Lewis was born in Yarmouth County and endured many hardships in
her early life. As a teenager, she started to experience deformities
on her face and hands
as a result of a childhood disease. In 1938, at the age of 34, she married Everett
Lewis and together they lived in the small 12.5' x 13.5' one room
house with a sleeping loft
and without the comfort of electricity or plumbing for over 30 years.
Her art began with Christmas cards. Her colorful cards, and later paintings,
depicted nostalgic scenes of rural life in Nova Scotia. Her paintings were always
happy and bright.
Maud loved to paint birds, butterflies, flowers, sleigh rides, and teams of oxen
with eye lashes. Her artistic expression went beyond the art board. She decorated
every available surface of their home with her cheery art.
Word of her art and the brightly decorated home beside the road got around in 1965 with the release of a film documentary and a national magazine feature on Maud. White House Secretary under
U.S. President Richard Nixon and Nova Scotia Premier Robert Stanfield
were among those who contacted her to purchase one of her paintings for $5. To Nixon's White House secretary who wrote her on official White House Seal stationery to order a painting Maud wrote back, "You have to send the money first."
Everett continued to live in that house after Maud died in 1970 but was killed
there by an intruder 10 years later. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia reconstructed
the Lewis House and installed it in their Gallery as part of their Permanent
Maud Lewis Exhibit.
Photograph by Bob Brooks, from the book "Maud's
Country Landscapes that inspired the art of Maud Lewis"
Lance Woolaver, from
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