Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vision-May Sketch

Graduation sketch 4"x5.5" pencil

April ended, and we moved to the end of school, working toward graduation activities for my oldest grandson. Such a huge class! 750 plus. Much more than the school where I had taught. I thought that my whole high school graduation class would fit on the first row of one section, and have seats left over. We had 19, the biggest class that had graduated in years. But, that was many years ago, in another place.

The graduation was held in a large arena, where university graduations and even the circus are held. We had to sit up high, with the band in front of us, and the choir, speakers, administrators, along with all those rows of seniors filling the rest of the floor. Everyone looked tiny to me, but, with my eye problems, it was even worse. They were blurry, distorted, and the colors were different. There was a giant tv screen above the scene, but I couldn't make it out, either. They were also blurry and distorted. I could tell only that they were showing head and shoulder shots, where, in looking at the scene, we could see tiny figures and objects.

I kept asking where my grandson was sitting, or where he might be walking. I never did see him. I clapped when it was appropriate, but I never could see who I was clapping for.

That was frustrating. To not be able to see my grandson graduate, after all these years of working toward that goal, and knowing that there were classmates of his who did not make it because of the TAKS test. I was relieved, excited, tearful, at times, and I couldn't even see him, except before and after the ceremony. I felt like I missed the big moment, when he got that diploma.

But, I did get to see it on tv, finally, this week. But only when I stood in front of the set to watch.

I knew that the ceremony would be very long, with that many diplomas to hand out. I only knew a few of the other seniors. I didn't want to cry, but knew that there would be some choking up, at least. So, I packed my purse with Kleenex, along with some paper, folded, and pens and pencils. I wanted to take along my clipboard, that I use like a sketchbook. It has a compartment for keeping pencils, erasers, paper, and a pencil sharpener, reference photos, or whatever I can pack in there. I've been carrying it everywhere for a few years now. But, such things were not allowed in the arena, due to security. So, this trip, I just folded some typing paper, and put it into a side pocket in my purse. My daughter carried the camera.

And, sure enough, as we entered the lobby of the arena, security was checking purses and belongings. I told her I had a lot of Kleenex because I knew that I was going to cry. She laughed and handed us a program. It looked like it would be a really long morning. But, I was prepared to draw, if it got to be too much to sit through.

The place was packed, because, not only did we have everyone associated with our school graduation, but they had scheduled several schools to graduate that day. And, it rained!

We sat through the band and choir practicing, for the first time for this program, and then the actual ceremony. It did get long, and so I sketched. My daugther took a few photos, but we were so far away, that we couldn't see much in them. Tiny little people and objects.

The above sketch, not finished, shows the scene as the students received their diplomas. I thought that my grandson had received his diploma and was being hugged by someone as he returned to his seat. However, he said that this was not him. So, again, I didn't see him. I didn't fill in all those rows of little mortar boards. My eyes just couldn't take it!

I was showing the youngest grandson how to start with a "stick" or gesture drawing, that can be completed later, and that also helps the artist to observe enough that they can remember much of what they saw, really fast. And, now, in his art class, they have been drawing fast, scribble drawings of people. He has done a good job with that project.

I also did a gesture drawing of my daughter and grandson sitting next to me, as they read their programs.

At this stage of my Macular Degeneration and cataracts, I can see up close, most of the time. Although I do have trouble connecting lines when I draw, at times, or patterns and certain light, seem to make my eyes do funny things, I can still read and see faces. Sometimes light can make things look like there is glitter all over an area, like the way that strong sunlight seems to sparkle on a sidewalk that has reflective material, or bits of glass, in it .

The sketch below is the gesture type drawing of my daughter and grandson, as I already mentioned. I like the simplicity of it, just the way it is, as well as the lines and curves. I could do a more detailed drawing from it, but I like the way this turned out.Reading Programs 4" x 5.5" graphite
You can go back and read my other posts on my experiences with Macular Degeneration in my Archives, or earlier posts. I interrupt one series to add in other things as I feel they are appropriate. All the posts on AMD experiences, are prefaced with the word Vision, which might make them easier to find. I have been trying to show what happened to me, in the order that things have occured. The next post will be about what I saw in early June.
At first, I thought that the graduation sketches were not all that significiant. But, as I wrote this, I realized that it was quite a big deal that I couldn't see my grandson get his diploma because of my eyes.
At some events, I have thought that, they should allow people who can't see very well, to sit up front. It is frustrating to go to see events, and not be able to see. To be fighting being almost nauseated and dizzy from the distortion and wavey lines, blurring, etc. instead of listening to and seeing the person you came to see. I did request that I be allowed to sit on an aisle seat at the George Bush Library when we went to see Tony Snow speak. I still couldn't see other than figures, as we were about midway back in the auditorium. They were telling me to sit by a wall, behind tall people, until I told them that I couldn't see out of one eye. I still wonder what the Secret Service people thought, when, as Snow and Bush 41 were talking to us, and there was this one old lady, leaning out in the aisle, and winking at them! I caught myself closing one eye, trying to see better, and thought that I had better stop that before the Secret Service men pounced on me for doing who knows what. So, I spent the rest of the Q&A session, straining to keep both eyes open, and see. All I could do was listen, and visit with the man sitting next to me, during lulls in the program.
I'm beginning to think that they need to provide seating for people who can't see very well, just as they provide places for wheelchairs. Another thing I experienced, due to my knees and surgery, not my eyes, is that stores need to have merchandise located down low for people who have to ride in those little electric carts in stores. You can't see merchandise, as you shop, or reach what you need from those little carts. Now, I have to ask people to read labels or tell me what items say. I have to look for shape, color, and size of familiar objects in stores.
I had remarked thatTony Snow looked really well, then, and I was surprised that his hair looked brown. It was only a few days later when he announced that cancer had returned. He was one of the most enthusiastic and intelligent speakers I have ever heard. The place was packed with an overflow audience. I still hope that all will be well for him. I hope he didn't see the elderly lady who seemed to be winking at him when he visited the George Bush Library!
Tomorrow, look for another watercolor in my series on Macular Degeneration.
Thanks for reading and sharing my work. I do welcome comments and inquiries. If you see something of interest to you, please let me know.

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