Color-blind artist uses bright hues Area peers honor him second time

November 17, 1993|By Amy P. Ingram | Amy P. Ingram,Contributing Writer

Don Irwin will never see the bright greens and blues of his oil paintings quite the way others do. He's been color blind since birth.

"I make all of my colors brilliant so I can see them," said the 79-year old Glen Burnie man. "Though at times my skies are green and my grass is blue."

His paintings are viewed by nearly one hundred people a day as they pass through the lounge at the Pascal Senior Center in Glen Burnie. He was named Artist of the Month by area artists who teach at the center for the second time in eight years.

Nancy Allred, assistant activity director at the center, said the seniors can see Mr. Irwin's outlook on life through his paintings.

"He has a knack for finding beauty in the things around him. He's our sunshine person," she said.

Mr. Irwin likes to paint nature scenes overshadowed by a single object that often appears out of place. The cliffs in his painting Arches National Park, Utah, are blurred behind a single dead tree, standing just to the right of center, that he added to upset the scene.

In Toll House, a favorite of the seniors, Mr. Irwin paints an old house with shutters askew, holes in the roof, and a collapsing porch directly in the center of the canvas, making the rolling hills and trees in the background seem insignificant.

Most of his works are created from a memory, but none of the paintings duplicate what he saw.

"I like the variety. I like making pictures different," said Mr. Irwin.

Mr. Irwin said that his painting, which he started 17 years ago to relieve stress, sometimes causes him frustration because he's not always sure of the color.

"My wife helps me out sometimes," he said. "But I'm learning to not care and do just what comes natural."

Mr. Irwin's paintings may been seen at the Pascal Senior Center until the end of the month. For more information: 222-6680.

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