Maud Lewis is probably the best known naive or folk artist who painted in Canada in the 20th Century. She lived and worked virtually her whole life near Digby, Nova Scotia. Maud Lewis was self-taught, and painted her subject-matter of the life that she had experienced in Nova Scotia with a simple happy treatment. In Maud Lewis’s paintings, her sun nearly always shines, and there is little trace of the dark side of life, which must have been a considerable part of her own personal experience. Maud Lewis suffered from arthritis, which largely crippled her. Her right arm was bound to her side by the arthritis, resulting in great difficulty in moving her arm.
Without access to standard art materials, Maud rendered her works with marine or house paints on particleboard or cardboard with crude bristle brushes. For a palette she used sardine tins. None of this, however, hindered her ability to capture the essence of her subjects, infuse them with life, dignity, and meaning.
She lived in a tiny 10' by 12' cabin in Marshalltown near Digby with her husband Everett. She lived without electricity or running water, and used to help her husband sell fish from the old model-T Ford that he used for deliveries. Sometimes she would sell her paintings at the same time. Her tiny cabin is now at the possession of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Maud Lewis was recognized and revered in her own lifetime. She offered her engaging images to the passing world through her roadsign “Paintings for Sale” and was rewarded by the enthusiastic response she received from both the community and tourists, as well as from art collectors.