In 2001 John Bramblitt changed his epilepsy medication. Unfortunately his body had a bad reaction to the new medicine and his epileptic seizures got so severe that the damage caused his vision to go from 20/400 (double the limit for legal blindness) to complete blindness. While John maintained light perception he was no longer able to see shadows or color. Strangely, it wasn’t until John lost his eyesight that he started to paint.
Below you will find some of John’s amazing paintings along with insight into how he paints. On his website FAQ John goes into tremendous detail about his thoughts on blindness and how it has changed his outlook on life. Be sure to check it out if you want to learn more about John and his condition.
Prints are available through his website and you can see much more of John’s artwork at the links below.
How do you paint without eyesight?
“Basically what I do is replace everything that the eyes would do for a sighted artist with the sense of touch… The raised lines take care of finding your placement on the canvas… When it comes to handling color I typically use one of two methods. The first I used primarily with oil paints. Because oil paints are made from different substances they have a viscosity and texture that varies slightly from color to color. By adding medians to the pain such as Liquin and paint thinners I can alter the way the paint feels even more. For example: Titanium White is very thick like toothpaste while Ivory Black is fairly runny – more like oil. In order to mix a gray halfway between white and black you simply mix for a texture that is halfway between the thick and thin paints.” [continued below]
“The second method is more like using a recipe. Paints such as watercolors, acrylics, inks, and resin-based paints all feel similar to the touch, and changing the texture can make these paints difficult to use. All of the bottles and paint tubes in my studio are Brailled, and when mixing colors I use recipes. In other words I will measure out different portions of each color that I need to produce the right hue. This is no different than using a recipe to bake a cake.”
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