Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis

Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis

by Jo Ellen Bogart, Mark Lang
     
 

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Maud Lewis was born into a loving Nova Scotia family who accepted her physical limitations. When her parents died and she was forced to find her own way in the world, she married and set up a modest household in a small cabin. Despite the hardships she faced, she was able to find joy in her life, a joy that she expressed through her art. She painted canvases of

Overview

Maud Lewis was born into a loving Nova Scotia family who accepted her physical limitations. When her parents died and she was forced to find her own way in the world, she married and set up a modest household in a small cabin. Despite the hardships she faced, she was able to find joy in her life, a joy that she expressed through her art. She painted canvases of animals, children, and her surroundings. Her art spilled over into everything from dust pans to the walls of her house. Maud Lewis died in 1970, but her wonderful, life-affirming art lives on and is treasured by people who understand and appreciate folk art all over the world.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“More than an account of a fascinating life, Bogart’s introduction to this Canadian painter is a lesson in self-determination…A lovely and inspiring book.”
School Library Journal

“…charming and exquisite…this book makes a beautiful addition to any art lovers bookcase. It is also a delightful souvenir of Nova Scotia, a celebration of our rich artistry and artistic heritage…Overall, a lovely book.”
CM Magazine

“…a tale that works at every level…it will appeal to everyone for so many reasons.”
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“Jo Ellen Bogart tells Lewis’ story with empathy and insight…”
Quill & Quire

“[The] text is simply written but interesting and accessible to young readers.”
ABQLA Bulletin

“…to be easily understood for young readers.”
Books

“…the young reader is never overwhelmed with biographical detail, but is left free to absorb the essentials of Maud’s life little by little. Soft-edge pencil drawings by Mark Lang add welcome additional details to this excellent picture biography.”
CITY Parent

“…an exceptional book.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“It is a particular pleasure to read how Bogart deals with the ‘artistic’ aspect of the book – discussing Lewis’ style in a meaningful way…The book deliciously treats readers to views of 13 of Lewis’ riotously delightful tableaux… [Lang’s] realistic drawings in pencil provide a gentle visual commentary about Lewis’ life.”
The Guelph Mercury

“Bogart handles the story of Lewis’s difficult and impoverished life with great tact. Her declarative style says more than the mere words ever could…a lovely picture book…[that] will inspire curiosity about and admiration for this remarkable woman.”
The Telegram

“…this beautifully-crafted picture book captures the heightened delight with which Maud Lewis viewed the world outside her small window.”
The New Brunswick Reader

Children's Literature - Krisan Murphy
The true meaning of folk art unfolds in this biography of one of Canada's dearly loved artist, Maud Lewis, who lived from 1903 to 1970. Despite crippled arthritic hands and meager means, the diminutive woman painted uplifting scenes of the activity and landscape in her surroundings. Among Lewis's paintings are ice skaters with outstretched arms, her husband's old Model T car, and scenes of blinding snow. Bogart writes about Lewis's life from childhood to old age, revealing the source of the artist's inspiration. Neither poverty nor poor health restrained Lewis's joy. This story inspires the downtrodden, the afflicted, and the less fortunate to look beyond present difficulties. The simplicity of Lewis's art is further enhanced by Lang's meticulous pencil illustrations which fill every other page. Young children to young adult readers will appreciate this biography. Older students, especially, can grapple with the life struggle of this simple yet profound artist. Reviewer: Krisan Murphy
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6 More than an account of a fascinating life, Bogart's introduction to this Canadian painter is a lesson in self-determination. It is the story of a young woman who, despite multiple birth defects and the crippling effects of rheumatoid arthritis, painstakingly created Christmas cards and paintings showing scenes and people lovingly recollected from her own experience. Living in a tiny house with no electricity or indoor plumbing, Lewis painted on scraps of wood and cardboard, using remnants of paint from fishing boats that her husband found on his fish-peddling route. Her style is primitive folk art, often brightly hued. The occasional addition of impossible, but charming, detail, such as pink-and-white blossoms on evergreens, adds whimsy to her interpretations of life in Nova Scotia coastal towns. Each spread has a full-page reproduction of a Lewis painting, and each text page includes a realistic, black-and-white pencil drawing by Lang. The house in which the couple lived-door, windows, woodstove, walls, and stairs covered with paintings of flowers, birds, and butterflies-now stands in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. A lovely and inspiring book. -Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis was disabled, poor, and untrained. But she saw beauty in the memories of her early life, in the everyday activities of the people around her, and in the landscapes and seascapes of Nova Scotia. She struggled mightily to paint, supporting her weak painting hand with the other, using found paint, a TV tray as an easel, and sardine cans to hold her paint. But the results were lovely, idealized depictions of her world. It is a story worth telling of an artist worth knowing. But, as told here, it lacks cohesion and focus. Events that seem to have been catastrophic and life-changing are never developed or explained, while much is made of small things, like pets and a Model T. Lang's gentle b&w drawings are charming but superfluous, as they are mostly mirror images of the actual paintings. The work is much more successful as an annotated portfolio of Lewis's art. In this way, the anecdotes from her life make more sense as they explain the contents and design of the paintings on the facing pages. With all its flaws, it remains a charming introduction to a gifted folk artist. (Biography. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781770492622
Publisher:
Tundra
Publication date:
05/10/2011
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,175,925
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Jo Ellen Bogart is the author of many best-selling children’s books, including Malcolm’s Runaway Soap, Daniel’s Dogs, and Gifts. Born in Houston, Texas, she lives in a pet-filled home in Guelph, Ontario.

Mark Lang is a painter, illustrator, and graphic designer. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Village Voice, and other publications. He has twice collaborated with author Joan Bodger on the children’s book, The Forest Family, and the travelogue, How the Heather Looks. Mark Lang lives with his family in Montreal.

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