I see the world differently now than when I was sighted, both in a physical way but also emotionally, these paintings are my most earnest and sincere means of trying to understand what true perception is. When I lost my sight I thought I would be cast into a world of darkness; to my surprise, this is not what happened. Being an artist gave me a way to explore this new perceptual world that I found myself in, and more importantly, a way to reach out and connect with those around me.
Color has more meaning for me since having lost my vision, and in truth, the world is a far more colorful place now than when I was sighted. I am no longer limited to the arbitrary colors of objects, in other words, the color that is seen when light reflects off of something. Color of this kind has more to do with the type and quality of light being reflected than with any essential quality about the object itself. Color is so much more than this – it is emotion and feeling; for me, it is the expression of the inner unseen nature of the object or person being observed.
The way that I ‘see’ with my hands is real and concrete – I visualize, in my mind, through touch. I also see color when I hear music – I always have – it’s called synesthesia, but it’s an ability that has become stronger over the years since losing my sight. Because of these odd relationships, of using senses in unusual ways, I began to wonder how else the senses may harmonize with one another.
Color is the perfect vehicle to express the senses, because there is an almost infinite range of colors to choose from, and they interact with each other in complex ways (blending, mixing, complementing, contrasting, etc.) which elegantly mirrors even the most complex sensory reactions. Color can easily express, for example, the high and low notes of a glass of wine, and how the flavors interrelate and mingle together to affect the palette. Or to portray the way the notes of a piece of music weave and interact with one another to create emotional strength.Many of my pieces include figurative or written elements; I think of these as the bones of the painting; they are the framework on which the color of the painting hangs. The imagery provided serves to guide our focus on the ideas and emotions being carried by the abstract use of color in the painting. I enjoy using combinations of both figurative and abstract elements in my work; to me, it most accurately represents the blending of the physical, intellectual, and emotional aspects that all come together to form our perception.
The world around us is filled with poetry; with physical metaphors that add to our understanding and give breadth and depth to our lives. They add color and vitality to what otherwise could be a very bleak and unremarkable landscape. With the right kind of eyes you can see beneath the skin of things; you can lift the veil, and see to the true color of what lies around us.
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