Sight loss needn’t mean an end to enjoying art and craft pursuits – with a few simple changes those who are blind or partially sighted can adapt their approach to making art.
Blind Veterans UK have been utilising the creative arts since its inception in 1915 as a tool to help overcome the barriers and challenges of sight loss, as well as build blind veterans’ sense of independence and creativity. Our Art & Craft team have put together some nifty tips and tricks to working with sight loss.
1. Keep a tidy workspace:
It’s easy to get lost in a sea of paint pots, so try not to have too many out at one time. A tidy workspace means you can keep track of where everything is – simple but important!
2. Work from background to foreground, top to bottom:
Start building the image from the background through to the foreground. Layer the features of your painting to create the illusion of depth.
Work from the top of the Canvas to the bottom. Sky first, then clouds. Then sea or land, then the objects closest to you will be the lowest down the canvas.
3. Work to your strengths:
If you only have central vision, begin work small and remember to step back from your painting regularly to gain perspective. If you have peripheral, consider working bigger and using larger brushstrokes for an impressionistic look.
4. Section off different areas:
Masking Tape is useful to ‘select’ an area of the canvas to paint – you can create a definite edge without the stress of freehand painting it. Tear off small pieces and tear long-ways to create craggy, natural outlines.
Blu-Tac is helpful to stick at the corners of your masked-off areas to make it easy to find where they are.
5. Remember to enjoy the process:
Colour is not the most important thing – it is more effective to make sure that you create balance between dark and light.
If you’re working from an image, don’t worry about making an exact copy of the work. Enjoy the process, be expressive - that’s more important and more fun than being meticulous!