Painting is a Class Act - review

Are you looking for a new Art curriculum? Would you like your kiddies to take a skills-based approach to painting? Then check out Painting is a Class Act by Brilliant Publications. Head over to our instagram page here to have a sneak peek inside the Years 1-2 book.

Not being particularly arty myself, I have always been reluctant to follow any type of Art curriculum. The kiddies are free to pick up their paintbrushes and oil pastels as they please, but I wouldn't say I have an artistic flare of any sort. However, flipping through these glossy Art books they have certainly inspired and motivated me to have a go at trying out some amazing art lessons with the kiddies and made me think about the benefits of painting with children.


'Painting is a Class Act provides a structured approach to the development of painting skills in primary schools. It is aimed specifically at non-specialist art teachers, but more experienced art teachers will find it inspirational too. The three books in the series cover the entire primary age range: Years 1-2, Years 3-4 and Years 5-6.' Brilliant Publications


These books provide a coherent structure for ensuring that pupils at Key Stage 1 and 2:

*Learn to use drawing and painting to explore their ideas and record their experiences.

*Become proficient in painting and drawing.

*Develop the ability to use the language of art to evaluate and analyse creative works.

*Know about great artists and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.



The kiddies were keen to get started when they saw the beautiful pictures, painted by young children, throughout each book. The books start with basic skills such as introducing powder paint and investigating brush strokes. They go on to colour mixing and include very handy colour mixing resource sheets to photocopy at the back. These are a great added benefit to each book, as young children can have a go at mixing colours together.


The Year 1-2 book explores watercolours. Year 3-4 progresses from watercolours onto acrylics and the final book, Year 5-6, includes oils. Each book also looks at the history of painting, using works of art and other techniques and media. The contents page provides lots of information to get started such as the type of lesson, whether it be a skill or activity, and the time each lesson will take. They also include an excellent list of resources that you may want to keep a stock of in your home ed classroom and a handy glossary at the back.

The books are teeming with creative activities to plan Art lessons with your children. Each lesson includes a colourful photo of a finished picture created by a young child, a list of resources needed, how long the lesson will take and notes. The lesson starts with an introduction followed by a practical activity with simple step by step instructions set out in bullet points.


Today we have brought out our bottles of paint and watercolours to make a start. DD5 explored primary and secondary colours before having a go at the 'painting a wash' activity. She cut out a hill, a house and a tree from black card and used watercolour to create the sky, dampening the paper with a sponge before painting broad stripes of deep blue across the top of the paper. Once dried, she added glitter for the stars! She was amazed and proud of her picture which now hangs happily on the fridge. From the first dip of paint DD5 has been developing her cognitive, emotional and physical skills as she gets messy and mixes new colours. The lessons in this book have provided her with the opportunity to develop these skills and have started her new journey with paint.



DS8 now feels more confident to set his paintbrush free across the paper as he got creative with concentric circles. He layered up his paper with contrasting coloured paints which created an amazing effect. He also tried making some colourful collages by cutting up his artwork and gluing onto another piece which made the colours stand out dramatically against each other. He was also able to see how the light colours stood out against the dark colours as he proudly displayed his work of Art.



DS10 has always been keen to take out his art materials so he was thrilled when I suggested spending the morning painting. He flicked through the Year 5-6 book and settled on a colour matching lesson. We found an old magazine and cut out the larger colour photographs. He then started snipping away so that each picture was cut into four vertical strips, two of which he glued onto white paper. He then tried his best to colour match as closely as he could and then paint the missing parts of each photo. This was a great activity for DS10 whether he becomes an artist or not. Colour matching is a great life skill used by many professions and in everyday tasks such as co-ordinating the colours of clothes or choosing colours for your bedroom!


We think these books are an absolute 'must have' for Home Ed classrooms, especially those taking part in the Arts Award or those that just want to add a sprinkle of creativity into their Home Ed Art lessons. You'll never need to search for Art inspiration again if you have these books.


 They are loaded with creative Art ideas that all children are sure to get excited about. You don't need to be an experienced Art teacher to follow the lesson plans in these books. Choose lessons that suit you and your child, change things along the way, there's no right or wrong, and surprise yourself to see the amazing pieces of Art that your child produces. This set has given my children the chance to freely express themselves and develop their creativity and are going to be part of our treasured library of Home Education resources for many years to come. 

For further information about this new Art curriculum from Brilliant Publications then check out their website here or head over to Amazon here



Disclaimer: These books were gifted to us and all opinions are my own. 

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