Painting with Vision Loss & Fine Motor
Candace Bennett has been
Infinitec's managing editor for the past six years.She and her husband
live in Chicago, Illinois with their two cats. Candace has researched,
written and edited most of Infinitec's 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 24 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 naturefrom 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."
Visit to the Art Museum
"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!"