Artist begins painting after losing sight

Thursday, December 1, 2005

In a darkened room in the back of his Denton home, John Bramblitt paints, feeling his way across the canvas with his fingers.

With each brushstroke, guided by his fingers, he records images he sees in his mind's eye. A tiny dog, a row of wine bottles, a blues musician, a picture of himself.

About four years ago, Bramblitt, an El Paso native, lost his sight. Doctors still aren't sure why.

"It was almost like being thrown in prison, being cut off from the world. I would just stay in my apartment, I couldn't get out, couldn't walk around town by myself," he said.

Only then did he start painting – though he'd never taken an art class. While visualizing images in his mind, his orientation and mobility skills improved. He learned to use a cane and walk around town by himself.

"The whole process of painting brought me back to the world," he said.

He first sketches his paintings using a fabric paint that dries in about 20 minutes and leaves raised edges for him to feel. After priming the canvas with white latex paint, he paints by using the raised lines as a guide. He differentiates between paint colors by texture. Titanium white is thick, almost like toothpaste, while black is slick, almost oily.

An English major at UNT, Bramblitt paints just as a hobby – though he's already sold his work and exhibited in a solo show at the UNT Union Art Gallery. Images of his art on are his website, www.bramblitt.com.

"I don't know how talented I am, but I really enjoy it," Bramblitt said. "I believe my paintings are more to me than anyone else. I go back and feel the paintings and remember what I was thinking at the time."

He has shown his technique to elementary school students and held workshops in which the students are blindfolded so they can paint without sight. He hopes his story will help shed some of the stigmas surrounding disabilities.

Bramblitt hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in English and teach creative writing or English literature. Writing, he said, isn't so very different from painting.

"When you're writing a story, you're painting a picture in your mind and it's just the techniques that are different," he said. "Doing a painting is almost like doing a really short story – one really clear image."

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

Category:

Latest News

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Institute for the Advancement of the Arts, the arm of the University of North Texas that promotes artistic and creative expression, will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year with a series of programs at its downtown location, UNT on the Square.

Alice Giles, one of the world’s leading harp soloists who will visit UNT on Oct.
Monday, September 22, 2014

Alice Giles, celebrated as one of the world's leading harp soloists, will perform a concert at the University of North Texas at 8 p.m. Oct. 22 (Wednesday) at Winspear Hall in the Murchison Performing Arts Center.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Four internationally recognized artist/scholars will talk about how they combine technology, science and art as part of the Tactical Robotics Symposium: Latin American Media Art at the Intersection of the Pedagogy at the University of North Texas.

Educational researcher Michael Fullan, an internationally recognized expert on e
Friday, September 19, 2014

Educational researcher Michael Fullan, an internationally recognized expert on educational reform, will speak about "Leadership for Maximizing Impact in Schools and Districts" at this year's University of North Texas' Education Leadership Conference.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A new program under development at the University of North Texas aims to increase the diversity of the rehabilitation counseling career field, while helping students complete an education and move into the profession in less time.