One local artist is gaining a lot of attention. Kevin Dowdy paints beautiful works of art for others to enjoy, but he hasn't even seen the works himself because he is legally blind.

Every Tuesday inside the Salvation Army's Recreate Cafe, you'll find artist Kevin Dowdy painting a masterpiece. He says he gives just about all of his paintings away for free because they make people smile.

"Don't let your disability, stop you from doing anything," said Dowdy

Severe cataracts left him legally blind at the age of 15 in 2000.

"Painting was not on my bucket list when I started here I made it a part of my bucket list to do that," said Dowdy.

The first strokes weren't easy, Dowdy had never had any experience with a paint brush before he lost his sight. One day, he said he just started by painting his visions by memory

"Let your imagination do the talking and your hands be the eyes," said Dowdy.  He uses clay, sand, and his fingers to outline images. His instincts do the rest.

"She's wearing a white dress and white sandals," said Dowdy.
The girl in his picture, reminds him of a new challenge.

"I've never been to a beach but I do want to see the beach," said Dowdy

Kevin paints for the world to see what he cannot. With vivid color he puts his vision to canvas and remembers he really can do anything he wants.

"If you have a disability, don't let your disability get you down," sid Dowdy

The 30-year-old says learning how to D.J. will be his next project, right after he paints a picture for Superstar Lady Gaga.

Dowdy has also made beaded necklaces and bracelets for Valentine's Day. You can find those and many of his paintings for sale at the Not-For- Profit Hart Art Gallery in downtown Chattanooga. The gallery offers homeless and other non-traditional artists an opportunity to create and sell their artwork.