HAROLD CROMWELL

"Folk Art Genius" Harold was born in Southville, near Weymouth in December 1919 and died in Weymouth Falls in March 2008. Born to a poor hard working family, he was only able to go to grade one before going to live with his uncle to help with the chores. As a teenager he worked at the Goodwin Hotel, where he taught himself to read, later joining the army and serving overseas. After being wounded, he was sent to Debert to recuperate. It was while he was there that he began to seriously sketch. He worked various jobs before retiring when he had more time for drawing.

Most of his drawings are about life in Weymouth and Weymouth Falls as he remembers it. "It all just comes out of my head". David Woods, associate curator of Black Nova Scotian Art at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia says Cromwell is "a folk art genius. He should be a very celebrated artist. He is one of the giants of Nova Scotia folk Art. No one else has been as prolific - 40 years of documenting a country village just as he remembers it in his head."

If a picture paints a thousand words, then Harold's drawings could fill a library with historical views of Weymouth, personal memoirs and local vignettes. There is clearly a special, though often hidden message in the pen and ink works. He started out working with oils and some water colours, but soon made the switch to what he is most famous for today, folk art done with pen and ink. Harold's work is done with a simple pen or pencil on paper, including paper plates except a few pieces done on wooden plates.

For many years he was at Upper Clement Park and the Annapolis Farmers Market. There is a limited amount of his work at Sissiboo Landing in down town Weymouth. "The Artist ran out of ink, so he decided to sleep."