A group of Grade 2 students from the Humboldt Public School were delighted to visit the Humboldt and District Museum and Saskatoon artist and children’s author Val Miles. The group gathered for a reading and an engaging afternoon of activities surrounding the story and art display on Wednesday, November 23.  

Miles is a visual artist from Saskatoon who adapted her rich paintings into illustrations for her book, “Loving Ewe.” The paintings are on display at the Humboldt and District Gallery along with copies of the book for sale. 

Miles says the book was a product of down time during the pandemic, which coincided with the arrival of a new grandchild.  

My granddaughter was born at the end of 2020,” said Miles. “I’d been holding her and rocking her, and I felt I needed to express how much I loved her through the book. The title of the book came first with “Loving You,” and then I thought of the idea of a sheep.” 

The book lovingly traces the farmyard parable of a sheep who discovers that being of service, in whatever fashion, to her barnyard compatriots grows hearts and grows friendships. The story is told in a little refrain, and the children traced the story, as read by Miles following the illustrations around the display space. The paintings have a unique iridescent quality that Miles crafted with her years of artistry. 

“I use a technique called gilding where you’re adhering copper or gold or silver foil to the canvas before you paint around them.” 

Museum cultural programmer Geneva Grest took the children on a visual tour of some of the artifacts associated with the woolly creatures – items like shears, spinners, and wool carding machines. There was also a scavenger hunt, crafts involving wool, and plenty of time for questions and fun. Miles was in the thick of it all throughout and says as much as creating the paintings and the lyrical storyline was a treat, she’s enjoying readings and seeing kids interact with the work.  

“It’s wonderful. It’s lots of fun to watch them and hear what they have to say. The comments are great.” 

The works of multi-talented artist Val Miles remain on display at the Museum in the “Loving Ewe” exhibition.  

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