01/21/2014 06:57 EST | Updated 03/23/2014 05:59 EDT

Ontario artist uses toothpicks to paint detailed portraits

An Ontario artist captures portraits in great detail with toothpicks and paint despite his near blindness.

Michael Rilstone, of Grimsby, Ont., went legally blind at the age of 59, losing sight in one of his eyes within less than 24 hours.

"My retina fell right off and after seven operations they finally got it to stay, but now I’m just left with just shadowy sight, which is actually a problem because I see double," Rilstone said.

He became increasingly frustrated with smudging his work with conventional paint brushes and so began painting with a powerful magnifying glass and toothpicks.

He’s been able to get back to his art one drop at a time with this delicate and time-consuming process — with each portrait taking about a month to complete.

Click on the video above to see the story from the CBC's Debbie Lightle-Quan.