Home Is Where the Art Is: The Unlikely Story of Folk Artist Maud Lewis
By Susan Stamberg & Alexxa Gotthardt
There’s no rain in her clouds, no gray in her shadows; Maud Lewis’ small paintings are bright with sunshine, and filled with blue skies, crystal snow and calm waters.
Lewis was born in 1903 in the small, seaside town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. She had no formal training, but got her start painting Christmas cards with her mother, which they sold for 25 cents. As an adult, she used leftover house paint to brighten walls, bread boxes, cookie sheets – even the stove – with butterflies, tulips and swans. Canvas was expensive and hard to come by, so Lewis painted on beaver boards and Masonite – and she did it all from her own imagination.
 canvas 帆布，可用作画布。
 beaver board 一种纤维板，用作建筑材料。
 Masonite 美森耐复合板，用作建筑材料。
“I’ve never seen any paintings from other artists,” said Lewis.
Lewis had rheumatoid arthritis, which made it difficult for her to work, even as a young woman. To support herself, she took a job cooking and cleaning for a fish peddler – Everett Lewis, a man she would later marry.
 rheumatoid arthritis 类风湿性关节炎。
After she moved into Everett’s home, she began painting on its wooden surfaces. She’d travel into town with Everett and sell unique handpainted Christmas cards, and then moved on to larger surfaces: boards cut by her husband. Her paintings show scenes she glimpsed through her little home’s window, and memories from childhood or her infrequent trips to town. There are oxen decorated with bells and flanked by trees exploding with pink blossoms; carriages filled with brightly outfitted people, trailed by bounding dogs; seagulls soaring over placid seaside landscapes. And then there are the fan favorites: wide-eyed cats lounging in tulip fields.
 flank 在……的侧面。
 soar 翱翔；高飞。
 lounge 懒洋洋地站（或坐、躺）着。
Claire Stenning, an art dealer and early supporter, describes her sense of Lewis’s compositions in the 1965 documentary. They have a “childlike, tremendous feeling,” she said. “No shadows at all. Everything is happy and gay and quick and lively.”
 指1965年加拿大广播公司（Canadian Broadcasting Corporation，简称 CBC）《望远镜》（Telescope）栏目制作的纪录片The Once-Upon-a-Time World of Maud Lewis，讲述刘易斯的作品和生平。
The joyousness of Lewis’s paintings may be surprising given the difficulties she faced. As a child, she was made fun of for her arthritis, which worsened over the course of her life, gnarling her body and hands.
 gnarl 使扭曲。
Lewis painted what she saw – cows, horses, cats, oxen – “often with a very cheeky sense of humor,” says Shannon Parker, Curator of Collections at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax. The gallery has 55 of Lewis’ paintings in their permanent collection.
 cheeky 鲁莽的；放肆的。
Lewis became known in the late 1960s, as passing tourists saw her sign: “Paintings for Sale.” These were landscapes, painted on boards. She charged $2.00, later, $5.00.
“She was very hesitant to ask for more money,” Parker says.
A writer learned about her, there was a magazine article, then the CBC interviewed her, and eventually she couldn’t keep up with the demand. She began selling her pictures while they were still wet. Now her paintings sell for $8,500 to $20,000.
After Lewis and her husband died, their entire house – a work of art in and of itself – was moved from its original location in the 1980s as part of an effort by a group of concerned citizens to save this valued landmark. The final, fully restored house is on permanent display in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. In the years before she died, Lewis told the CBC she rarely left home. “Contented right here in this chair,” she said. “Ain’t much for travel anyway. As long as I’ve got a brush in front of me, I’m all right.”
Parker thinks Maud’s popularity and her story is a work of slow magic. “They didn’t have a lot of money,” Parker says. “They had no running water, they had no electricity. [She] was very limited in what she was able to do with her life. And yet her artwork was what she wanted to do and it’s something she was able to do. And touched so many other people. That’s pretty amazing.”