A victim of age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that causes vision loss, 94-year-old McLean thought she’d never be able to paint again. Unable to paint fine lines and intricate details anymore, her work has strayed into the abstract, but that may have been for the best, McLean said.
“In spite of the fact this eye business is so awful, it really has improved my painting,” McLean said. “I guess it just goes to show that good does come out of the bad. I thought I wouldn’t be able to paint anymore but I can and it’s just great.“
McLean, a Rowayton resident for nearly 40 years, was recently featured in a show at St. Paul’s on The Green in Norwalk. The exhibit featured roughly 15 of her paintings as well as the work of another artist. McLean is also a member of the Rowayton Arts Center and has been a part of several area artists organizations through the years.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, McLean developed a lifelong love of drawing and painting. As the wife of an Air Force serviceman and a mother of one, she took classes when she could but didn’t started painting full time until after her husband died in 1984. That’s when she converted a back bedroom at her Rowayton home into the studio she still uses today.
“After my husband passed, I was by myself,” McLean said. “My son was married and I could go ahead and do what I want to do. I‘m just so glad I was able to turn it into something I love so much.“