I have always been interested in art from a young age but after becoming visually impaired in 1999 I put down my brushes and sketch pads for approximately 6 years. After talking to a work colleague who was a mature student at a local Art College, it reignited my passion for Art and we spent many hours discussing art, techniques and different artists’ styles and mediums. We spent time looking at various forms of contrast on sketch pads and found that, although I had such limited vision, the magic for being creative in Art again could be a possibility.
As an artist with a visual impairment, going out and ‘experiencing’ the visual world is not without its challenges: I am not always able to rely upon my limited sight and therefore need to use my awareness of other sensory elements: sounds, smells; the ground beneath my feet and the textures that nature has created. I am fortunate enough to have really good friends who accompany me and help to describe the world around me. I try to capture as many images on camera as possible and then aim to transfer these into artwork using either pastels or acrylics on canvas. More recently, I have gone on to sketch using acrylic and oils and have developed my skills into the examples you see today.
My influences for landscape pieces has come from artists such as Bob Ross, whereas my love of pencil sketches and sketching people was borne from Heather Rooney who simply uses coloured pencils to copy photographic images of people. My love of sport and previous study of anatomy and physiology led me to sketch images of the body in different forms. I am also interested in Sally Booth, an artist with a visual impairment who shares her perspective of how ‘she sees the world’.
I am currently undertaking a community social venture (LJEnterprises) where I aim to support the development of confidence in others [both able-bodied and disabled], whether through Art projects or Health and Well-being activities( I am also a qualified fitness instructor, massage therapist and counsellor). The world of visual impairment can be a frustrating and lonely one and I believe that Art has helped me to feel a sense of well-being and empowerment, enabling me to feel equal to my sighted counterparts. I hope that, ultimately, I may share my strengths and life experience and offer opportunities to support other’s confidence, improving their spirit, well-being and re-connection with others.
My goal is to have my work displayed in as many places as possible, whether for public or private viewing and to undertake commissions but ultimately to be able create a greater awareness of ‘the art of visual impairment’ and share my passion with people from a variety of diverse backgrounds.
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