Visually impaired artist from Texas comes to BVU to paint


Kylee Deering and Allyssa Ertz

John Bramblitt turns on the sound system in his art studio, listens to the music, and sits down to paint. The songs set the mood for Bramblitt as his dog Echo lies down beside his feet and gets comfortable. Bramblitt, an artist from Denton, TX, uses his hands to paint, feeling the consistency and incorporating texture. Why? Because Bramblitt is visually impaired.

Bramblitt, who will be at Buena Vista University this Wednesday, April 26, grew up with health problems as a child. He was diagnosed with epilepsy at two-years-old and Lyme disease at seven-years-old. Complications from the diseases caused him to lose his eyesight in 2001. But Bramblitt always loved art and it was always a big part of his life.

“I think I could draw before I could walk,” Bramblitt said.

Art became an outlet for him during his time in and out of the hospital. It was a way to escape on his bad days and celebrate on his good days. After losing his eyesight in college, he had to learn had to do everything with his hands and through his sense of touch.

Bramblitt describes the way he learned to paint as being similar to learning how to get around his house.

“Well, if I can get around with a cane in my house, then surely I can get across a canvas,” he said.

Bramblitt learned to feel the textures of the paint he was mixing, to feel the shape and contours of the subjects he is painting.

Bramblitt said that when he lost his eyesight, he began painting more often. It became really important to him that the paintings felt like the person or thing he was creating because he couldn’t see the visual aspect of it anymore.

Bramblitt says he most enjoys the process of painting, and his favorite painting is always the one that he is working on.

“When I’m painting, I’m not worried about anything else,” Bramblitt said. “I’m not worried about the future. I’m just focused on that painting.”

Bramblitt said his work is inspired by the people around him. He loves being able to feel their energy and incorporate that into his artwork.  He encompasses a story through the colors and textures of the paints to communicate what he is trying to say in his paintings.
“I like to try to take as much from reality as I can,” Bramblitt said about his artwork.