Recently, I posted about the fears some artists have: What do Artists Fear
The response to that post has been overwhelming! Most artists fear how their paintings will turn out, if they will be accepted by peers… or whether they will make any money from selling art.
But, there is one real fear that many artists are facing, that is losing one’s eyesight and even going blind.
This is a comment from Harry van Deelen.
“A few years ago I have had an red and painful eye, the oculist told me that I have a rheumatic ignited eye, I get medication and still is my left eye going backwards I need special glasses for it. And the oculist told that it happened that the next time the other eye will get an ignition. In that case I have to started directly with medication. I am certainly afraid for blindness, because such is the case by more artists. For a virtual artist it is one of the most important things that can happened.”
Harry van Deelen
As artists, we rely on our eyesight to paint and create. Many of us, especially older artists, have failing eyesight and fear becoming completely blind. It is important to realize that artists can be considered clinically blind, and still work as an artist.
In fact, most artists labelled as blind artists do not experience 100% vision impairment. Artists who still have some perception of light and form can use this to create art.
Even if an artist suddenly becomes blind, from an accident for example, the artist can still use the “mind’s eye” to create art.
There are many 100% blind artists who paint.
Blindness is debilitating, but even this does not make it impossible to create art. As you can read from this article (Famous blind painters), even blindness does not keep some artists from pursuing their passion. This article mentions famous blind painters, such as Dmitri, Lisa Fittipaldi, John Bramblitt, Esref Armagan and Le Duy Ung.
Can you think of any famous artists from history who painted in spite of failing eyesight?
Claude Monet painted even though he had failing eyesight, and painted his Water Lily series even though he was visually impaired. Van Gogh often complained of vision problems in his letters, and is rumoured to have been colour blind.
Here are some other blind or visually impaired painters:
Eşref Armağan is a blind painter from Turkey. Eşref was born without eyes, and taught himself to read, write and even paint. He has been painting with oils for over 35 years.
Keith Salmon is a British fine artist who originally created sculptures, but because of deteriorating eyesight began to concentrate on painting and drawing. Though registered as blind, he is an avid hill walker, and paints and draws from his experiences in the countryside.
Terry Hopwood Jackson
Terry Hopwood Jackson is an artist from the UK who continues to create art in spite of being completely blind. His site The Art Sight was created to inspire other fully or partially blind artists to continue painting. Terry creates his paintings by first creating texture with plasticine, and then painting with acrylic paint. The plasticine is treated as a sketch which differentiates parts of the painting from other parts. In this way, he is able to establish his image even before painting on color. Terry proves to us that it is indeed possible for a blind person to create art.
Do you know of any other blind or partially blind artists who should be added to this list?
If you have eye problems, how do you cope with it for painting and creating art?
Is vision loss a concern of yours?