Always on the hunt for new and interesting artists, I've recently fallen in love with Maud Lewis' pieces. Maud Lewis was a folk artist from Nova Scotia whose paintings reflect what she knew: teams of oxen, cats, and snowscapes. She suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, but fought through it for most of her career. She and her fish peddler husband Everett lived in a tiny home of 12 by 13 feet, which she enlivened with her own artistic touches.
One of my favorite Maud pieces is her Three Black Cats. The vivid colors and the cats' round eyes full of expression are so cheerful and appealing to children and adults alike.
I read my Kindergarten students The Witch of Hissing Hill by Mary Calhoun, a vintage story about a witch who reforms her ways. This story was one of my favorite books growing up as I was always intrigued by the illustrations. In the story, Gold the cat turns the witches' brew into a yellow love potion.
So, here's what my students did:
1) We drew a black cat on 12 x 16 watercolor paper with black oil pastel, making sure to leave large circles for the eyes.
2) After drawing their cats, each table was given a tray of yellow "love potion" (aka yellow liquid watercolor with glitter) and painted their whole paintings with the potion. The kids loooved this part as they discovered that pastels and watercolor paint are "enemies."
3) I introduced the Kinders to warm and cool colors and created a flipchart with photo examples. We played a little game, where I would quickly flip to an image and the children had to signal either a silent "W" for warm or a silent "C" with their fingers.
4) Then, the little artists used cool colors for their flower stems and warm colors for the flower tops and worked diligently to cut and glue down their flowers. Some students chose to create a large field for their cats to hide in, and others surrounded their kittens with a flowery frame.
The final meow-sterpieces were paws-itively purrrfect!
Love this little mustachioed fella, though the little adamant artist
insisted, "THEY ARE WHISKERS!"