Small-Town Nova Scotia Folk Artist Hits The Big Screen

Mike Crisolago | April 13th, 2017

Popular among the film festival crowd, Maudie tells the story of a small town folk artist from Nova Scotia who was larger than life.

A small-town Nova Scotia woman with severe arthritis married to a fish pedlar hardly seems like the subject of a big screen biopic, but nothing about Maud Lewis was ordinary.

She married Everett Lewis in her mid-30s, after applying for a job as the live-in housekeeper for his one-room home. She sold her hand-drawn postcards along her husband’s fish route, turning to painting full time when her work, such as Fall Scene With Deer circa 1950 (below), gained popularity.


Though she never made much money from her work, she counted everyone from her neighbours to U.S. President Richard Nixon as patrons. She eventually became one of Canada’s most celebrated folk artists, and the movie of her life, Maudie, starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, has proven a hit at film fests across Canada. Fans can even visit the tiny home where Lewis lived and painted until her death in 1970. It actually resides inside the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.


In theatres April 14, 2017 – Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver; April 21, 2017 – Calgary, Edmonton, Montréal, Victoria, Winnipeg

Watch the movie trailer here

 A version of this article appeared in the March 2017 issue on p. 18.