Saturday, August 19, 2017

Maudie, or Bursting with Joy

Blue and green are so pretty together, yet this is probably the first such a bold combination I've done. I probably told you on numerous occasions that I was a huge fan of green for as long as I can remember, yet in the last few years I've done very little of it, and this skirt (bought back in Spring) is one of my first attempts to add back more green to my closet. It's made of thick cotton, and I love that it keeps its shape.

The blouse, on the other hand, is made of delicate cotton voile, fully lined, and features a gorgeous Hungarian style embroidery. I wanted to find an embroidered blouse or dress all Summer long, and this top does it for me (bought during semi-annual sales for a fraction of the price). I added another folk piece, the enamel earrings that I found in a thrift store last Spring (along with a necklace that I've shown before), and my woven fabric belt which I was so happy to rediscover in my closet - it goes with so many things I wear lately.

So where did I wear this folk inspired outfit? To see a wonderful movie about a famous Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis - Maudie. If you haven't seen it, please go, no, don't go - run to watch it!! It's an amazing example of storytelling, photography, directing and acting, featuring an absolutely genius performance by Sally Hawkins. It's an immediate favorite and will become classic in my personal "best movies ever" list, I'll watch it again and again. Inspiring, moving, heartwarming - those are the things I am craving when it comes to art. Such a rare mix...

Maud Lewis was born in Nova Scotia where she lived all her life (1903-1970). She had a health condition caused by rheumatoid arthritis. She married a fish-monger Everett Lewis (brilliantly played by Ethan Hawke) who encouraged her to paint. She had never seen other artists, never blended paints, and her first art teacher was her mother who told her to make Christmas cards, and that's how it all started for Maud, I suppose. As so many of us, creative types, she wasn't being called an artist until much later in life. Yet, she was a born original artist indeed.

As you can see, her paintings (mostly no bigger than 8 by 10 inches due to the physical difficulty of making bigger brush strokes) depict scenes from life around her. A small maritime town, animals, landscapes, changing seasons, people's activities. Many of them she painted from memories, since she spent most of her time in a tiny house where she lived with Everett. She painted a lot and sold her work for 2 or 3 dollars a piece. Her tiny painted house is now a part of a permanent exhibit in Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. 

In the movie, one of her fans and patrons of her artwork asked Maudie to teach her to paint. To which Maudie said, "Nobody can teach it. I guess if you want to paint, you just paint." These words resonate with me deeply. When we feel the rush to do something - paint, write, dress up - we just have to do it! Forget the rules, the textbooks, the definitions... JUST PAINT! Maudie, of all people, had a very few reasons to be happy. She lived in a tiny one-room house, in poverty, had incurable health issues, and so on. Yet, when I look at her smiley face and her colorful art, I can't help but feel that she was bursting with joy. And that is the biggest measure of a successful life to me. Not how accomplished, confident, recognized or wealthy we are. But how joyful we are, on a day to day basis. So let us not seek for the reasons to be unhappy with ourselves and unsatisfied with our lives. 

Let ourselves do what we love today, and every day! 
Let us surround ourselves with those whom we love! 
Let us simply accept ourselves, with all our quirks!
And let ourselves burst with joy today, and every day!

Blouse - Talbots
Skirt - Eloquii
Shoes - Dansko
Hat, glasses - Lane Bryant (old)
Purse - Old Navy (old)
Belt - Target (old)
Earrings - thrifted

Linking with Visible Monday

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  1. This is lovely! We saw her little house in the Art Gallery in Halifax. Her paintings make you feel just joyful! JanF

    1. Thank you for your comment, Jan! How lucky you are! I would love to see her exhibit so much, maybe some day... <3

  2. thank you very much to introducing me to this marvelous artist!!!
    i fell head over toes in love with her paintings! and thanx to PMS i even cried a bit when reading your wonderful words about maudie and about us........
    never heard about her or had seen the paintings here in europe - maybe i can collect some of maudie´s artwork while i´m on the way to pudget sound to steal this outfit from your back!!! ;-D its sooo pretty <3 <3 <3 i think its like you turned your inner outside - very individual, colorful, chic, comfy, feminine, folky and artsy - yet unpretentious!!
    you´r such a gorgeous present to the world!!!
    tons of hugses and much love!!! xxxxxx

    1. I am deeply touched, my dearest Beate! Thank you! It means so much to me, everything you wrote here. Maud is a great inspiration, one of the biggest in my life. Lots of love!

  3. Oh Natalia how wonderfull! What a great post :) This naive paintings are heart warming! I love it. They reminds me of porcelain dishes we have and I love.
    You look great Natalia, this blouse with embroidery is stunning!
    Big hug and much love and a wonderfull sunday, Tina

    1. I am also a fan of folk art and naive art. There is something incredibly sincere in it, not "thinky", not pretentious, but full of heart and soul. Lots of love, Tina! <3

  4. I'd never heard of Maud Lewis, so thank you for the introduction, Natalia. The movie looks like it's one I'd love, too. My Mum had rheumatoid arthritis as well, maybe not as severe as Maud, but still ... It's an awful condition, so I applaud here for living the life she did. I am a great fan of green myself, and the colour of your skirt is actually my favourite shade of green! Green and blue is a fantastic combination, and your embroidered blouse is fabulous. Well worth waiting for! xxx

    1. Thank you, dearest Ann! I can't even imagine how your Mum suffered, and how Maud suffered physically. They are strong souls, and very admirable! I love this emerald green skirt, it has so much potential! Lots of love, my dear!

  5. GAH! Again I post twice and then accidentally delete both! I tried to say thank you, Natalia, for this charming and inspirational post. I have been revisiting my love for playing the piano and singing lately and thus, started spending some time looking for charts for the songs I wanted to sing and play. It was a frustrating exercise and it just occurred to me yesterday that if I could hear the song in my head and knew the lyrics, why didn't I just sit down and PLAY and let the chord changes come to me!!? "If you want to paint, just paint." I can't believe I read this confirmation the very next day! Like Beate, I shed a few tears over this and not even thanks to PMS. Thank you for this post. I love your outfit - you look more than usual here like a woman who knows herself and likes herself and goes forward in life with her whole heart knowing that what she is doing is making a difference. Keep going! Love and hugs. xo

    1. Dearest Karen, thank you so much for your always wonderful, kind comments! They mean so much to me. I am, like many creative people, struggling with self-doubt. Maudie (the movie and the real person behind the story) is incredibly, deeply moving to me. I am so touched that you, like Beate, were moved too, and also like Beate, sensed the change in me! It tells a lot about you - a sensitive creative soul. Lots of love!

  6. Wyglądasz ślicznie:)))bardzo mi się podoba bluzka i kolczyki:)))Pozdrawiam serdecznie:)))

  7. I think the simple unpretentious art is so you! In your stories, your clothing and in your person. I love how Beate put it. Your outfit is you insideout.
    You radiate joy!
    xo Jazzy Jack

  8. Maude certainly had an eye for colour! It always amazes me how many people despite crippling pain and hardship created such beauty, either through music, writing and art. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
    The embroidery on your top is just my kind of thing and the skirt and belt are perfect accompaniments. xxx

    1. Spirit is impossible to kill - it only gets stronger. Thank you, Vix!

  9. Such an amazing art she made!, love the colorful näif style in her paintings, the joy, the inspiration!. Thanks for sharing this information! I'm now pretty interested in watched this film!. Love your inspiring and encouraging attitude!
    And you look absolutely gorgeous, and I love the beautiful green skirt, the fab embroidered blouse, the accessories!, everything!

  10. Thank you for sharing these wonderful paintings, and Maud's story. I am sad to say I had not heard of her before, but I will see this movie ASAP. Your embroidered blouse is completely beautiful too, and thanks for sharing with Visible Monday. xo


  11. I'm absolut in love with the details of your look - the green details the earrings – this is perfekt match!!!!

    Greets from the EDELFABRIK Chrissie

  12. Dearest Natalia,

    I love your touching words about Maud Lewis. She really looks like a person who loves her live – I think, she was able to „paint it good“. (Is it understandable, what I mean?) Hopefully they will show the movie about her live in Austria, too. Oh, and your outfit was perfect for watching this movie – full of fresh and lovely country-feeling!

    Hugs from here and happy weekend,

    Traude (who loves green, too!)

    1. I understand perfectly, dear Traude! Hope you will be able to find this movie in Austria!