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The Face of Legal Blindness Post New Entry

Making Blindness History through the Eyes of an Artist

Posted by Yvonne Felix on January 27, 2015 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (1)

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As an artist, I am always looking for the right medium to convey whatever subject I am trying to explore. Three years ago, I met Ty Tekatch, a film maker, and we were commissioned to work on a media installation. The project was about the emotional connection individuals have to parks, by telling thier stories. Ty has watched me go throuigh the process of regaining my independence through the use of eSight. This was a film we made to help show my viceral experience of being able to see again.

What Does Legal Blindness Look Like?

Posted by Yvonne Felix on January 25, 2015 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

"What does Macular degeneration look like?"

This has been a question that never grows old. If you have full sight, it must be fairly hard to imagine what that may just mean. In 2004, I attempted my first painting to help people understand what I was seeing. The below image is of a popular green space from my home town. It was a literal interpretation as I looked out onto the landscape.

Although the style is rather crude and raw, it does illustrate what my blind spot looks like. The rest of the image reveals the lack of detail, felld of view andmy  comprehension of contrast.

When I look to the horizon, I do not feel a sense that depth is something real. The world looks like cardboard cut outs; layered on top of one another at close range. 

In my works, I  icreate depth through  theory. Painting is very mathematical. It creates the illusion of sight by configuring elements of light, dark, colour and subject placement. R

 In the past, I have understood sight conceptually. Seeing a 3 dimensional world has been a mind blowing experience. My first painting since using this new technology was done for a friend that also has Stargardts.

I have yet to adopt Realism as a point of reference for my new works. One step at a time, as they say. 

Lights Out

Posted by Yvonne Felix on December 7, 2014 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (0)


When I was in my second year of art school, I had a very distinct experience that has remained one of my most cherished memories. It was a prolific moment that allowed me to understand what it must be like to rely on your vision as a sighted artist.


Every Thursday our class had a life drawing lesson. This was my favorite activity as it was based on techical skill but there was always room for interpretation and artistic process. Organic forms provided animation: breathing patterns and a glowing brightness always seemed to illuminate from every model and I found it effortless to capture that basic beauty of the human form.


We, as students, were invited to make suggestions to the format of the class to enhance and bring diversity to the model or environment. I had made the suggestion of turning the lights off and having a spot luight over the subject. The idea was to create high contrast with dramaric lighting. I had discovered this technique when I invited my sister to my studio so that I could have more time to capture a pose. When drawing, recoginizing shape, form, and tone, were done by setting my palette based on contrast. I picked colours based on a gradation of tones, unrecognizable through the use of a colour by name but the tones truest to the the subject and its environment.



The drawings turned out well. They were done with chalk on black paper and you can tell that the lighting allowed me to see my sister in a great level of contrast.


When the Thursday morning came and the time for my suggestion to be used for the morning class, my professor, John, helped me put the pose together and we placed the light directly overhead. The model was my favorite for that day and I was very excited to share this new perception with my classmates. As the lights were turned off, there was a churning of sound and movement. It spun around me like a massive storm reaching a crescendo as the class grew louder. They were all saying the same thing over and over again: "I can't see my palette.” chimed in rounds like a rolling storm front. "Turn on the lights! Turn on the lights!"


The lights came on and John walked over to me and shruged his shoulders. "Sorry."


It was as simple as that. To me the sorry was dismissive. What does that even mean? Sorry no one can put themselves in my shoes? Or even, “sorry” seemed to mean - you get your vision back because it was inconvenient to change your perspective.


I did not voice these thoughts and simply knew that I could not expect that anyone would understand. That was okay, that was the way of the world and I was a part of that world.


However, it did set me on the path I travel today. Creating a form of art education that would be accessible and limitless in process and discipline became my goal.


And It"s all worked out. :)