The colourful and distinctive art of Maud Lewis has become very well known in recent years, thanks in no small part to a movie about the Nova Scotia folk artist's life.

But some of Maud's descendants are only now getting a personal look at her work. Four generations of descendants visited the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Thursday, where they saw her little house for the first time.

They say the visit was like a homecoming for their family.

“I was a little bit overwhelmed,” said Marsha Benoit, Maud Lewis's granddaughter, who is from Ontario.

“The house is just, wow, I'm baffled, I'm just overwhelmed with this house."

Benoit says, growing up her mother, Catherine, rarely spoke of her mother, Maud.

The family says Maud never acknowledged the daughter she had before marriage.

“She told me that when she was older,” Benoit said. “And nothing more was said. Or spoken of.”

For Maud's great-grandchildren, the experience is eye-opening for the artistic legacy she left behind for the family.

“I’m just happy that she's recognized,” said Paul Benoit, Maud Lewis's great-grandson. “And my mom can see all this – it means the world.”

“I’m excited to be here with my grandmother,” said Kaylyn Melanson, Maud’s great-great-granddaughter. “I’m glad she got to come and experience this because it’s very exciting for all of us.”

Benoit says she wants Canadians to remember Maud Lewis as a happy woman and is forever grateful that her grandmother's paintings and home are here at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

“How privileged it is to be here, and be part of her family,” Benoit said. “And of all of this … it's pretty, pretty cool.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Suzette Belliveau.