‘Blind artists’ might seem like a contradiction in term since for a layman it’s a puzzle as to why and how can they paint when they are actually blind. Not true, and this can be understood better when you know that when we talk of visually blind, it is only 10 percent of blind people who can’t see at all, the rest of them suffer from various degrees of blindness and can create intelligent art.
For those with sight, it is quite natural to imagine that blindness is a crippling disability; and, that for blind people, their whole life is a series of unending darkness. Thankfully, this is not true at all, as blind people have a better sense of feeling about their surroundings. They make for better painters, since one of their major senses is not there, so their other senses are more heightened. They draw through their sense of touch and texture to create amazing and intelligent paintings.
There is no evidence but it is still being speculated if the most famous of the names, Vincent Van Gogh was colour blind. Very little importance has been paid to those artists who have created good art despite being visually blind – an insurmountable challenge – when you think about the fact that most of what we see around us is what we put down on canvas, paper, etc.
One of the more famous names in art, Claude Monet, the founder of French Impressionist art, became progressively blind. By the year 1907, he had painted many famous paintings and started going blind. Even after going blind, he continued painting and did the group of large water lily murals (Nympheas) for the Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris.
A predominant school of researchers believe that Rembrandt van Rijn may have suffered from stereo blindness. In this form of blindness, visual images received by his right and left eye are dissimilar. This didn’t stop him from creating masterpieces.
Edgar Degas is another prominent French artist who went blind at a young age of 26 years due to retinopathy. Degas continued coming up with masterpieces despite macular degeneration. He adapted his medium and changed it from oils to pastels.
From the examples, we have seen, it is quite evident that painting and expressing thoughts is not just bound by the limits of sight.