Being registered as blind doesn’t stop this gran from creating beautiful drawings and paintings.

Margaret McNeil, a 95-year-old pensioner from Bothwell, has produced more than 350 works of art despite her poor eyesight.

She’s completely blind in one eye and partially blind in the other, and instead uses her sense of touch and memory to create her pieces.

When Margaret’s husband George passed away in 1994, she started to attend art classes.

That’s where the former dress-fitter met local artist and teacher Duncan Brown, who picked up on her passion for painting and encouraged her to keep going even as her eyesight started to deteriorate.

Margaret said: ‘I’ve always been into painting and used to paint stones from the beach and would give them as presents to people to use as doorstops.

‘It was not long after my husband had died and I didn’t feel like going along but I did and everyone was so nice.

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‘I was 71 years old and there was a tap dancing class on, which I really enjoyed, and after speaking to the class leaders they referred me to local art teacher, Duncan Brown.

‘So I went along and met Duncan and we’ve been great friends ever since.

‘I lost the sight in my left eye and I said I should stop going to the classes, but Duncan said I mustn’t give up.

‘I have done all the paintings from memory, which sounds daft. I can’t do as much as I used to but I get there.’

Her paintings of animals, birds and landscapes are skillful and eye-catching, and unless you know Margaret personally, you wouldn’t realise that she only has partial sight in one of her eyes.

Margaret is a mother of two and grandmother of three, and she still lives an active life.

She enjoys baking and giving her cakes away to the local church, police station and dentist.


Margaret is proof that you don’t need 20/20 vision to enjoy putting pencil to paper.

Painter John Bramblitt for example, only picked up a paintbrush in 2001, after he lost his sight to epilepsy.

He uses braille labels on his supplies and textured paints to help him feel his way around the canvas, with enabling him to ‘see’ his subjects.

Amazingly, Turkish artist Eşref Armağan was born totally blind but taught himself to write and paint.

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He produces artworks that use colour, shading and perspective after listening to vivid descriptions of the visual world from his father as a child.

Poor eyesight – or no eyesight at all – doesn’t mean you have to stop being creative.

Keep on painting Margaret, you’ve got skills.




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