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Maud Lewis’ House

August 28, 2010

On one of our day trips out in Nova Scotia we visited a museum that houses a replica of Maud Lewis’ house.  Maud Lewis was a women who liked to paint and became known for her colourful folk art, a term I had never heard of before that day.

At first as I looked around I was singularly unimpressed.  The art work is much like something I’d expect a younger person to produce, very simple and lacking in sophistication.  It was clear to my slightly trained eye that this was not the work of a ‘real’ artist, but a person just like me.

But the more time I spent in this teeny, tiny space, looking at these simple paintings that adorned seemingly every flat surface my perception began to change.  I began to see something quite different in these simple and colourful illustrations.

This woman, who lived a life much harder than I can imagine, found a way to express her deep love of life.  Through simple images and bright colours she created a space filled with optimism and energy.

She did what I would never do, she picked up a paint brush and painted her imaginings on her own walls.  She wasn’t concerned with resale value or what someone else might think when they walked in the door.  This house was completely hers, merged with her and her simple desire for beauty.

This woman, crippled by polio as a child, who had to sit at a lowered stove her husband built for her, saw beauty in the world around her.  Her home was just that, her home, not a piece of real estate or part of an investment portfolio but a safe haven in which she could articulate her own vision of the life she lead.

I think I could learn a lot from this brave and unsophisticated artist; this woman who saw the world in technicolour.

I hope that maybe I already have.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Margo permalink
    August 30, 2010 9:32 am

    Very moving Emma!

  2. August 31, 2010 1:02 am

    I love this! She made her space exactly what she wanted it to be.

    Are any parts real pieces of the home? Or only replicas?

    • emmalina73 permalink
      September 2, 2010 12:36 am

      I think that it was all a replica as the actual house is in another museum, I don’t know anything about her work beyond what I saw but I did find it very moving.

  3. September 4, 2010 2:56 am

    …lovely! I should have known you were in Nova Scotia…a place we called home for five years, and reluctantly left despite being born and raised in Ontario.

    In my humble opinion, it is the home of some of the most kindhearted and genuine people around!

    • emmalina73 permalink
      September 5, 2010 9:38 pm

      Julia we just adored it! The landscape is so inspiring and the place is full of colour and art. It didn’t hurt that we had perfect weather too! A wonderful place we plan to return to…often!

  4. Helen permalink
    September 4, 2010 10:11 pm

    I love that chance brought you somewhere that has had such an impact. Places like this remind us of who we hope to be; free, with passion, unhindered, true to our hearts.

    These kinds of experiences remind me to live my life instead of trundling along, blinkered and uninterested. If we had half the passion and spirit of Maud Lewis, I think we would die happy.

    • emmalina73 permalink
      September 5, 2010 9:40 pm

      As usual bean you’ve whacked the proverbial upon the noggin. It is amazing how a little turn, a small decision can put you in the path of something that really changes your thinking, frees it. The word you used, unhindered, is perfect. That is what I’m hoping to be more of, unhindered in passion and spirit. A good life indeed.

  5. September 8, 2010 6:38 pm

    How wonderful that luck or chance brought you to such a space. What an incredible home and I love that she made it her own.

    • emmalina73 permalink
      September 11, 2010 10:36 pm

      I agree Heather, this space seems to be owned by the person living there and how many of us can really claim that? It gave me a lot to think about and opened my mind to new ways of seeing. Happy chance indeed!

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