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Living Paintings

“Living Paintings books always feels like having an old friend visit.”

30th July 2020

Paul sitting down and smiling at the camera, holding a tactile picture.

Paul has been a library member with Living Paintings for many years. During this time he has borrowed a wide range of our books. Paul recently wrote to us, to share his personal story.

“I was born partially sighted with a hereditary condition called Nystagmus. I also have ocular albinism and photophobia. I was always told that my sight would not deteriorate, but in 2009, it did and I became registered blind. Fortunately, by then, I had been to a rehabilitation centre where I learnt to touch type, read braille and learn about Living Paintings.

As my condition is hereditary, my family have quite a good understanding of it, however, they can be over protective and smothering, in the nicest possible way, of course. My mother fought for me to be educated through main stream school back in the 1970s/80s rather than going to a special school. It was tough as there were no resources available like there are today, but I survived and it made me a stronger person.

When I first heard about Living Paintings, I was unsure if they were for me. I thought art was very posh and only for the upper classes and very visual. Why on earth would you show paintings to a blind guy? However, these myths have been dispelled by the wonderful work of Living Paintings. I have learnt so much about artists and movements in art, as well as discovering beautiful works of art through touch. I can honestly say that because of Living Paintings, I have discovered art that I never would have. I would just have ignored it thinking it was only for sighted people.

While I don’t have any children to share Living Paintings resources with, I always advocate their work because of what it has given to me and allowed me to ‘see’ what I would otherwise have overlooked. Blindness can be very lonely and isolating, but listening to the Living Paintings albums always feels like having an old friend come to visit. It is nice to hear the voices on the recordings, they are friendly, familiar and informative. The albums are prepared with great attention to detail and care which is evident and comes through in the recordings. The tactile pictures are welcome ‘eyes’ into many different aspects of the world of art. I have learnt so much through Living Paintings and I want to say a heartfelt thank you for being there always. The staff in the office are friendly and very supportive. Living Paintings have been a reliable friend throughout many difficult times.

Keep up the good work. “

A mobile phone sitting on a wooden table top and wrapped in earphones displays the Living Paintings website.

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