CVD and symptomatic painting

This follows from my post yesterday about colour vision deficiency, and my improving test results on the D-15 Disk Arrangement test (from “moderate-strong protan CVD” to “slightly-moderate protan CVD” to “no CVD”).

Today I re-took the Ishihara 38 Plates test and the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue test. I enlarged the tests to fit my screen and I really concentrated on the colour. In the case of the Ishihara test, I think you’re supposed to have limited time on each plate and to say what you see, not what you’re able to find by scrutinising intensely. In a way,  I think I’m cheating the tests by concentrating so hard and taking extra time, but those are things I can do when painting. It’s not possible to find a number or a line in the dots unless you have some ability to detect the colours that constitute them, so I think comparing these results proves that improved viewing conditions and extra concentration can improve the accuracy of my colour perception:

My result from yesterday’s Ishihara 38 Plates test:


My result from today’s Ishihara 38 Plates test:


My result from yesterday’s Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue test, note “Slight to Moderate CVD”, type “Deutan-/Green-Deficiency”:


My result from today’s Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue test, note “None or Slight”, type “Protan-/Red-Deficiency”:


And here are my results from yesterdays’s Farnsworth-Munsell test, in the context of the general population:


… compared with my results from today’s Farnsworth-Munsell test, in the context of the general population:


This encourages me that the effects of my CVD can be ameliorated by improved viewing conditions and concentration. This ought to help me see my paintings more the way they will be seen by people who have no CVD.

However, I still want to take a positive approach to the differences in how we see, and the issues that raises in regard to subjectivity, interpretation, and “disability”. Researching my CVD has given me an increased sense of empathy and solidarity with people who have more severe vision impairments, or whose bodies or minds are found to be in any other way “deficient”.

As a child, I felt my ability to draw was undermined by my inability to see colour in the way that the majority of others did. Without intending to, I would colour skies purple, or skin tones green and orange. The “mistakes” I made in my art work revealed my CVD in a way that was visible to others but not to me. In this way, the colour choices I made in my art work exposed what was particular about my colour vision, just as my compulsion to draw glamorised females revealed things about my sexuality and gender identity that others could see but that I wasn’t yet able or willing to recognise.

Probably I’ll return to this topic of symptomatic painting, or painting-as-symptom. I find it interesting.



4 thoughts on “CVD and symptomatic painting

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