This little lady is a huge inspiration to me.
Born in 1903 in South Ohio, Nova Scotia, she had to learn to cope with many challenges: a birth defect which left her with hunched shoulders, arthritis which gradually cripped her hands, frail health, and losing both her parents in her early thirties.
Not long after the death of her parents, she married Everett Lewis (a fish peddler) and went to live in a tiny house in Marshalltown. This house had only one small room with a loft above and no indoor plumbing or electricity!
She began to paint and sell Christmas cards to her husbands customers eventually moving on to larger paintings. Considering her circumstances (poverty and ill health) her paintings are wonderfully cheerful and bright.
Toward the end of her life, her paintings began to be in demand. She died in 1970.
The house Maud and Everett had lived in was dismantled and moved to a spot inside the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia after being carefully restored. Maud had painted bright flowers and butterflies everywhere bringing beauty to the little house and leaving behind an inspiring symbol of joy despite hardship.
BOOKS: Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis by Jo Ellen Bogart, Tundra Books, 2002.
And a new film, Maudie: