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CAPTURING JOY by Jo Ellen Bogart

CAPTURING JOY

The Story of Maud Lewis

By Jo Ellen Bogart (Author) , Mark Lang (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: May 13th, 2002
ISBN: 0-88776-568-8
Publisher: Tundra

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)