Louisville painter with Down Syndrome gaining following

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville painter won't let anything hold her back. Megan Hawk's portfolio of bold, beautiful colors create the illusion that the animals could come to life at any moment.

"Her birds have a little bit of character to them, a little bit of personality," said her teacher Charlotte Link, who helps Hawk express her vision at Link's Art Splash studio in St. Matthews.

"She gives them a little bit stronger contrast in some regards than I do sometimes, but I like keeping it that way because it makes it Megan's," said Link.

She has a unique talent, and what makes her art even more special is she's an artist who happens to have Down Syndrome.

"God gave me this special thing. I'm an artist," said Megan.

At 31 years-old, Hawk's only been painting for a handful of years. And had it not been for a class at Jefferson Community and Technical College, the talent could have gone undiscovered. 

"She was born with it and I'm just glad we fell into it like we did," said Megan's mom, Sandra.

After graduating from high school, Hawk started at JCTC through Down Syndrome of Louisville's College Connections Program. It was there she enrolled in a painting course. Link volunteered to accompany Hawk to class. An artist herself, she had no idea what would become of the partnership.

"I wasn't sure to what capacity because I'd never met Megan until the classes and she grasped things very well and she's got a very good eye for color," said Link.

Now once a week, Hawk comes to Link's studio and the two paint for hours.

"I got a picture, then you draw it and after that we paint," said Megan.

"Megan has her own flair of just adding a little bit more personality and her own style," said Link.

She's creating spectacular art that draws in customers and has them coming back for more. "They say I want to buy the paintings," said Megan.

"I'm so proud of her, especially when they come back and they want another one or when they commission her for another one. I think I thought she was good, but I didn't know she was that good," said Sandra.

With every masterpiece she sells, she works toward her goal of buying herself something special: a hot tub, is her ultimate goal. But she's accomplishing so much more with every stroke of the brush.

"She'll say 'you know Charlotte, God created me for something very special and I'm an artist," said Link.

Copyright 2018 WDRB News. All rights reserved.