A man who tragically went blind at 30, creates beautiful pictures in his mind and then transfers them to a special canvas.
John Bramblitt, 49, a painter, speaker and, author from Denton, Texas, had health issues throughout his childhood and eventually went blind in 2001 due to complications from epilepsy.
Although he has had a lifelong passion for art, it wasn’t until after he had lost his sight that he began to paint, having never tried it before.
He told Jam Press: “Growing up I actually had a wonderful childhood because of the people around me.
“When I was really young I had a kidney removed and then shortly after that contracted Lyme’s disease.
“Throughout my childhood I had epilepsy.
“The constant seizures eventually caused damage to the occipital lobe and over time the site fully deteriorated.”
Throughout these turbulent times, art was something that John continuously gravitated towards to get him through.
“I remember when I was young I would constantly be drawing.
“I would find myself buried in a nest of crumpled up sketches.
“Whenever it was a good day I loved celebrating with art and whenever it was a bad day I was able to control myself by doing art.
“I didn’t actually start painting until I lost my sight and wasn’t afraid of failing at it, as I would never have to see them.
“I was however always interested in painting, but had never given it a try before then.”
John has learned to distinguish between different coloured paints by feeling their textures with his fingers.
He then taught himself how to paint using raised lines to help him find his way around a canvas through haptic visualisation which enables him to ‘see’ his subjects through touch.
“I will create the drawing while feeling the lines I’m putting down.
“I think because I was a decent drawer before losing my sight it helps in my proportions but it did take a lot of practice and confidence building to eventually get them relatively close.
“As for the colours I do it different ways.
“I know that white out of the tube feels like toothpaste whereas black may feel more like oil.
“If I want a grey in between the two I mix for viscosity in the middle.”
John, who has synaesthesia, a neurological condition in which information meant to stimulate one of his senses stimulates several of them, is able to use this to give an abundance of colour to his pictures.
“I honestly use all my senses.
“Whenever I hear music I see colours in my head.
“That is probably what influences the colours I choose for a painting.
“The sense I use the most while painting is definitely touching because I have to feel where I am on the canvas and where I need to go next as well as what the colours feel like when I put them down.
“Colour is very important to me and I like that to be reflected in the paintings.
“When I first lost my eyesight I was very depressed and everything was dark; I didn’t see a future.
“Now that I have come out of that darkness and found my passion for painting as well as my family the world keeps getting brighter and I feel like that should be reflected in my paintings.”
John’s spends hours working on his paintings, using his touch and the help of those around him to decipher when they are ready.
“I have gotten better since I first started but in the beginning, I would have to wait for every step in the process to dry so I can feel it and feel confident about moving on to the next part of the painting.
“Now, I can go quite a bit faster because I’ve done this for so long but it still takes quite a bit of patience.
“I don’t necessarily check my work.
“I will work on a painting until I feel that if I add any more it will then diminish the composition.
“The only time I will check on a painting is if it is portrait work, then I might ask my wife or son if it looks like the person.
“Also, for fun, I will have them come into the studio when I have finished a painting and ask them if they can tell what it is without telling them what I was painting, usually we’re both on the same page.”
Once completed John sells his artwork which vividly depicts wildlife, celebrities, such as guitar hero Jimmi Hendrix, as well as romantic scenes of couples on his website. Pieces have sold from $4,000 to $30000 previously.
“I began painting because I wanted to reconnect with people; to let people know even though I have epilepsy, even though I am blind, I’m still me in here.
“The recognition of my painting and workshops has brought has meant more connections with an incredible number of brilliant people from all over.
“It gives me great optimism for the future.
“I hope to be able to continue painting and reaching out to the community about art and disabilities.”
Users of social media platform Instagram praised John’s work in Droves. Under a picture portraying a couple sheltering from the rain using an umbrella @Madaraepse wrote “I honestly have no words to describe how much I love this piece. Perfect! An absolute pleasure for my eyes. Fantastic work.”
This was followed by @Farmjeans who said “Beautiful.” and @angelaofsweden gushed
“Amazing and love the colours.”