Working with a Visual Impairment
I have a good amount of useful vision but I have a life-long sight problem that cannot be corrected with glasses and there is no treatment for it. It reached the point about fifteen years ago that I had to stop driving and at that point I was registered as ‘Visually Impaired’. The long term prognosis is good, it is unlikely to get significantly worse. When I was registered I thought I should put my creative energies into writing as I had set up my computer with an extra magnified screen and text to speech software. I guess the best way of describing my sight is to say it is patchy, like a windscreen with lots of misty grey areas. The parts that aren’t misty are normal for someone my age. Text is tricky but I am used to putting together what I see. Thankfully my mind’s eye is strong and well trained.
After many years of ups and downs, and stop-starts, I have ended up doing more artwork than ever. I get a lot from writing but when I am making my work I feel connected with nature, I get to leave my usual cluttered thinking behind, I am free, I am myself. Computers are great but when I open a pot of fresh paint it is like opening a fresh tin of coffee.
So I stopped trying to stop and embraced the idea of being a visually impaired artist. I stopped worrying quite so much about what others may think about the idea too. That is why I am writing this post. The salient point is, having a sight problem does not mean you have to stop making artwork. In continuing your creative endeavours you are making use of what you have and exercising your mind’s eye. The eyes are the lens and your mind’s eye is where the information takes form.
So I use a massive sketchbook, and paint on boards 3’ x 4’. I actually feel like my work is getting better.
text and image
by Jasper Morley