Breaking the Seal

Ah... the first blog post. 

Breaking the seal, as it were.

Where to begin.....

Perhaps a quick history of this project?

My father said that perhaps we can get to a place where we no longer grieve what is lost, but learn to celebrate what remains.  

My art is a celebration of the vision I have.

It's been a remarkable journey and one I hope will inspire you.

I was diagnosed with Bilateral Retinoblastoma when I was 18 months old.  Retinoblastoma is a cancer which affects the eyes.  It was so bad in my right eye that the eye had to be completely removed.  My left retina had three small tumours on it.  Instead of removing the eye completely my parents opted to have my left eye irradiated with the hope that some vision would be saved.  The radiation treatment managed to destroy the tumours, however the resulting scar tissue on my retina left me with extreme tunnel vision:.  A cataract developed and the lens of my remaining eye was removed when I was four and a half years old.  The damage to my eye has left me with extreme light sensitivity and a myriad of Vitreous Floaters.  My field of vision, combined with the other impediments to my eyesight has left me Legally Blind.

For most of my life, and certainly once I was able to get a contact lens, I have been able to "fake" being a fully sighted person - at least well enough that my peers and colleagues would not know that I am legally blind.  I developed a lot of tricks to navigate my way through the world, many of which I'm no longer even fully aware of.  I'll explore those in a later blog post, I think.

When my friends would ask me, "how do you see?" I would often stammer out some poor explanation, never quite sure how to answer.  I began to paint portraits of my friends, family, and colleagues in an attempt to show how it is that I see the world.  What began as an experiment in artistic expression has become a passion.  In April of 2011 I began painting seriously - and in the first year alone I painted 365 portraits and a sampling of landscapes and still life.  The response I have received has been overwhelming - including showings and sales.  I am humbled by the response and interest in this work.  I continue to explore not only the medium of painting, but also learning how it is that I see.

I will continue to post the new work and attempt to keep this blog as a record of the experiences and observations along the way.

Please check back on this site for updates, sign up for the newsletter to keep up on my whereabouts, and contact me if you're interested in purchasing some work.

Next stop: Haida Gwaii.  I've been invited to present my one-man show, "Assassinating Thomson" as part of their cultural celebrations.  Of course, I'll be bringing along my sketch-book and paints, as I'm sure to see some marvellous inspiration.

Stay tuned!