Blind artist overcomes obstacles, teaches workshop

Posted at 10:38 AM, May 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-05 10:38:29-04

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KFOR/CNN) - John Bramblitt has an extraordinary eye for making art but unlike most artists he can't see.

“The wonderful thing about art is that art is just about what you can do,” Bramblitt said. “It's one of the things I love about it.”

He's loved drawing since before he could walk but seizures and Lyme's disease took that away while he was in college at the University of North Texas.

“Art helped me get through that,” he said. “I was so angry and depressed, and I couldn't draw anymore. I thought it was impossible. I couldn't feel the pencils or pens.”

It took a year before Bramblitt picked up a paintbrush to try his favorite pastime again, an experience that changed his life.

More than 15 years after he went blind, he's made it his life's mission to teach others how to create art using other senses.

NewView, OK, raised money to bring john to Oklahoma to teach a workshop for the students in their art program.

“It builds confidence and self esteem that they too can enjoy and excel in their experience in the arts," said Sandy Wright.

His favorite subjects are people he's never seen like his wife and son.

He uses sense of touch more than anything else.

“Whenever I make a line, I make a line that I can touch and feel,” he said. “It's a tactile line.”

His paintings have lots texture and vibrant colors. But how can he tell which color is which?

"With my colors, I braille my paint so I know what colors I'm using, and I actually mix the paint so that the colors feel different,” Bramblitt said. “So I can make white feel like toothpaste or black feel like oil."

And all of those colors that he never sees come together to make life's canvas complete.

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