Living with blindness or low vision need not shut off the pursuit of art.
And a present exhibition by Vision Australia’s Albury Artist Group proves that.
Five artists, Sally McGregor, Mary Esler, Maree Kenny, Geoff Kent and Narelle Keevers, who sadly died recently after a short illness, are featured in the show, which is open until Wednesday at Gateway Village, Wodonga.
McGregor, whose hearing and sight are affected by Usher syndrome, has been painting for about four years.
“I dropped art as soon as I could in high school,” she said.
“I didn’t think I was any good at it, but I was also struggling with my eyesight then too.”
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Needing the services of Vision Australia, she learned about the art group and decided to join despite the challenges.
“Spatial perception’s a big issue, judging distances and using the really, really fine brushes, even just to sign your name, that’s hard,” she said.
“Sometimes we need to be told what the colour is, I might be looking at a colour and thinking it’s blue but it might be purple or brown; the darker colours, they all tend to look the same to me.”
Albury-Wodonga Artists Society’s Meg Sprouster, Kathleen Bruce, Val White and Leonie McClelland have been assisting the artists since their last tutor left about two years ago.
Sprouster, who herself has a exhibition now running at Murray Art Museum Albury, said teaching this class was similar to others, but perhaps more hands-on.
“I really couldn’t imagine not being able to see, I thought how fabulous these people must be to be still wanting to paint even with limited vision,” she said.
McGregor particularly enjoyed painting with her hands, with examples now hanging on the Albury-Wodonga Artists Society Paintbox Studio walls.
“I loved doing this one because I had my hands in it and I didn’t have to worry about trying to get a tiny little brush to hit the canvas,” she said,
She also appreciated the instructors’ support.
“They just believe in us and it’s good to be with other people too who have got vision loss, it was just a nice sort of group and everyone gets so much out of it,” McGregor said.
“We might have to find a different way to do it, but we’re still very capable and this exhibition shows it.”
Paintbox Studio, Gateway Village, Wodonga, is open 10am to 3pm each day except Monday.
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