we help adults teach art to kids

Maud Lewis Folk Art Projects


Maud Lewis is a Canadian Folk artist who hails from my neck of the woods, Nova Scotia. Her childlike landscapes depicting life in the maritime provinces are loved all across Canada. I love introducing not only Lewis but Nova Scotia to my So Cal students who are always impressed when they hear her story of  hardship.

I’ve been doing Maud Lewis art lessons for years. I love teaching the basic techniques of layering and then allowing children to create their own Lewis-inspired winter scenes and lighthouses. Up until now though, I haven’t really detailed exactly how I approach these lessons.

Maud Lewis Folk Art Scenes

If you have 15 minutes, I encourage you to watch this video of an elementary school in Halifax, Nova Scotia creating a group mural in the style of Maud Lewis. it’s absolutely wonderful! Listening to the children and the visiting artist speak reminds me of home. I was born near Halifax in a small community called Pictou. I love the accents!

Calendar and Visual

Whenever I go back home to Prince Edward Island, I pick up my annual Maud Lewis Calendar. It’s very useful to have these colorful images to show students. I set out my sets and have students select which Maud Lewis painting they like most. This way the lesson truly becomes personal to their own tastes.


I use tempera paints in my classroom but acrylics would be great and would give the teacher an opportunity to teach acrylic techniques. The basic technique for creating a Maude Lewis style painting is “layering”. I discussed the background and foreground with the kids and explained how Maude Lewis might have gone about painting these scenes. Once the children sketched in the background, they painted all the base colors (land, sky, ocean) and then added all the small details on top. Some larger details like animals, houses and larger trees were drawn in first and painted around.

A gallery of student paintings inspired by Canadian artist Maud Lewis

 Maud Lewis Lighthouses

Maude Lewis Art project for Kids

The Maud Lewis Folk Art Project PDF teaches children how to paint a colorful seascape, a cute cat and a fluffy bird…all in Lewis’s iconic style.

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.

What You’ll Need:
12″ x 18″ white drawing paper
Tempera paints: light blue, white, dark blue, green, yellow and black
Paint brushes and water containers
Printed craft paper plus solid colored paper
Glue sticks

Create 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.

Making the 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.

Maude Lewis Art project for Kids


What you get…

Like all my PDF lesson plans, you get to see how my students created the lessons via in class photographs and a grade level student gallery so you know what to expect. I’ve also included some simple drawing guides that can serve as either coloring pages or general guides for the lesson. New to my lesson plans is an artist statement so children can reflect on their work.

Here is a little peek into what’s inside…


ARE YOU A SPARKLER? This lessons and 0ver 300 art lessons are available inside the Members Club. Access to videos, resources & trainings for one low monthly fee.



Summer Fun Art Bundle inside Deep Space Sparkle's Members Club


  1. This looks like an awesome project. I’ve never heard of Maud Lewis – I’ll gladlycheck out her work thanks to your introduction. I have a question – when you create a project like this based on a specific person and their artwork – do you need their permission? I’ve just stumbled upon your website – what a beautiful resource – I’ll definitely be coming back.


    September 29, 2014

    • You will love her work. It’s very child-like so kids can really relate and not be intimidated. I just adore her work!

      Patty Palmer

      September 29, 2014

    • Regarding permission: Here is an article on fair use.http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
      Fair use rationale:
      It is a historically significant artwork
      The image is only being used for informational and educational purposes
      The image is readily available on the internet
      The image is a low resolution copy of the original artwork and is unsuitable for commercial use

      Patty Palmer

      September 29, 2014

  2. So great to hear that you are a Nova Scotia native! I lived there for 28 or so years. Love your site as a I am a retired art teacher who still volunteers at a local school doing Art .


    October 11, 2014

  3. Hi Patty! Hope you are well! I was looking for this Maude Lewis bundle inside the members club but can’t locate it. Am I looking in the wrong place? Thanks so much as always–you are just AWESOME!! ❤️ Beth


    February 24, 2017

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *