Sculpture Technique–Model–Artistic Pursuits–a Review

ARTistic Pursuits Review

Such a thrill to continue our Art Curriculum through High School with ARTistic Pursuits using Sculpture Technique: Model. For those of you who have been around Petra School for a while – you’ll know we’ve enjoyed five books through Middle School and High School –

Sculpture Technique: Model follows Construct, however, it can be a stand alone product – I’ll chat about that as we go along.

ARTistic Pursuits has a detailed plan of flow to introduce your student to art as an education. Instructions are given in the areas of drawing, painting, and sculpture. In the Middle School & High School books (and lower I’m assuming), the emphasis is on seeing art through history by the great artists – learning to pull apart the ‘why’ of a photo – and then taking those concepts forward into your project. Step by step instructions are given to simply, easily help a person through their lessons. These can be parent led, teacher at a co-op, or student who can read and follow written instructions well.  There is also a grading/evaluation portion at the end of each unit to help you assess if the student stayed on track. This is hard for a parent – you want to praise and say well done. This company is more than a ‘you can draw’ book, but rather the instruction and education of Art as an intentional process.

As an aside – we used ARTistic Pursuits for 6 years as a resource with Harmony Fine Arts and my son aced his History Exams for high school – I think – largely based on learning history with art!

That said – Construct and Model are a different sort of a book. Model focuses on Contemporary Art – but we didn’t spend time learning about ‘art history’ in this book. Project Inspiration gives glimpses of projects from great sculptures.

ARTistic Pursuits ReviewSculpture Technique Model brings the student into the 3D world of art.  The targeted ages are 11-18, but I think, with a teachers help, some of the projects could be scaled down for younger students.

Elements of Sculpture, Project Inspiration and Project Execution are the keys to Sculpture Technique Model.

Elements of Sculpture & Project Inspiration teaches the visual aspects of three-dimensional projects from artists. Just like the consideration when painting and drawing – we have a chance to discuss and observe how contemporary artists used space/balance/form working with mass to form an art piece. We spent time considering balance – color choices- mediums – etc. when picking our projects. Project Inspirations are just that – meant to encourage creative thought – freedom is always given in exactly what may be molded.

Project Execution gives step by step instructions for creating the work of art. This is where I lack. Vocabulary. Sigh. It’s one thing to head to your local craft store and give a student a hunk of clay, and then say – there – create a wave. Go. Project Execution gives you the words (or this part can be student led) to develop skills and craftsmanship.

It is a joy to work with the boys, after years of using these projects. As we walk through gift stores, thrift stores and homes, I hear them describe a piece of art with words I know they’ve learned through this program. Instead of “I like it” or “I don’t quite like it but I don’t know why”, they are able to talk about perspective, light direction, use of color, hues, focus points, details given using the full space, balance, empty space, weight – I could go on.

So – Focus! – This Book! How did we use it???? You should know from the first sentence that we like it. Smile 


Before it comes in the mail, I like to use the supply lists on the website to see what supplies we need to add to our collection. This book has three main sections:

Creating Mass with Putty

Creating Scale with Clay

Creating Surface with Fiber

For the time and resources we had before the review was due, we chose  Putty and Clay.

I like to spend a few days with the book reading it through, reading the project instructions, seeing if there are any materials that would help.

If you have the financial resources handy – you can simply purchase all of the materials from a link on the website. Super Handy. I recommend this – projects stop if you do not have the supplies. Since we are on the last years of art instruction – we have many of the products in our home, so we purchased locally what we needed.

Something you don’t need a lot of cash for – is Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty. We found it at our local store for under $3.00, back in the hardware section.



We started out learning about creating mass with putty. The Elements of Sculpture walked us through Additive, Subtractive and Modeled methods. Elements of Sculpture showed us the Shelter Cove by Jacques and Mary Regat.  I love that they teach you the technique, then show it in action – and then – Show you how to do it! Starting with Project Inspiration – they give a simple beginning project and then move to Project Execution.


Jon enjoyed creating the putty. We are in the PNW at sea level – I’m not sure if that makes a difference if you are in a dry climate. We had to adjust our formula. 1 cup of putty to 1/8th cup of water.  (Instead of 1/2). We found that if you add dry putty to the mixture, it will dry very quickly. Don’t skip the kneading part of the instructions, after you’ve found your desired consistency, wash your hands before starting on your project.





Once we were finished, there is a lesson on painting the sculptures.

We made a hummingbird, fish and coconut. (no idea why). I have photos of the fish and coconut above, boys didn’t want to share the hummingbird.

The lesson on Unit 1 covers Modeled Mass, Static Mass and Dynamic Mass. This is where we found an advantage of using Construct first. We knew how to make a form, and use wire and paper to create mass. What’s cool with the Hard Water Putty, you can create the form, cover it in making tape, then ‘paint’ on the hard water putty, using more water to create the mixture. Super cool – dries hard.

Jon moved into creating scale with clay. Starting with the pinch method to create bowls and then using the slab method to create height.

We have a great homeschool partnership with the Lincoln City Cultural Center. An opportunity came up to use their wet clay lab.  WOO HOO.  All of the supplies are listed, and simple to purchase, and can be done at home – but easy – well is easier. Winking smile 






Jon really REALLY likes working with the clay.


I am excited about working with the felting this summer!

I’ll keep sharing photos of our projects as they get finished.

When the boys were younger – I liked free play art. We kept –still do- a closet full of supplies and ideas. We stretched vinyl table cloth covers over carpet and tables. If you can put the tools away –  you can play. Wood burning kits, paint, markers, chalk – all kinds of tid bits. Creative free play. They need time exploring mediums.

I’d give the same advice for some of these projects. Make sure they have time to creative free exploring of the mediums before starting the projects. It took my son a while to do the exact assignment, and I got a bit frustrated. Then I remembered, he had not played with wet putty before. Once I let him make a coconut, he made fish. Ha.

And that’s the point where this curriculum pushes off. This is for Art Education. For that moment when you want to get intentional with honing a craft, creating skills, learning how to see art, learning the vocabulary of observation. As I type up this review we’re watching a surf documentary. I’m surprised at how many surf technique vocabulary words I understand after 3 years of surfing.  There is a difference between saying – he can surf well and being able to describe the drop in, turn, and technique.  This program, helps you to drop in – and teaches you technique to master the craft. WITH JOY and fun.

ARTistic Pursuits Review     Crew Disclaimer

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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