The Crazy Suburban Mom: The cracked cup

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The cracked cup

Last fall I started to lose my eyesight. One month I was reading pill bottles (without glasses) and the next - really, the next - I couldn't do a cross word puzzle because the clues were too small.

I really can't describe what that was like. I don't have the words (and not having the words isn't something I'm accustomed to). I was so scared I did the only thing I could do... I started googling "loss of eyesight".

After a month of driving myself (literally) crazy, I called my eye doctor.

By the time I got in I couldn't read at all, couldn't do digital photography anymore, couldn't drive at night (after 4 p.m., actually), was using Windows Vista low vision enhancements, and couldn't paint.

Of all the things I am, the whole artist thing? It is very important to me and is ridiculously wrapped up in my self-esteem. The thought of losing that was unimaginable.

What I had was the sudden development of cataracts in both eyes. They were severe and not progressing the way normal cataracts progress, which is slowly over many years.... But quickly. And my eyesight was uncorrectable with glasses and "just awful" (A quote from my eye doctor). Something I already knew.

He told me to come back in three months and be reevaluated, but I only made it a month. One month after my first appointment I was (almost) unable to drive during the day. The cataracts were progressing rapidly and my eye sight was getting "worse by the month" (Eye Doctor, again).

I had surgery on both eyes in March and I wish I could say I was done; but I'm not. Apparently, the surgery only partly corrected the issue and I still need laser on both eyes (in June).

The thing about it though? I learned a new way to paint. Something I never would have done if I hadn't been pushed.


I always painted in a very literal way. Realistic was my goal.


I could no longer do that.


If I wanted to paint I had to find a new way.


Something looser.


More suggestive than literal.


Because I couldn't see well enough to use a brush anymore.

Galaxy series #2

All that was left was to throw paint on big areas.

galaxy series # 2 top left corner

And it ended up being remarkably freeing.

Even though I can see well enough to paint almost like I used to, I really like what I'm doing now.

The whole thing was an awful process. It was like being thirsty and forced to stand by and watch while all the water you have seeps out of a broken cup.

But the odd thing?

Losing my eye sight?

It showed me a new way to see.

And I feel oddly, grateful.


Anonymous,  5/21/09, 10:50 AM  


Six Feet Under Blog 5/21/09, 12:10 PM  

Oh, what a moving post! I am an artist too and know what you are talking about losing the most important sense an artist could have. I love your new art look!

TheClayMuse 5/21/09, 12:34 PM  

Wow,I couldn't even imagine what that would be like. Good luck with your future surgery. The abstract painting are beautiful!

tracy 5/21/09, 12:47 PM  

Mama, Six Feet, Clay Muse - thank you. So much. I've been not posting about that for a long time because I wanted this blog to be a positive thing, a fun thing.

But as I thought about it, and as I wrote about it... it was a positive thing in an oddly twisted way.

Mom Mayhem says: 5/21/09, 12:49 PM  

Wow-that sounds difficult! I know when I'm not wearing my contacts or glasses -I'm like wow-I'm pretty blind! But,I couldn't imagine that happening so sudden and severe. I hope your next surgery goes well! And glad you got a new perspective-The abstract art is great! :)

chicamom85 5/21/09, 1:33 PM  

Wow what an incredible story thank you for sharing. My husband is a diabetic and has had many eye surgeries and implants in both eyes. His eyes are fine right now. My Mom who is 91 has glaucoma and I was recently informed that it can be hereditary. Eyesight is something it is too easy to take for granted.


@eloh 5/21/09, 1:34 PM  

Wow, you have your fingers in a lot.

I read your post, but instead of commenting I got all involved "naming" your paintings.

I can't pick a favorite, either: Blizzard on the Plains, or Jungle Dance.

Melmack (sp) Frenzy

Star Date

Jungle Dance

I don't know about this one, but if it were material, I'd use it for a beautiful quilt, and it would be my first pick for material.

Blizzard on the Plains

Next time you don't have time to feed us, I'm in for an Art show anyday

jewelryandgiftsbyrebecca 5/21/09, 3:31 PM  

How very Jackson Pollock of you.
I like it!!!!

Rachel 5/21/09, 3:53 PM  

Your cracked cup is half full! I love the artwork! Hope your next surgery goes well!

Vonlipi 5/21/09, 4:17 PM  

The talent always finds a way.

tracy 5/21/09, 4:57 PM  

Wow, everyone, thank you so much. All your comments mean a lot.

chicamom - I feel for you husband and mom ...its so difficult

@eloh - Thank you. I took your advice - 'write what you know'... Love the names you picked, it lets me see how other people see them ...

@eloh 5/21/09, 8:04 PM  

Sorry, I had to come back for seconds. These are the type of painting that seem to ask to be stared at and you see something different every time.
This time the top painting says it's name is "In the Kitchen with the Candlestick", I think it might be my working years peeking through.

Just love your work. By the by, your meatloaf picture made my daughter and I go eat large quantities of Angus.

Amy and her little family 5/21/09, 8:28 PM  

I love your new way of painting!! That would be so hard loosing the one thing you need the most... for an artist atleast!

Venti Vixen 5/21/09, 11:39 PM  

Love it!

tracy 5/22/09, 6:17 AM  

@eloh - Don't be sorry. I'm flattered that you came back. When I posted that I didn't even think people would look once. Those paintings really need to be seen in close up - the ones with splatter. There is so much going on in them, so much paint. The photographs of them as 'whole' really don't show them off that well. I have some close ups on Flikr - here But even that isn't the same as in person. But it's better :)

Amy - working loose wasn't easy. In fact it's sort of amazing. I was such a 'tight' artist...

Vixen - Thank you so much :)

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