Yet this month, through a combination of grit and positive attitude, the watercolor artist launched her work in three shows simultaneously.
McNew, a retired
She had previously struggled through school and college, knowing something wasn't right. Then the disease progressed.
"There was a time I couldn't read even though I was teaching first graders to read," she said.
The progressive eye disease now obstructs most of the painter's central vision. McNew describes what she can see as two C-shaped rims of peripheral vision with some color blindness mixed in. Yet, shortly after her retirement three years ago, McNew decided to try her hand a painting.
She signed up for one of renowned painter
"She works very close up," Murphy said.
He has worked with a handful of painters with limited vision during his teaching career, some of them with worse vision than McNew.
"She works with her shortcomings by being more descriptive of what's going on."
McNew contends she doesn't really have her own style yet. She continues to learn new techniques and experiment. Most days, she rides a BATA bus from her home near
Other times she works in her home studio.
"I never had expected to do this, but why not," McNew said. "I always liked to draw."
She completed a total of 60 paintings that now are on display at the
She also makes custom hand-painted greeting cards for friends and acquaintances.
McNew enjoys to paint barns and other old buildings as well as flowers. She creates her works from photographs and by looking through her thick glasses with her face a short distance from her paper.
"They're thicker than bottles," she said grabbing the ever-present glasses hanging from her neck.
The technique means McNew only can see a small portion of her work at once. It also gives her a unique style.
Some painters intentionally distort their works because of a personal vision, while McNew's work is influenced by her actual vision.
"With Peggy, it's an honest approach and has a sort of charm," Murphy said.
If you'd like to see McNew's work, it will be on display through the end of May in the
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