South Jersey painter slowly losing sight continues his craft

A South Jersey painter loves his craft, but it's getting harder for him all because of a disease that is slowly taking his sight.

FOX 29 Photojournalist Bill Rohrer has the story. 

Robert Conly, or as his friends call him Bobby, fell in love with art started at a young age.

"I remember sitting in the church pews drawling birds or back then it was airplanes," he told FOX 29.

Now, Bobby has his own studio inside his South Jersey home.

"It didn’t get bad until 15 years ago. Before that, it was an annoyance. Then, it got to a point where my right eye is almost totally blind. I can see light through it but there is really no detail there," he explained.

He has Stargardt macular dystrophy, which is a degenerative eye disease that takes away the vision in the center of the eye. Bobby made a video describing his condition.

"Everything I look at it’s like having a coat of Vaseline over it. You might be able to make out a bit of what it is. Basically, it is just blurred out," Bobby said.

Even with the loss of detail, Bobby still paints.

Bobby taught himself a way around it.  People don’t just like Bobby’s work, they love it. His friends usually buy up it up before it is even finished.

"With inspiration like that it makes you keep going," he said.

His work comes from photos around his town. He is always looking for his next art creation.

"It makes for a better life. It is short. It is very fast and I think you have to make more of it," he said.