INSPIRED BY MAUD LEWIS – Canadian Folk Artist

Students examine the paintings of Maud Lewis and use her technique to create a painting of their own.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 8

Subject

Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

brushstroke colour composition folk art horizon line

Materials

Acrylic Paint Painting Paper Masking Tape Plastic Placemats Water Containers Paper Towels Assorted Paint Brushes Construction Paper

Steps

INSPIRED BY MAUD LEWIS – Canadian Folk Artist - Step One

Step One

  1. Tape the paper to a plastic placemat.
  2. Make sure the tape is straight and runs parallel to the outer edges of the paper.
INSPIRED BY MAUD LEWIS – Canadian Folk Artist - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Make the horizon line high on the page the way Maud Lewis did.
  2. Paint the sky and the grass in colours that Maud Lewis might have used.
  3. Set the painting aside to dry.
INSPIRED BY MAUD LEWIS – Canadian Folk Artist - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Fold a piece of construction paper into quarters.
  2. Practice Maud Lewis brushstrokes while your painting dries.
  3. In box #1
    - short, flat strokes with lots of pressure
    - short, flat strokes with medium pressure
    - short, flat strokes with light pressure
  4. In box #2
    - dab small dots of white paint with the tip of the brush and short, springy brushstrokes
    - dab pink paint into the white dots with the tip of the brush and short, springy brushstrokes
  5. In box #3
    - use a short, flat brushstroke for one half a tulip
    - repeat the brushstroke for the other half
    - add short, flat strokes with medium pressure for stems and leaves
  6. In box #4
    - paint a large flat circle with cat ears
    - use short, light brushstrokes around the edges to make it appear fluffy
INSPIRED BY MAUD LEWIS – Canadian Folk Artist - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Choose the colour of cat that you want to paint.
  2. Paint a large, flat oval for the cat body.
  3. Add a small, flat rectangle for the tail.
  4. Paint a round, flat circle for the head and add the cat ears.
  5. Fill in some of the space between the head and the body.
  6. Use short, light brushstrokes around the outer edges of the cat to make it look fluffy. 
INSPIRED BY MAUD LEWIS – Canadian Folk Artist - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Paint 2 long, flat brushstrokes with heavy pressure for branches.
  2. Add short, light brushstrokes for smaller branches.
  3. Paint tulip brushstrokes in different colours around the cat.
  4. Add short, flat brushstrokes with medium pressure for the stems and leaves.
INSPIRED BY MAUD LEWIS – Canadian Folk Artist - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Dab small dots of white paint with the tip of the brush and short, springy brushstrokes to make the apple blossoms.
  2. Dab pink dots with the tip of the brush and short, springy brushstrokes into the white dots while the white paint is still wet.
  3. Add short, flat brushstrokes with medium pressure to make the leaves around the apple blossoms. 
INSPIRED BY MAUD LEWIS – Canadian Folk Artist - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Add the final details on the face.
  2. Remember to add short, light brushstrokes to the inside of the ears to make them look fluffy.
  3. When you are happy with everything, gently remove the tape.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Identify characteristics of Maud Lewis' style;
  2. Paint a cat that expresses their own ideas in the style of Maud Lewis; 
  3. Use a variety of brushstrokes;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

Extensions

Have students:

  1. Research the life and career of artist Maud Lewis, or another folk artist of interest, then organize their research into an electronic format to share with classmates.
  2. Create a 3-dimensional artifact to represent the artist they have researched, and explain why and how it represents the artist.

Prepare

  1. Download images of Maud Lewis' artwork from the Internet. 
    Maud Lewis
    Mayberry
  2. Download 3 images of cats by Maud Lewis available at the Artnet website, for example, Three Black Cats; Three Cats; Black and White Cat; Cats; White Cat.
    Artnet
  3. Prior to this lesson view the National Film Board video about Maud Lewis and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia's video about her house with your students.
    NFB Video
    Maud Lewis House
  4. Review and share some of the information about Maud Lewis found at the Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica website with your students.
    Canadian Encyclopedia
  5. Gather and make available books about Maud Lewis, for example, Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis, by Jo Ellen Bogart; The Painted House of Maud Lewis: Conserving a Folk Art Treasure, by Laurie Hamilton; Illuminated Life Of Maud Lewis, by Lance Woolaver; Maud Lewis The Heart on the Door, by Lance Gerard Woolaver.
  6. Collect Maud Lewis calendars and/or Greeting cards available, for example, at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia website.
    Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
     

Introduction

  1. Display several Maud Lewis paintings alongside each other.
  2. Ask students to look at the works closely for a minute.
  3. Share first impressions of the paintings.
  4. People say that Maud Lewis' paintings are 'joyful'. Ask students what they see that would make people say that.
  5. Ask students to find what is unique about all the paintings.
    - How are they the same?
  6. List the characteristics that make a 'Maud Lewis'. 
    - flat colours with no shadows
    - bright, cheerful colours
    - small paintings of everyday rural life
    - lots of pictures of cats and flowers
    - simplified figures and animals
    - high horizon line
    - a variety of simple brushstrokes
  7. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Identify characteristics of Maud Lewis' style.
  2. Paint a cat that expresses your own ideas in the style of Maud Lewis. 
  3. Use a variety of brushstrokes.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    - flat colours no shadows
    - bright, cheerful colours
    - variety of simple brushstrokes similar to those of Maud Lewis
    - high horizon line
    - simple composition similar to those of Maud Lewis
    - paper in good condition
  3. Encourage students to add their own personal touch to their painting.
  4. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  5. Observe students as they work. 
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to share their work and discuss the things that are especially effective and why.
    Talk about:
    - what they found satisfying about doing this painting
    - how they might use what they learned in a different way
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the paintings – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – Lewis_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – Lewis_self-assessment.pdf or LewisPrimary_self-assessment.pdf)