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Visual Arts

Familiarity with the visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, printmaking, etc.) : art appreciation, art history and artistic technique, is an essential aspect of cultural literacy. Exploring the visual arts is especially important for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, because their hearing loss may interfere with their enjoyment of the performing arts. The visual arts are completely accessible.

Art Appreciation and History

Art history is, well, the history of art: the study of the development of artistic techniques, the changes and development in materials, the choice of subject matter. Studying art tells about much more than the work also reveals information about the artist, culture, technological development within that culture, politics, religion, and the tools and patterns of everyday life. The study of the history of art is also the study of history through art.

Art appreciation is simply developing a personal toolkit for evaluating art: that is, understanding how the composition, lighting, medium, technique and style support the subject of the piece.


The arrangement of the objects in the work in relationship to each other.

The light source within the it diffuse or narrowly directed? Is the subject lit by sunlight? By a candle? It the overall work dim or brightly lit?

The materials used to produce the piece, such as watercolors, oil paint, pastels, crayon, torn paper, and the surface the materials are applied to, such as wood, canvas, a wall, etc.

The way the artist used various tools to construct the piece, and the way in which the medium is applied to the surface (small, overlapping brush strokes, for instance, or scraping paint on with the side of a knife).

The overall style of the work: abstract, Impressionistic, photo-realistic, etc.

Using Visual Art as a Framework for Homeschooling

Art History could easily form the foundation of a unit study curriculum. I'd recommend starting with the earliest human art (The caves at Lascaux, Altamira and Tassili) and moving forward in time. History, technological development, religion, politics, math and science can all be easily studied in relationship to visual art.

Introducing Art to Children
Resources for introducing art to children.

Introducing Art to Very Young Children
Resources for introducing young children to the visual fine arts.

Stop Motion Animation
Tips for getting started making animated films using dolls and clay.

Fine art is that in which the hand, the head and the heart go together. - John Ruskin

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