Cleaning up my studio this week I found a card I framed years ago and hung when my writing desk was jammed in a closet. The smile on my face was instantaneous and the sigh that passed my lips more than audible. I found my picture of Maud Lewis.
Maud Lewis was a Nova Scotia artist. Her style is much copied and the whole lot generally called Nova Scotia folk art. The diminutive woman, crippled from childhood polio, lived in abject poverty but appears to have found incredible joy in painting. And for decades now that joy passes to nearly every single person who sees her tiny paintings.
Her paintings depict rural Nova Scotia life. Snippets and details captured in saturated colours on tiny canvasses, boards, cookie sheets, and more. They glow with life. Click here for a snippet of her work (I don't have permission to share the images.)
For me, there is phenomenal inspiration from this woman. Her house sits in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. It is about the size of my sewing room. The entire house is the size of my sewing room. Covered in her paintings with nearly every surface accentuated by colour. It is nothing short of a happy place. I can only imagine what it was like when her energy truly filled the place. It is the perspective of joy in such a place, in such poverty, that smacks me on the face when I need it. (It truly was serendipity that I found the photo this week.)
One day, when I am rich I will get my hands on one of her tiny paintings. I will put it on a large white wall so I can sit and stare at it all day long. And it will make me think of my alternate soul in Nova Scotia, an inspiring woman, and the perspective I constantly need slapped across my cheek.