I was one of those people who said, “I cannot draw;” but at forty-six, my remaining vision deteriorated. so there was no time left for mind blocks.
I started to paint with acrylics; and the process is teaching me how I perceive the world.
I perceive Phantom Visions; which are vibrantly coloured and detailed, and spontaneously appear and disappear. The way I see seems magic; because my imagination dresses up a drab scene: a tin shed becomes a creek, dead weed looks like a blossom.
My vision has to guess all the time; so it draws my own world. I create faces; so it is normal to have yellow or purple skin, and missing nose and mouth. On a sunny day, my vision is distorted by glare, lights and shadows; so I appreciate full clouddays and full moon nights.
People often describe my work as surreal, wimsical, bold. I think it has to be. I don’t have the visual judgement to work too much on a piece. Eye tests show that my left eye is now blind, and my right eye has 5%, and I’m colour blind, but I love colour. I can “see” colour my way. Even if I pick up the wrong pastel, it doesn’t matter. If I enjoy the visual impact, I am satisfied.
And when a colour is pointed out, I sometimes can see it as that colour.
I now use pastels more than paint. There is more direct contact with the paper or canvas; and mixing paint colours is a challenge for most artists.
I am asked- How do you get such detail? I don’t really know. Sometimes I don’t look. I guess. I avoid a definite expectation of the final artwork; then I am free for the image to evolve. Glasses do not help; because it is my Optic Nerve that is defective, not my eyes. Hence I cannot adjust nor correct my vision.
Since drawing, I realise that sometimes I don’t know whether I see or perceive what is about me; and this is probably reflected in my work. It is fun to draw creatures that stay still for prolonged periods; as I have time to see them e.g. owls and frogs and humans.
If you think you can’t draw, and you’d like to- try it.
Byron Bay Arts Festiva
Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery
Gwyder Arts Exhibition and Local galleries.