretty amazing.
  • Lesson seven explores line metamorphosis—lines that travel across the paper as they change into different objects. This is the final lesson in the expanded drawing unit.
  • Lesson eight explores tinfoil tooling as a decorative art work. Mr. Myers shares examples from history of some relief-type art works that are made of bronze and then tooled to create the images. 18-gauge aluminum foil and a dull pencil or foiling tool are needed for this project. An antiquing effect is applied. 

Disc five concludes the second semester with lessons nine through fourteen. This disc also includes a discussion of the sketchbook. 

  • Lesson nine explores design systems through the making of a collage. Design systems are a way of cataloging patterns either God made or manmade. The students create a unique collage using these design patterns. 
  • Lesson ten continues working with pen and ink using a line design with pattern as the main principle of design. Graphic examples by other artists are shared. Throughout this art course, I really appreciate the variety of artists and art works that are shared. It really exposes the students to great variety and gives them a broad scope of art history.
  • Lesson eleven deals with positive and negative space. Students review the elements of color, shape, and balance as they view famous paintings. They dive right into the art-making by choosing two contrasting colors of paper. A craft knife and cutting board are used to create a really neat image demonstrating positive and negative space. 
  • Lesson twelve is a design project using warm and cool colors with chalk pastels. Primary and secondary colors are discussed as well. Students use the pastels to blend cool colors or warm colors to show dimensions of shapes and how warm and cool colors work with each other.
  • Lesson thirteen teaches color theory using simultaneous contrast. The lesson begins with a thorough discussion of the color wheel. Students create a painting demonstrating their knowledge of the color wheel using the color theory principles.
  • Lesson fourteen is the final lesson in the series, and a fun one. A handout is available on the website with 99 different items listed. Students will use a homemade spinner from a previous lesson (dice could be used as an alternative). Using the spinner or dice, students will combine two objects in a creative or unusual way. I love how this activity can really become so engaging as students are encouraged to really think outside the box of what is normal before completing their drawing. He shares some really clever student examples at the end of the lesson. 

If you have a high school student without much art experience, I think they could use this curriculum for a fine arts credit, which is what I am having two of my high school girls do. They will complete one art lesson per week right along with my middle school son, but they will be required to spend quality time on each project and really master the sketchbook assignments as well. The instructor does not talk down to the students and treats them with respect, which is one of the reasons why I feel comfortable using this series for high-school-age students. Throughout the course, students create very sophisticated art projects that go beyond just the basics.  

Students use real art materials in these lessons that are not hard to obtain. If your art cabinet is not well stocked, then you do need to stay on top of getting the supplies. Local craft stores most likely carry many of these art-making supplies, or they can also be ordered online. The supply list is included at the end of each lesson on the DVD. The same information is also available on the website.  

These lessons are taught from a Christian perspective. Some lessons are stand-alone while others build on each other. For example, the first lesson is a stand-alone project using soft pastels. Lesson two begins a series of drawing lessons that build on each other. I don’t suggest skipping around. We have found there is just enough variety included to keep the lessons interesting. 

Your student can either work right along with Mr. Myers, pausing the DVD as needed to work on the project. Another option is to watch the entire lesson and create the art at your own pace after viewing the lesson. Each lesson varies in length, so there isn’t a set amount of time per lesson. I like to allow my students lots of time for art making, and I don’t like to interrupt the process. Our designated art times are usually at the end of the day, so if they want to spend longer on the assignment, they don’t feel rushed. 

Genesis Art Quest DVDs can be purchased for $65.00 on Amazon.

-Product review by Linda Rose, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2017