By Guest Blogger Mel Finefrock, editor and freelance writer
Prior to losing his sight due to complications with epilepsy, John Bramblitt processed his world and his experiences through drawing. Amidst grieving and adjusting to a life with blindness as a secondary disability, he found that he felt isolated both from himself and people around him. When he realized that what was missing in his life was art, he began to dabble in painting by touch.
At first, painting helped Bramblitt to express his anger with regard to the loss of his sight, but over time, he found that those feelings were replaced by a sense of peace and calm. Self-doubt gave way to self-confidence; aimlessness to purpose; and desolation to hope and joy. Through art, Bramblitt rediscovered himself and found a way to connect with others, starting with friends and family and eventually branching out to the public.
Of course, Bramblitt wasn’t aware initially, beyond a certain point, of the therapeutic effects which art had on him or, furthermore, that he would begin to deliver therapy to others. “I didn’t even think of painting as therapy for me – I thought it might actually be a little dysfunctional – so I didn’t tell anybody at first,” Bramblitt recounts. “But after six to eight months, I was so much calmer and happier, and then I wanted to do a show so I could meet other artists, because I wanted to meet other people who were just as obsessed as I was about art.”
At last, Bramblitt found the sense of community he had come to miss so much; to him, it was refreshing to be in the presence of like-minded people who may not necessarily have been going through the same things he was, but who had struggles of their own and could relate on that level.