What is it that makes an artist 'great'? Some would say their ability to render photographic renditions of life around them. I disagree. Some would say their ability to shock, to instruct, to titillate. I disagree. Some would say their ability to sell to collectors, galleries and museums. I disagree.
Great art comes straight from the heart, and powerfully connects to someone else. Maud Lewis, crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, unschooled and impoverished was a great artist. She was consumed by a compulsion to joyfully paint her response to the abundant life that surrounded her in Nova Scotia. She painted every inch of her tiny cabin. She lived without electricity or running water, but not without her painting.
Maud's paintings spring from somewhere deep inside her, and jump out and grab your imagination and your heart. She was a great artist.
Sharon Frayne is a writer and artist. She is a member of the Canadian Author's Association, the Niagara Writer's Circle and the Pumphouse Art Gallery. She looks for the universal experience and the mystery in everyday things.