Before going blind, he cared for The Grand Hotel's gardens. Now he paints them.
Art Business

Before going blind, he cared for The Grand Hotel’s gardens. Now he paints them.

EAST LANSING – Even before David Penfold went blind he would see gardens in his head first. He would stand in front a building or plot of land and hold up his hand to cover different sections of the landscape from view, asking himself, "What is this missing?" “I would see a spot and go back to the greenhouse and tell my crew, ‘I need this, this and this,’" Penfold, 63, said. "I wouldn’t have to write it down.” For three decades Penfold’s business was about making things beautiful. A professional landscaper, he got his start at 27 working at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Then he stayed on as the property’s head gardener for 15 years. Penfold oversaw filling The Grand Hotel’s wide, expansive porch with dozens of flower boxes filled with geraniums and lining the ground’s walkways with thousands of tulips in the spring. For three years he also served as gardener for hotel owner R.D. Musser’s personal estate. East Lansing artist David Penfold’s art show at the Hannah Community Center Public Art Gallery is called "Mackinac Island: Beauty from the Heart." Penfold is legally blind but paints what he’s seen from memory and photos. He […]

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