The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday February 1st

Partially blind artist displays artwork of flowers

Maggie Love, 88, paints "happy paintings" that are now on display at University Mall. She has macular degeneration and is starting to lose her eyesight, which makes painting more difficult. She continues to paint and now does more abstract work. Love poses with her artwork in her home at Galloway Ridge retirement community at Fearrington.
Buy Photos Maggie Love, 88, paints "happy paintings" that are now on display at University Mall. She has macular degeneration and is starting to lose her eyesight, which makes painting more difficult. She continues to paint and now does more abstract work. Love poses with her artwork in her home at Galloway Ridge retirement community at Fearrington.

Maggie Love is living proof that age is but a number.

Love, who suffers from partial blindness as a result of macular degeneration, will display 15 paintings at University Mall as part of its Artist of the Month program.

see the exhibit

Time: Now through Jan. 15
Location: University Mall, near Peacock Alley
Info: www.universitymallnc.com

“She’s 88 years young,” said Pat Richardson, director of community relations at Galloway Ridge Retirement Community, where Love resides.

“She’s the person in the crowded room where if someone isn’t being treated fairly or taken advantage of, she speaks up for them. She’s an angel.”

Love, who is from Kenbridge, Va., has been termed a colorist by her peers for her paintings’ vivid colors.

Love said she paints mostly flowers because she loves them so much.

“I don’t grow ’em and I don’t wanna fool with ’em, but I love to paint ’em,” she said. “I love barns and fences and the country and country roads.”

Love has also saved up reference material from magazines over the last 40 years.

“Sometimes, like the last two I’ve done, have just been out of my head. These florals I do, they just come to me,” she said.

Love said that her condition is worsening and she can no longer see faces, only forms. But she doesn’t think this makes her special — especially since her inspiration, Claude Monet, also suffered from poor eyesight in later years.

“There have been other people that’ve done it,” she said. “Some of (Monet’s) paintings, you can see that they’re not like his earlier paintings. But Monet is my inspiration. I love his work, and I love his colors.”

Love said she started painting in her 40s after deciding she’d already done all she could do. After raising two boys, she enrolled in oil portrait classes, which led to acrylics.

“You’re just in a complete other world. You don’t hear the phone ring. You don’t care if you’re eating. That’s part of it,” she said. “You sort of lose yourself from your everyday problems and you can rejuvenate your life.”

Jeanette Gulledge, marketing director of University Mall, saw Love’s artwork when she was touring Galloway Ridge.

“Ms. Love’s work exudes her relentless perseverance to continue to paint even in light of a degenerative eye condition,” she said. “The bright colors capture her great attitude and uplifting spirit.”

Both Love and her husband, Clarence, live in the same building at the retirement community. She checks on him daily.

“He’s always encouraged me and was very understanding when I didn’t have supper ready in time because I was painting,” she said.

Love said her paintings are her children, but it’s a thrill to sell them.

“I hope they fall in love with them and buy every one of them. I’ll let every one of them go. I’ll share,” she said.

Love is the first resident of Galloway Ridge to have her own art exhibit. She has won several awards in Florida, and her artwork has been featured in Richmond, Va.

“Don’t give up on it,” Love said about painting. “Later in life, it’ll give you the most joy. Don’t give up.”

arts@dailytarheel.com

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