Enchroma glasses: Part 2


170510a Flowers Plein Air with Glasses (2017) oil on canvas 35 x 35cm

These are the first two paintings made wearing the glasses to help with my colour blindness. The lenses filter out light, so it’s like wearing sunglasses. For that reason, I had to paint outside in direct sunlight.

I don’t know if what I see through the glasses is any closer to normal colour vision, but they do make me experience and treat colour differently. Reds and greens have become much more exciting. For example, looking at the Flowers picture above, when I take off the glasses the clarity of the greens begin to fade, and although I can still see the greenness, my eye begins to group the greens with the background colours, causing much of the composition to become more undifferentiated.

This is something I’m noticing about the glasses. They give reds, greens, violets, and reddish-browns greater clarity and vibrancy, making them more attractive to the eye, which changes the way they function compositionally.

If this changed perception is closer to normal colour vision then I think these glasses could be very helpful to me in making pictures that can be enjoyed by people with and without colour vision deficiency. However, that still depends on me developing my feel for colour generally, and I have a long way to go with that, with or without the glasses.


170510b Heading West Plein Air with Glasses (2017) oil on canvas 35 x 30cm


3 thoughts on “Enchroma glasses: Part 2

  1. I’d like to see a photo of you painting outside in your special glasses!

    Im puzzling over what you will have intended and sensed in so many of your paintings where I think you have made colour one of the exciting components. Are sentiments such as I’ve just raised frustrating because you can’t identify the specific qualities I mention? That we might never be able to converse about some aspects of colour because we experience them differently is only now hitting home for me. That is not meant in a sentimental way – but it finds out a failure of insight in me. I don’t mention this to be humble – it has just occurred to me that in some way it is akin to people who speak different first languages trying to get by with one of them having a limited grasp of the other’s tongue.

    Some of the colour versions in your first post about this were so different to my eye I was astonished.

    Your chewing on this will never end, that’s cool. I hope your interventions don’t constrain your natural instinct for colours and that they don’t contrive outcomes that you don’t like.


    • The difference between what I see and what people with normal colour vision, and the absence of a shared experience – sometimes I feel that absence so much it aches. But then I remember there are thousands of artists and photographers who have normal vision but choose to work in black and white, so obviously my choice to work in colour must begin with a willingness to grapple with the differences in how we see. And yes, I’m going to get a friend of mine to take a picture of me with the glasses next week. 🙂


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