Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Vision-April Moonrise

April Moonrise
image size 8.5" x 11.5"
paper size 9" x 12"

It was April. A night when the moon rose, full and bright, above the tree line in our back yard. The trees had filled out with deep green leaves, concealing the next house. Shadows fell across the small storage building in the back yard. The sky had a pink glow as lights from A&M and the city reflected above the trees.

It had been several months since I had been diagnosed with Macular Degeneration in my left eye and told that I had cataracts in both eyes. I had been given one injection in my eye before treatment was suspended due to my lack of insurance and income to pay for it. I had been told there was help, then hopes were dashed when I learned that there really is no help for me. That I will lose my vision.

I won't go totally blind, I've read, but I will lose my center vision. And that is important to most of the things that I do such as writing, reading, drawing, painting-even cooking, or finding my way home. I had already failed the eye exam in order to renew my license, so there is no more driving. Drawing had become a challenge due to difficulty at connecting lines, or seeing some patterns. Reflections on paper can be a problem. The way I work is changing, but that is not such a major thing. It will be a problem if I can't focus on something. Color is a bit difficult, at times, as it is hard to distinguish between some colors, such as black and dark blue, olive green and beige. I thought that was just a normal part of aging, but it is also one of the things that point to AMD. I feel like I can adjust to some of those things. But, I had also burned my hand on the oven, when I couldn't tell how far my hand was from the coils and dropped a bowl of cereal when I couldn't find the edge of the kitchen counter. Hanging up clothes on a rod in the closet took several tries, as well. If I want to see a program on television, I have to move my chair no more than 2 feet away. Usually, I sit on the couch across the room, and just put up with the distortion and abstract shapes and weird colors-and draw. I just glance up, and then I have to ask someone who that is, or what the print says, or what time the clock says on the cable box. I can't help with navigation while in a car because I can't read the signs until we are almost upon them.

I just hoped that it wouldn't get any worse than it already has been. I might be able to cope with that, and just try to enjoy, and make art, from the strange things I was seeing and experiencing.

I had feared that injection in my eye so much. Then I feared not being able to get them and pay for them.

"Come look out the back window!" My youngest grandson called on that April evening, as he often does. We have to look at interesting clouds, unusual colors, a pretty moon, or even an intersting airplane as it lands or takes off from the airport.

We pulled back the curtains and watched the full moon above white, fluffy clouds over our back yard. I closed my eyes and blinked, but the image didn't clear up for me. I had been told that would make things clear, with the cataract problem. It didn't work. There seemed to be three overlapping moons in the sky. The security light in the neighbor's yard looked like a triangle-something from "Star Trek"-as it peeked through a tree. It was quite a sight, but I knew that was not really how things looked. It was hard to know whether to be excited at the unusual sight, or to be upset and frustrated, even depressed, because I couldn't see things realistically. And even more so because this could be treated, but that option is not available to me.

So, I sketched it, with the thought of turning it into a painting. I used a #314 Draughting Pencil on this one-the drawing pencil that handles best for me.

April Moonrise

8.5" x 11" pencil

In the watercolor, I used Winsor Newton watercolors on 140 # watercolor paper.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about Macular Degeneration, or AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration), I have added some links on my sidebar under the Eye Sites section. I hope that my experiences and my art work will help someone else.

Be sure to visit the Authors and Artists, and Interesting Sites sections, as well. There is also a section on Storks, with links to more information and pictures. The storks are migrating to Africa, now, but, there are webcams that you can enjoy when they return next year. You can look back in some of my posts and find some drawings that I did about storks.

Thank your for reading and sharing. Let me know if you find something of interest to you. I welcome inquiries and comments. I do appreciate your support.

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