Painting with Vision Loss & Fine Motor Loss
bright colored dry paint
Candace Bennett was been Infinitec's managing editor from 1997 until 2013. She and her husband live in Chicago, Illinois with their two cats. Candace has researched, written and edited most of Infinitec's Original Web content, except for a few guest articles. Candace has enjoyed being a resource to persons with disabilities like herself, as well as to their families. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Candace is motivated by her own disability to find information and technology that helps people live better lives.
Although not a professional artist or even a highly practiced amateur, art has always been an integral part of Candace's life. Art appreciation was cultivated from a young age by her mother, an amateur oil painter. Candace's mom instilled aspects of visual art in each member of the family, such as color theory and composition.
Candace studied art history and literature in college and has visited exhibits and galleries all over the United States. As members of the Art Institute of Chicago, Candace and her husband have also enjoyed visits to the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Bennetts always visit the local art museums when they travel, venturing as far as the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
Visual impairment and lack of fine-motor coordination from multiple sclerosis are problems for Candace when she paints. (She has had progressive M.S. for over 20 years.) Even so, Candace is intrigued with color and the beauty found in nature. She usually paints flowers, foliage, and animals in watercolors for the sheer love of it.
"I paint using a magnifying glass on a stand so I can actually see when my brush has made contact with the paper! I only use natural light during the day because it doesn't cause as much glare as artificial light. Then I practice Chinese Brush Painting in watercolors because Asian culture is so grounded in nature—from Koi (colorful, mottled goldfish) to plants, animals, and blossoms. With Chinese watercolors, brush strokes need not be as precise, so I am free and less concerned with my unsteady hand."
"Another genre that allows me similar freedom is 'primitive art'—kind of cartoon-like people I use whenever I want to say something visually, or use social commentary. It frees me from having to hold myself to impossible standards and indulges my ironic sense of humor. They're just fun to do!"
"Much of my primitive art explores urban scenes, such as people riding an el' train, wearing Walkmen and carrying Starbucks travel mugs. The one I include here is also ironic: I didn't get my first wheelchair until I was about 39 years old. One of the first things a wheelchair allowed me to do was visit an art museum, but I wasn't prepared for the new set of politics you can only learn about from the perspective of wheelchair user. It was important not to ruin the gallery experience for myself or my fellow art enthusiasts, but I'd have to learn how to achieve that!"