Blind artist John Bramblitt paints by his sense of touch. John started to lose his sight when he was 8-years-old. By the time he was 30, he started having seizures, which rendered him completely blind.
It is rare to lose one’s eyesight due to epilepsy. Unfortunately, it happened to John. The young man went through a deep depression. However, he was able to find comfort in painting.
John briefly shares his thoughts on what painting does for him.
“Painting forces you to live brushstroke to brushstroke. You’re only thinking about that one moment.”
Blind artist, John Bramblitt, uses a sense of touch to mix paint. (Photo courtesy of John Bramblitt)
One day Bramblitt got a bottle of fabric paint and started to draw lines on paper. It was then that he realized he could navigate brush strokes with his fingers along the raised edges on the canvas.
John also discovered he could successfully blend colors to specific shades by his sense of touch, allowing him to mix oil paints.
For example, black paint is runnier than white paint, which is as thick as toothpaste. John figured out how to create a perfect shade of gray by feeling the texture of the two paints when they are mixed together. In addition, his tubes of paint have Braille on them, making them easier for him to read.
John Bramblitt is able to paint similar to how other blind artists paint. He tries to visualize people by touching their face.
The Huffington Post reports John’s recollection of a time in his life before he lost his sight.
“The idea of color means more to me now than it did when I was sighted. Now it has more emotion. It’s more than just light being reflected off something.”
The 42-year-old described his method of painting.
“With oils, creating different textures is easy because they are actually made from different substances, so many of the colors already feel slightly different. Burnt sienna, in the brand that I use, has a slight jelly like consistency, and melts when combined with a little paint thinner. Cerulean blue has a smooth creamy feel right out of the tube. You can enhance these subtle differences by adding mediums to thicken or thin the paint even more.”
Blind artist, John Bramblitt painting called “Seascape.” (Photo courtesy of John Bramblitt)
John wrote on his website, describing how his sense of touch allowed him to understand his newborn son, Jack, during his first minutes of life.
“I was able to feel his face moments after his birth and laid upon his mother’s stomach. I felt as he took his very first breaths. I very well may have been the first blind man in history to have this experience because of the touch to sight techniques. Techniques that allowed me to see my son’s face in exquisite detail — detail that would allow me to remember every bend and twist of his ear, the exact placement of the wrinkles on his hands, the spacing of his lips as he made his first sounds. Details that might be lost on even the most keenly sighted person.”
Blind artist John Bramblitt lives with his wife, Jacqi Serie, and their son 7-year-old son, Jack, outside of Dallas, in Denton, Texas.
[Featured image via dentonrc]