Clementine Hunter was born on Hidden Hill Plantation in 1886. At the age of 15, she moved to Melrose Plantation, just south of Natchitoches, Louisiana where she picked cotton and pecans in the 1920s and eventually became a domestic worker.
Clementine had spent much of her life laboring in fields but when she arrived at Melrose, she discovered paints and brushes left behind by a visiting artist. Clementine began “marking a picture” (her description of painting). Inside her cabin on the ground of Melrose, she “marked pictures” with scenes of plantation life including picking cotton, gathering pecans, washing clothes, ceremonial baptisms and funeral scenes. Clementine always used discarded items as her canvas including window shades, cardboard boxes, jugs, bottles and gourds.