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Art Projects with Master Artist Pat Knepley Review by Christy Bagasao

Pat Knepley
See the Light ~ Drawing Children to Him

Art has long been a part of my family’s life to the point that our second daughter is a professional portrait artist. In the early days of homeschooling our family (our oldest is 21), there wasn’t much available for curricula, much less electives. My children’s talentless mother (that would be me) taught them art from whatever learn-to-draw books she (as in I) could find. While our system worked, what fun it would have been to replace my feeble attempts with those of someone more professional. That explains our enthusiasm in using the combined art skills and art history curriculum Art Projects with Master Artist Pat Knepley, of the See the Light art curriculum company.

The Instructor

Pat Knepley has a degree in art education. She also has a teaching credential and has taught art on both ends of the country, Pennsylvania and California. She is currently an art teacher in the greater LA area. As a master artist for See the Light, she is instrumental in fulfilling the company mission, “drawing children to Him.” I love a good mission statement...and a good pun. You did catch the pun, didn’t you?

Mrs. Knepley has a calmly enthusiastic teaching style. (Can you be both calm and enthusiastic? Yes. Yes, you can.) She maintains the students’ interest while gently offering a wealth of information over the course of each project.

We are often afraid of the occasional truth in the expression, “Those who can’t, teach.” Therefore, we were very pleased to see some of Mrs. Knepley’s own artwork displayed on the videos. It gave us more confidence that she knew what she was talking about. Even our pro artist was pleased to see her work.

The Collection and Lessons

Art Projects is one of currently two sets of educational art DVDs featuring Pat Knepley available through See the Light. The other is Art Class. (There is also a Biblical art class available.) Art Projects includes nine DVDs. Each DVD is broken into four lessons, totaling 36 lessons altogether. That’s enough for a 36-week school year with about an hour of work a week at a current price of $99.99. Of course, some kids, like mine, want to whip through them in a month...or two weeks. Ahem.

Each DVD includes instruction on art history, art elements, and art principles. The history section introduces the student to a style of art and a famous artist, including such greats as Degas (a family favorite), Rousseau, Van Gogh, and six more, as seen below. The history lessons are intertwined throughout the classes. The art elements section breaks the artwork down into the very basics, focusing on shape, space, form, value, color, and other important points crucial for proper understanding of artwork. These are also intermixed throughout the lessons. The art principles are more varied for each project as the child is taught such skills as layering, mixed media, scale, perspectives, motif, and words that were totally new to me, like pointillism.

Below is listed the artist your students will study as well as the project and basic media used in each DVD:

  • Impressionist Edgar Degas: draw a horse with chalk pastels
  • Pop artist Wayne Thiebaud: paint sweets with water colors
  • Naive French artist Henri Rousseau: construct a jungle collage
  • Impressionist George Seurat: paint a classic fruit still life in acrylic
  • Surrealist Russian Marc Chagall: painting wet-on-wet in acrylic or tempera
  • French artist Louis Comfort Tiffany: draw a Tiffany window in ink
  • Realist American Winslow Homer: paint and draw a mixed media water scene
  • Post-Impressionist Vincent Van Gogh: draw sunflowers with oil pastels
  • American Georgia O’Keeffe: create an abstract art flower with tissue paper collage

The concepts and historical lessons circle around a few times over the course of each DVD, which offers a natural review while further building on the subjects. The instructor uses professional pieces from the greats, either available on her easel in her studio, or as a screen shot. She also uses images from history, such as pictures of the artists or other relevant historical content. The entire lesson takes place in the studio--the background is a non-distracting black. There is an easel and a table. That is all.

The instructor sits at the table and guides the student through the project, doing her own project simultaneously. The finished project and a classic sample are also available on the easel.


Each video is under two hours. Each is also broken into four lessons, roughly half an hour of video time for each lesson. You should figure roughly an hour per lesson for learning and doing. As with all children, yours may be the kind that stretches a one-hour art project into a weekend. With this course, however, you generally work roughly at the speed of the video. The student does the project right along with Mrs. Knepley. For my ten-year-old. that meant a lot of pausing, stretching a 30-ish minute video into well over an hour. For my older children, it meant pretty much a thirty-ish minute video on many sessions.

The timing is kind of a fun issue to deal with. On one hand, you might have a child who goes at the teacher’s speed whether or not that is doable for that particular child. That child may need to be encouraged to slow down, pause the lesson, do her best work. On the other hand, you’ll have some kids who will reeeeaaaallystreeeeeeeetch that project out and do their absolute greatest work ever. That’s great, but letting the project go until the end of time will come back to bite your child in the end. Even in the independent art world, my professional artist daughter will tell you, there are deadlines. The program does help a child stay within certain time parameters if you keep each lesson at about an hour, teaching the crucial balance of time versus output and when done is done—all tough lessons for the creatively inclined.

It’s also a bit of a challenge when you have the slower children working alongside the quicker children during the video. There were times when some people had to wait and others needed to simply forge ahead to the next step when they weren’t quite ready. There is always time at the end to finish up. Plus, this is the balance of teaching multiple children that we have to juggle anyway.


The materials required vary for each lesson and are listed online, on the DVD cases for each lesson, and during the lesson itself. So far, they are readily available at Walmart and definitely at Michaels or Amazon. No need to dig out the Dick Blick catalog, but if you want or already have the higher end professional supplies, they are excellent options as well. Just don’t think you have to break the bank to use this curriculum. In other words, don’t let the availability or lack thereof, of certain supplies stop you from pursuing the lessons encased in each video. While the proper tools are preferred, we also used our famous “close enough” technique when we had similar, but not the exact, supplies on hand. The lessons are still learned even if the end result isn’t exact.

We had many of the supplies on hand but did find ourselves running to Walmart to grab a few items. No worries--if you have a creative family, they won’t go to waste. Because each project is broken into four lessons intended to last four weeks, there are quite a few “leftover” days in the month to make good use of those materials on whatever project pops into their (or your) heads. Money well spent! Of course, my kids want to rush from one project to the next, but at least the supplies are there for if and when we ever get back on a “normal” weekly art class schedule. Actually, some of my children who were otherwise occupied during some lessons are interested in going back and doing the classes themselves, and others want to try again a second time. Materials not wasted.


Age and Parental Involvement

This curriculum is intended for children 10 and up. While younger children can (and in our case do) participate, the older children can work more independently and retain more of the lessons. They can also understand the spatial issues better, simply because of their increased brain development. Most of our participants were ten and above, but we did have a six-year-old involved. Her results were quite nice, although mostly she and I worked together to help her keep up and get through the harder parts (like drawing) without frustration. I have since been pleased to see her make use of techniques learned in class, such as perspective for example, on her own art projects. I even heard her explain to Daddy why she painted some items the way she did. She doesn’t remember the terms, but the concepts are there. Score!

The program was not a ton of work for me. My kids were primarily responsible for digging up their own art supplies. If something was missing, I would help them find a suitable replacement or occasionally go buy something else. My other job was to make sure the “I want to participate” three-year-old kept his art on the table and not on the furniture. Apart from that, the grownup in the situation is more than welcome to join in but is perfectly able to be in the next room making cookies. I felt that sometimes the younger set leaned too much on me if I was there, rather than completely focusing on the instructor’s work. When I wasn’t there, they had to listen better and figure it out. Honestly, though, I enjoyed doing the lessons with my children. It’s really kind of embarrassing how into it I was!



Many of the classes refer to concepts taught in the other DVD series Art Class. We haven’t seen the videos from the first class, so we don’t know what or if we’re missing anything. I imagine they would dig more deeply into the art concepts and principles, rather than applying those principles to the current project. That would be very valuable, and we would enjoy a little deeper information on those. My pro artist mentioned that a bit. Take note, however, that the other course is called Art Class, while this course is called Art Projects, so it makes sense that the concepts would be taught more in-depth in the other course. Still, even without the deeper instruction from the other course, we are enjoying our art lessons and learning history and art concepts along the way.


Religious Content

This shouldn’t be a surprise, since the company is called “See the Light: Drawing Children to Him.” This is definitely a Christian course. Thankfully, there isn’t any cheesy Christianese, however. Periodically Jan segues quite naturally into a short, natural discussion about God. Her Bible rests on the table, but I didn’t realize it was a Bible until she opened it up and briefly spoke about God during one of the lessons. May I mention once more how naturally the discussion fits? It’s very natural--have I mentioned that?

If you are not a Christian, you can still benefit immensely from the course. It has total merit even without the Christian content, but the faith aspect does enhance it in my honest and openly Christian opinion.


The Results

I was quite impressed with the results of our art projects. While the instructor did teach art projects, we also learned various concepts that we could and have applied to other art projects. I heard my pro artist daughter giving art advice to a younger sibling and was pleased to hear the same advice repeated on the DVDs.

I have one daughter who wouldn’t stop talking throughout the process about how ugly her pieces were or saying, “Yours is better.” I finally got her to stop by 1) telling her to stop judging an unfinished piece, 2) explaining that everybody’s piece looks different, not better or worse, than everybody else’s, 3) explaining that art is a learning process that requires practice, and 4) completing a project myself to the best of my ability that really didn’t look as good as my child’s. I think number four was the clincher there.

If you also have a “never good enough” student, this will please you. The sample that is posted on the easel, as well as the work the instructor is doing, is achievable. While some of you (at least my pro artist daughter) might prefer to see a more professional final result, I was more excited to see that I could almost achieve what I set out to achieve.

I pretty much have the artistic talent of an inebriated squirrel, yet I heard this comment from one of my teens after checking out my impressionist horse: “That’s a better horse than I’ve ever drawn!” My students were overall quite pleased with their end results as well! I was happy with the skills they learned in the process and pleased to see those skills pop up in other work they did for fun without my involvement (apart from “Don’t get that on your clothes! It won’t wash off!” I’m super supportive.).

While our professional artist daughter commented that she would do certain things a different way than Mrs. Knepley, I don’t see that as a detriment, but rather an alternative. She also wanted there to be more taught in each lesson, but personally, my crew of budding (as opposed to professional) artists did well with the amount that was taught in each lesson--precept upon precept. Some of them would have been overwhelmed by more. (Again, for deeper concept work, I believe Art Class is the answer at the same price.) And the fact that my kids are asking every day to do more projects or to repeat a lesson means the program is enjoyable as well as effective, all while “drawing children to Him.” Twenty thumbs up from the ten of us!

-Product review by Christy Bagasao, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2018