Maud Lewis Lighthouse Mix Media

This folk artist from Canada is one of my most favorite artists. Her vibrant, child-like art is not only full of joy but many of her pieces are inspired by the rugged, yet tranquil beauty of Nova Scotia, which is also my birthplace (Yay, Pictou!). Many of my students have never heard of Nova Scotia so it’s fun for me to talk about.
Whenever I’m back home in the summer, I usually pick up a Maud Lewis Calendar but you probably can find one via the Internet.
For this lesson, I speak of fishing dories, lobster boats and traps, colorful buoys, and of course, lighthouses. I also share stories of how Maud created her paintings with limited use of her hands plus working through the disadvantage of being very poor.

Supplies :
12″ x 18″ white drawing paper
Pencil
Tempera paints: light blue, white, dark blue, green, yellow and black
Paint brushes and water containers
Printed craft paper plus solid colored paper
scissors
Glue sticks
Creating the background
To begin the lesson, I hand out 3 photocopies of Maud Lewis’ works from calendars that I have purchased. I chose three of my favorite images, focusing on lighthouses and the Atlantic Ocean.
I demonstrate how to draw the hill, the horizon line and perhaps a few rocks. All other details such as the lighthouse, buoys, etc. will be added in the second stage of this lesson.
Using the light blue paint, I show the kids how to apply the paint and then, while its still wet, add white paint to create a light sky.

After the sky, paint the hill (mix green with some yellow) and then the ocean Mix dark blue with black for a deep navy or dark blue with green for a brilliant turquoise). After painting the ocean, the sky will probably be dry enough to add another layer of white for clouds.
For the rocks, dip a small paintbrush in the black paint and paint along the outside line of the rocks. Then, dip the paint brush into the white paint and mix together to create a grey.
Adding the Paper Lighthouse
Using a variety of printed craft or solid colored paper, cut out light houses, small houses, dories, fish, a setting sun, etc. I demonstrate the technique of using just scissors to create shapes. If the kids get out pencils, the subject they are trying to create usually ends up being much too small. Seriously! Stick with scissors!
Let the kids use their imaginations for how they want to decorate. Some kids will go a bit crazy, but that’s okay. Some will be Maud Lewis muses a channel her love of the ocean. Either way, I think they’ll enjoy this project.
Some details such as the small windows and doors on the lighthouses can be applied with paint.
This is a good time to add splashes of white paint to well, create splashes!

Fifth Grade Results!

9 comments

  1. Holly V. says:

    I absolutely love the Nova Scotia paintings. I will have to try this lesson with my fifth graders.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE these can't wait to try them!. Thanks again!

  3. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog says:

    What a fun project, and I love how they turned out! I'm so happy you left a comment on my blog so I could find yours. It is such an inspiration! I'll be back often.

  4. Gena S says:

    Great project! I have been looking for a lighthouse project. I think I will combine this with the Sailboat project to make the waves for the water. Also, I looked on the internet to find a lighthouse painting by Maud Lewis without luck. Could you post the pictures you used on the blog? Thanks for all you do. I am a regular visitor.
    Gena

  5. Paintedpaper says:

    Love this one!!! I will definitely try this! :)

  6. Tweedy says:

    I'm an art teacher at a public school in Texas…this is my 4th year to teach art. Before that, I taught 5th grade, mostly language arts, for many years. When I started in art, I taught only 4th and 5th graders, but this year, I am teaching K-5. It's been a *HUGE* challenge to add four new preps to every single day, but finding your website has really helped to ease my mind!

    My kinder kids have been learning the primary colors and this week, we mixed color to make the secondary colors, so I was excited when I found your Color Wheel Clown project. I think it will really tie the whole color lesson together wonderfully!

    I've also been reading a delightful book called Dear Mr. Mutt (that should be underlined, but the html for underlining doesn't work here) by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel to my older students. Finding your Royal Pooches lesson has inspired me to use that idea to have the students choose either a royal pooch or a queen cat and draw their favorite. In the story, a dog and cat are at odds, so that's a wonderful art lesson to tie into the book!

    So many of your lessons are just exciting me and really making the stress of the new preps so much easier, so thank you so much! I look forward to spending many an hour enjoying these lessons and I *know* my students will too.

  7. Patty P says:

    Gena S: Great idea about combining the textured ocean water from a previous lesson. Genius! I'm going to do that as well.

    Tweedy: What nice comments! The book suggestions are fantastic and I can't tell you how pleased I am that you are finding this blog helpful.
    Check back soon for a post on how I prep multiple lessons in one day.

  8. [...] This great art lesson came from Deep Space Sparkle. [...]

  9. Wow. These are fantastic! I am so happy to have stumbled upon this resource!

  10. Kim says:

    I just did these with my 6th grade! They loved it. Thanks for such a great idea. You can check out their work on my blog http://artexpressionofimagination.blogspot.com/
    Kim A

  11. [...] all unless I can tie in a fact that the kids would find interesting. One of my favorite artists is Maud Lewis. She was born in Nova Scotia and because that’s where I was born, I somehow feel entitled to [...]

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About Patty

Welcome to DSS. I'm an art teacher to 400 elementary kids in Goleta, California. This is where you will find a library of art lessons, handy PDF lesson plans and resources to make teaching art to kids a whole lot easier.
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