Thanks to Nimbus Publishing who sponsored this post so that we can bring local books to local kids. We only partner with businesses that we believe bring value and enjoyment to Halifax families. If you’d like to talk about working together, please contact us. As always, all opinions (and leftover cookie houses!) are our own.
If you’re a Maritimer, well, actually, even if you’re NOT a Maritimer, you’ve likely heard of Maud Lewis, especially after that blockbuster movie last year profiling her life. Her distinctive folk art makes her a memorable artist, and particularly appealing to children.
This month’s pick for the Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club is Maud Lewis 1 2 3. The illustrations are (obviously) by Maud Lewis (copyright of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia) and the text is by Carol McDougall and Shanda LaRamee-Jones. It’s a board book filled with images of her colourful iconic paintings that encourages children to count items found in each piece of art (ex. 9 roofs, 4 blue tulips). One of the things we loved about this book was it’s a bit of an I Spy style book so older kids like it too. Sometimes it’s hard finding that 7th dory!
My children were both immediately drawn to it and have flipped through it several times and examined the art work and talked about who Maud Lewis was and her impact on the Nova Scotia art scene. Miss M (6yo) wants to be an artist when she grows up so she was extra excited to be doing a book about a famous Nova Scotia artist and she fell in love with Maud Lewis’ work during this process.
We were inspired to create two Christmas themed reading extension activities from this book (although they could be done any time of the year) to explore their natural interest in her style of painting and her life story.
We’ve also partnered with Nimbus Publishing to give away one copy of this book…read on to find out how to get your name in to win (*contest closed*).
MAUD LEWIS STYLE GREETING CARDS
Did you know Maud’s mother taught her how to paint? Her first foray into selling her work was through creating Christmas cards with her mother and then selling them door to door. We’ll show you how to create your own Maud Lewis inspired Christmas cards in this activity.
You’ll need a piece of white or ivory card stock (at least 8.5 x 11), a selection of brightly coloured paints, painters tape, brushes of various sizes and, of course, your paint protection gear – smocks, newspapers, floor covering.
Look through Maud Lewis 1 2 3 and examine what is unique about her art work. She uses bright colours, chunky images and she also typically paints 3/4 of the image a solid colour for the ground/water, and then the top 1/4 is the sky.
To imitate this technique, fold the paper in half to make it a card and lay it horizontally on a surface with the “front” of the card facing up. Use the painters tape to secure it to the surface (it will create a nice unpainted border when you’re done). Have the children think about what type of scene they might like to paint. They could copy an idea from the book, or come up with their own idea.
Then draw a light pencil line so the children can see where to fill in the lower part with colour (green for grass, blue for water, or white for snow – which makes a nice Christmas card look), and the upper half blue for sky (a different shade than blue for water if you are doing that).
Let this part sit for awhile so that it’s fully dry before you start the next part. This is the same layering technique Lewis used so the first level doesn’t smudge but, as I found, kids may not have the patience to wait!
This is where the children can let their creativity shine. They can paint a tree, a house, an ice skating pond. The smaller the children, the simpler the better. You can let them free form, or draw shapes with pencil for them to fill in.
Once they’re complete, fill in the inside of the card with a Christmas message to give them to family and friends for the holidays; or, if your kid is entrepreneurial, they can sell them to family and friends, just like Maud did.
MAUD LEWIS PAINTED COOKIE HOUSES
In the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia sits a little painted house. It’s actually the house Maud Lewis lived in and painted from top to bottom. We decided to create our own versions at home with cookies and frosting paint.
To do these yourself you’ll need sugar cookie dough, two cans of white frosting, food colouring, individual containers to hold different colours, a house-shaped cookie cutter, and new, clean, sterilised, fine paint brushes (I washed ours in warm, soapy water and let them fully dry before using them to be sure they would be safe to use with food).
I could not find a house-shaped cookie cutter so I cut out some houses with a knife by hand and baked them.
When the cookies are ready for decorating, warm up one can of frosting in the microwave about 20-30 seconds (stirring every ten seconds or so until it is easily poured).
Dip the front of each cookie into the frosting, smooth out any bumps with a butter knife or spatula, and then set it on a rack to cool (make sure you put something under the rack to catch the drips (parchment paper works well – and is easy to lick the drippings off of…or so I’ve heard).
When they have set (about fifteen minutes or so), you’re ready to get painting!
We bought little containers at the dollar store but you could also use ramekins or clean, used yogurt containers. Pour some of the melted white frosting into each container and add some food colouring and mix each up until you have the shades you want.
Hand the colours, cookies, and paint brushes to the kids and let them paint their own Maud Lewis inspired cookie house!
As an additional extension, plan a trip to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia where you can see Maud Lewis’ actual work and house. The children had fun looking through the gallery to see if they could spot the images from the book!
PIN IT FOR LATER!
WIN THIS BOOK! **CONTEST CLOSED**
Thanks for joining us! If you haven’t read our other book club posts yet, be sure to check out more book extension posts by clicking here.
You can buy this book directly from Nimbus, or from one of their many booksellers such as Woozles, Bookmark, Chapters, Nurtured Products for Parenting, and Amazon.
We’ve teamed up with Nimbus Publishing to give away a copy of Maud Lewis 1 2 3. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below and ***IMPORTANT*** make sure you come back to the Rafflecopter widget and check off each task you complete in order for it to be counted as an entry.
When the contest closes, one random winner will be drawn. S/he will be notified by email and have 24 hours to respond; if there’s no reply by then, we will draw for a new winner. Good luck!
*Winners must be age of majority in their home province/state and be residents of North America; excluding Quebec.