Angela’s low vision helps her create unique art

07 August 2020

Angela Morrissey has always loved art.

“My art teachers saw my potential and encouraged me,” she said.

After graduating with an honours degree in visual arts from La Trobe University, Angela pursued a career as an artist and has held several solo exhibitions in her home town Bendigo Victoria.

“My work has also been featured in a couple of group exhibitions at the Bendigo Art Gallery and I’ve been involved in the Linden Postcard Show in Melbourne,” Angela said.

An exhibition of Angela’s emu paintings was held in the Exhibit B Gallery of the Bendigo Bank from the July 24 to the August 12 this year.

Art and low vision

Angela has low vision due to a condition called keratoconus that she was diagnosed with in 1999.

“My vision is blurred and distorted,” she said.

“It’s like I’m looking through a windscreen on a rainy day.”

Having low vision hasn’t stopped Angela, and many other artists, from doing what they love and pursuing a career in art.

Every year, artists of all ages who are blind or have low vision enter unique pieces of work for the Vision Australia Calendar Artwork Competition.

The winners of the competition have their art featured in the following year’s Vision Australia calendar.
Not only do the artists have different eye conditions, they also use different materials, techniques and styles to create their art.

Wildlife paintings

Two years ago, Angela entered a water colour painting of an emu for the Vision Australia Calendar Artwork Competition.

It was designed to capture the personality of the emu.

Because it was so popular, Angela decided that the paintings in this month’s exhibition will all depict emus in different stages of life, from a chick hatching from an egg to a fully-grown emu.

“I like to paint our beautiful native wildlife,” she said.

"I also started a series of paintings of Quokkas and I painted a dingo.”

Challenges

Being an artist who is blind or has low vision is not always easy.

Angela’s low vision often makes it difficult for her to paint small details and sometimes means that her artworks are blurred in places.

It can also make it challenging for her to exhibit her work.

“I have to rely on friends, family or taxi drivers to help me transport my artwork for exhibitions.

“Looking on the bright side, I’ve been able to create a new style of art because of my low vision.

“My art would have been less unique if I had not lost any of my sight.”

Advice for budding artists

Angela had some advice for other artists who are blind or have low vision.

“Use your low vision to create a new style of art that hasn’t been seen before.

“Just paint from the heart, paint what you love.

“The more you create the better you’ll get.

“And most of all, don’t give up.”