Ireland's First Blind Artist
We were heading for Waterford for the night. Suddenly we were in a small village and needed a break from the driving. In Clifden, the touristy village on Connemara’s coast, we had purchased a small painting and I was thinking about where I could pick up an inexpensive frame. There before us was a second hand store which you don't see often in Ireland. We decided to go in and see what was available. It was a small shop with everything distributed haphazardly around the room. There in the piles of stuff was a small red frame that was perfect for the painting.
I asked the woman sitting in the corner how much she wanted for the frame. She asked what size was it and what color. I held it up and said this one. She said "I can't see - I am blind".
"Oh I am very sorry to hear that" and I described it in detail - red about 4x6 and went on to say I was an artist and always on the lookout for a frame. She said it was a pound (punt) and she knew what I was talking about because she was an artist before she lost her sight. After a few minutes of discussion she told us that she manages with the help of her daughter. We talked about her eyesight and what caused the blindness. She said she could see shadows in dark grays. I told her to paint what she could see. I said in Ireland that could be mistaken as a normal coloring of the day. She was laughing and so I kidded her about following in the tradition of blind poet, blind piper and blind harpist for which Ireland was famous. Perhaps she could become the first Blind Artist in Ireland.
She said she could see shadows and light and dark. I told her to have her daughter lay out her paints left to right and get back to painting; she could be a very famous artist. We laughed about that and she seemed to be in good spirits as we prepared to leave. She said help yourself to a painting of Padre Pio in the small dish. She had painted his portrait when she could see. It was very well done and there were a number of them in a shallow dish. We picked up one and said good bye and continued on our trip. I had no idea who Padre Pio was but would learn soon enough.
Padre Pio in color
More adventures of Padre Pio and the Celtic Sea.