Monday, March 20, 2017

Creating A Masterpiece (A Homeschool Crew Review)

We love art in our family.  My husband took art throughout high school, I took classes in middle school and both of my daughters seem to have the artistic bug as well.  Somehow, the gene skipped over Garrett, who doesn't even like to color, but everyone else seems to have an artistic talent to some extent. When we were given the opportunity to review the monthly plan for Creating a Masterpiece, I already knew it would be a huge hit in our household.

Created and taught my Sharon Hofer, Creating a Masterpiece is a series of online streaming art lessons that teach students of all ages and expertise how to successfully create works of art using various art mediums. A master artist in her own right, Mrs Hofer has years of experience teaching students one on one in her own home studio.  She has now begun to offer those same lessons through video instruction for those who cannot attend her classes, allowing those outside of her local area to have the same quality of lesson as those who attend her physical class.

For the purpose of this review, members of the Homeschool Review crew were given 6 months access to more than 50 lessons.  The lessons offered start at the Beginner level and progress through Levels 1-5, depending on how experienced the student is.  Art medium instruction offered include: Acrylic, Batik, Block Painting, Carving, Conte' Crayon, Copper Tooling, Glass Mosaic, Gouache, Ink, Mixed Media, Oil Paint, Oil Pastels, Pencil/Charcoal, Sculptures, Silk Painting, Soft Pastels, and Watercolor. Each lesson clearly states which medium will be used as well as a list of required and suggested materials needed to complete the project.  On average, lessons take between 30-40 minutes to complete, although in some projects, that time is extended over the course of a few days as mediums such as paints need time to dry between steps.

Interface makes it easy to see the projects and determine what medium it uses
For our projects, we opted to start with some of the Beginner and Level 1 projects.  We already had oil pastels, soft pastels and watercolors available to us, so with that in mind, we sat down together as a family (minus Garrett) and decided which projects we would all like to work on together.  Over the last few weeks, we've worked on three different projects: Lessons in Watercolor (Floral Medley), Lesson in Oil Pastels (Winter Cabin) and Lessons in Soft Pastels (Peaceful Lake).

Each video lesson is broken down into sections as Mrs Hofer breaks down step by step how to copy her techniques and create your own masterpiece.  Through the lesson, she gives various tips and advice on how to make the most of each medium and how to avoid (or correct) mistakes that might be made during the process.  Her lessons are clear and concise as she demonstrates how to turn a blank canvas or piece of paper into something any student could be proud of.  Pausing or rewinding the lesson is very easy, so that you can stop the video and take the time needed to work on your own project before moving on.   We found it super easy to just keep the laptop within arms reach on our kitchen table where each of us could see it easily and hit pause/play as needed.

For our first lesson, the Winter Cabin from the Beginner section, it was just myself and the girls working though the project.  Pastels were a new medium for Ashleigh to play around with and this project was a perfect introduction on using them and we were all very happy with the outcome of our projects.  We did realize we were using the wrong paper for pastels (we were using watercolor paper instead of pastel paper) but even still, everyone's picture came out nice.

Winter Cabin  - Alyssa on top, Mom and Ashleigh's on the bottom.

For our second project, we opted for one of the watercolor lessons as we were waiting on an order for the proper paper for pastels.  For this lesson, Dad decided to join us and the four of us decided to try to Floral Medley together.

We did worry when Mrs Hofer started using pancake watercolors and we had tube style watercolor paints.  But this turned out not to be that big of an issue and is one of the beautiful things about her lessons - Your artwork does not have to look exactly like hers and you can experiment with other media.  Our tube paint worked perfectly fine and as we followed her lessons step by step, we once again came up with some really nice finished projects.

The water color projects do take few days to finish as each step needs time in which to dry, so this project took us a bit of time to complete.

This project also showed us that each of us interpret her instructions differently.  None of our projects looked anything alike but each turned out nice. I was really impressed with Ashleigh's finished project as her flowers reminded me of Hibiscus flowers.  It also showed that regardless of age, anyone can achieve something they would be happy to display.

Floral Medley in Watercolor:     Top - Alyssa and Dad    Bottom - Mom and Ashleigh
For our final project of this review period, everyone agreed they wanted to try the Peaceful Lake which was a lesson in Soft Pastels.  By this time, we had finally gotten the proper paper that we had ordered (they were out of stock when we ordered after the Winter Cabin lesson and we had to wait for it to arrive).  Again, the four of us sat at the table - this time opting to remove our table cloth since we had been warned ahead of time of the dust created by this medium.

Working on the Peaceful Lake project with soft pastels

Soft Pastels indeed turned out to be an extremely messy process and the girls had a lot of fun.  Granted, when all was said and done, both were covered head to toe in colorful streaks (as they decided to rub their smudging fingers on each other's face) but everyone had a great time working together.

My oldest with her project  along with her "War Paint"

Once again, I was very impressed with how everyone's finished project turned out.  Everyone's looked equally wonderful and without our signitures on our artwork, it would be hard to distinguish which one was done by an 8 year old and which one was done by a 41 year old. 

Peaceful Lake in Soft Pastel :  Top - Mom and Ashleigh   Bottom - Alyssa and Dad
Although, I take that back, it would be pretty easy for someone to figure out which one was my husband's.   

The Peaceful Lake has been invaded by War of the World's Alien Tripods
As a whole, we really enjoyed the Creating a Masterpiece website and the lessons offered and we look forward to continuing to spend family time making some really nice artwork together.  I can easily see how the techniques and tips that we are learning from each lesson can carry over to when we decide to venture beyond the step-by-step lessons and planned projects.

#hsreviews #artinstruction #homeschoolart #onlineartprogram

For more information about Creating a Masterpiece (including a free lesson using soft pastels), visit their website. You can also find them on Facebook at

Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}


  1. I absolutely DESPISE reading 28 reviews of the same thing from the Homeschool Review Crew... but the one thing that came from stumbling upon the group was finding your site. I enjoy your blogs so much - and not just the reviews. Thank you for sharing. --aNNa

  2. Thank you so such a nice review. My heart is blessed by that and by seeing your children's beautiful creations. :)


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