I've been sight impaired since birth due to Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, a congenital disease that caused my vision to be blurry throughout my childhood. At age 11 I was diagnosed with diabetes and by my late teens I'd lost a considerable amount of my remaining vision due to diabetic retinopathy.
In spite of my vision loss I found great pleasure in drawing from an early age. I recall winning an art contest in 1st grade, when I drew a picture of a horse named Blaze from the famed childrens' book Billy and Blaze series. My favorite subjects were horses and dogs.
Up until about 10 years ago I was able to draw freehand with colored pencil my preferred medium. At that point my vision deteriorated further and I also developed a disability in my left hand and fingers that made holding the pencils extremely difficult. I was devastated not being able to draw any longer and thought that this cherished pasttime would be lost forever.
I'm able to see shapes, shadows and colors with my left eye and light perception with my right. If I hold objects within an inch or so from my eye I'm able to "see" some things, such as photos and large print. Anything further then a few inches from my eye appears as only vague shapes/colors without detail.
A few years ago I started experimenting on the computer drawing using a graphic program. I use software which allows me to enjoy virtually every aspect of the computer via both a speech synthesizer and enlarged text on the screen so that I can read it. The mouse has now become my pencils.
I've dedicated a great deal of time over the last several years in honing my artistic talents with this exciting medium. It's an incredible feeling to once again be able to express myself through my artwork and find such pleasure in watching each of my creations come to life.
The image on the left represents a scene viewed with 20/20 vision... perfect sight. The image on the left represents the same scene as I would see it, having Diabetic Retinopathy. This eye disease can vary in severity and can lead to total blindness.
Here are some examples of some of the work I've done. Information on ordering a custom portrait of your pet is at the bottom of this page.
Each of my custom portraits is printed on premium art quality paper suitable for framing. Each print measures 8-1/2" x 11". I sign and date each piece and include a fact sheet describing my vision loss and my work.
If you're interested in having me draw your dog and would like to discuss details feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I thought it would be interesting for folks to get an idea of the process I take in creating a portrait. From beginning to end each print requires aproximately 8 hours of work spread out over several days to a week. I can only draw for about 20 minute increments before my eye becomes strained.. It is tedious work, but I find great pleasure in seeing each portrait come to life.
Start with a blank canvas with the photo to the left
Pick the color to draw with from the color palette
I draw the outline of the dog, using the "airbrush" tool (can see it highlighted on the far left tool bar)
Change "pencils", begin filling in.
Enlarge image to add even more detail - eye detail, whiskers, etc
Drawing is pretty much done... I "tweak" a few things here and there.
Add my watermark to every portrait
The completed "Piper", with my large watermark added for security purposes on the internet. The watermark is NOT on the printed art, of course. Each portrait is printed on premium art quality paper 8-1/2"x11" suitable for framing. I sign & date each print.