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Blind Arizona artist creates stunning paintings

<i>KTVK/KPHO</i><br/>Foerster is focused on becoming the best artist she can be despite whatever challenges life throws her.
Foerster is focused on becoming the best artist she can be despite whatever challenges life throws her.

By Sarah Robinson

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    GILBERT, Arizona (KPHO, KTVK) — Many people are inspired by art or to create art, and a Gilbert artist is creating her unique works against the odds. She’s finding beauty and working through imperfections.

Now, she has an entire community of people cheering her on and even buying her works of art. “It’s just become lifesaving. When I have my bad days, when I have my grieving days I normally just turn to art,” said Cecilia Foerster.

Foerster has always been an artist. “All my life I’ve been so artsy. I was a barber for about eight or nine years. Barbering in itself is an art,” she said. But one day at work, she noticed some unusual changes. “I actually started noticing my first vision loss symptoms while I was in the barber chair. But I just remember just seeing a black spot and it just kinda went from there.”

Foerster started losing vision in her left eye over the course of a few years, and her doctors were stumped. “He basically told me you have retinal detachment, a spontaneous retinal detachment. There’s no reason for it, honestly,” she explained.

After countless procedures trying to save her vision, she was told there was nothing they could do. “I got my left eye taken out,” she said. After that surgery, she thought things would get better. “This eye started to go as well. I lost my peripheral vision on the left side of my right eye,” she said.

That meant she could no longer be a barber, so she tried something new. “I just kinda channeled that art energy into another, I guess, more canvassy kind of art,” she explained. With every brush stroke, she takes her pain and grief and creates something beautiful. “I do have to get super close to my canvas to see what I’m trying to work on and everything, especially when it comes to the bright colors and everything that I use; it can be a long process. I love using this color because it’s so forgiving,” she said.

Now she’s focused on becoming the best artist she can be despite whatever challenges life throws her. “I have moments where I want to cry all day because it is such a real thing. I don’t mind going blind one day and I know it’s probably gonna happen,” she said.

But it’s not just the art that’s changed her life; it’s the new community of people supporting her every step of the way. “I love showing people what I can make and what I’m capable of. Not just as an artist but a visually impaired artist,” she said.

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