You want to know about the eyesight loss and how it has influenced my creative journey. That's the topic you asked for so here goes.
I was first diagnosed with my eye condition in 2010 but it really didn't get rated as chronic until 2012. So I shall start the story there. In 2012 it first became chronic in one eye and remained mild in the other meaning I had quite a good chance at making the most of my vision both near and far away. Although it was blurred and distorted to varying degrees. I continued to do my on location sketches of our beautiful City of Portsmouth and formed a group in 2014 to join me in my wanders. Over a dozen came out on good days and we had over a hundred members. What fun it was to encourage others to enjoy and not be afraid to sketch live on location. Then in 2016 it struck me in my mild eye and became chronic and I became registered as blind this has got to be the point I really didn't think I'd be able to paint anymore. Thankfully I had already explored using acrylic paints and was starting to master an abstraction style meaning simplifiying the subject not too unlike impressionism. The idea before the sightloss was to carry on painting on location plein air with my acrylics and oils like many painters do. The problem was I couldn't see the locations any more. And so that got stopped in it's tracks as an idea. Instead I used my familiarity of architecture and perspective to fill in the gaps and loss of vision to create near perfect impressions in ink and watercolour whilst out with my sketching group. I was often asked if perhaps i could paint what i do see, but that was pointless as i couldn't see anything past the length of my arms. I finally got fed up of making it up based on old memories and blurred scenes and so I ended my on location sketches in June 2017. I resorted to using my point and shoot camera with auto focus to reference scenes but it wasn't the same. This hit me real hard and I even put all my painting gear away for six whole weeks yes I thought it was the end. I thought my vision couldn't get any worse and yet it did in August 2017. The blurry distorted grey areas started to blacken out completely seen as dark large blobs in my vision. They grew and changed shape and multiplied across both eyes. I also became diagosed with Charles Bonnet Syndrome where a substantial loss of sight leads to visual hallucinations I see a friendly little black dog occasionally. And so I was not sure what i'd paint as even from photographs was now becoming almost impossible. Then I created a new technique based on my previous scrape and rough brush work and printing using the edge of thick card in paints. This was not only better to compose but textured and encouraging to touch once dry. I had formed a kind of pictoral braille for myself at least. Today I love working from memories of places and seascape designs I have mastered as my own. I continue to paint on found objects like driftwood. Skylines and sunsets are my favourite with little sailing boats and often our iconic spinnaker tower amongst the gunwharf architecture. I initially saw my new techniques as a loss of skills but realise now that without my detailed work before i wouldn't be able to master todays work. I love what i do now and I know I don't need references anymore. Just a love of creating art and a good imagination. You'll enjoy the visuals more than me but I made them tactile too for people like me. Best of both worlds in one painting. I hope this has helped you understand my journey so far and where it is now and where it may lead. I love the company here on facebook and the relaxation creating the art brings. A special thanks again to the 500 reasons group for funding my synapptic software without which I wouldn't be able to communicate with you all so easily.
Best Wishes
Chris Webb