I've had diplopia, or double vision, all of my life. It's there whether I'm wearing glasses, contacts, or nothing at all. My childhood optometrist said it's because of the extreme difference in vision between my 2 eyes - that my brain can't converge the 2 images because one eye sees so much better than the other. I'm told surgery can't correct it since I don't have a crossed-eye. During my last couple of years of college, I started doing artwork that reflected the double vision. This blog is a brief summary of those 2 years.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Updates as of 2012

I visited a neurologist a couple of years ago, and he diagnosed me with silent migraines. Like my previous post described, it's migraines without the pain. If I'm going to have migraines, I'm so very thankful there's at least no pain. I've seen my stepdad in the floor from the pain, and it breaks my heart.

I stopped vision therapy, and I still see double. It was more money than I had to spend on a quickly fading hope. The therapist expected to be able to bring the 2 images together horizontally but said bringing them vertically together would be the problem. One image would likely still be higher than the other. But double is double, even if they are lined up horizontally. I didn't see the point of the money, time, and effort if one would be higher than the other.

I'm good with driving at night now (so you don't have to worry if you're on the roads when I am!), but if it's pouring rain or dark roads that I'm unfamiliar with, I'll often hand the driver's seat over to my husband for the sake of my own comfort.

I haven't completed a double painting or drawing since I graduated college. I've begun a couple, but life just seems to get in the way now. It's still in my mind often, and I know the desire and drive are there. But with a home to take of, church, and work, where's the time? And the space? Someday. When I get around to it...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Not Headaches...Just Head Problems

Did you know you can have a migraine without a headache? Migraines have different stages, and some people just don't go through the "ache" stage. I think I may have had a migraine a couple of nights ago. I was at a school function and the lights began to feel really bright. A headache began over my eyebrows, but it slowly went away. Over the next couple of hours though, I began to feel worse and worse. I was dizzy, kinda of naseous, and my head just felt weird. I felt spacy. I could feel the loud noises pounding in my head...not a painful pounding but a resonating pound - I could feel noise. As I was going home, I could feel the oncoming headlights doing the same thing to my head, like I could feel the lights passing by. When I got home, I laid down in the pitch black and silence until most of it went away. The dizziness did not fully go away until I woke up the next morning.
I've had the same problem numerous times before, but I had never thought that it could possibly fall under migraines. I do know it usually occurs when I've been straining my eyes too much or ignoring the image out of one eye. It most often occurs at movie theaters. I don't like going to see action movies on the big screen anymore because they mess with my head. It's like I can't handle so much loud noise and movement all at once.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

On to Painting

After drawing class, I took a semester of Senior Painting to make some pieces for the Senior Show. Again, my theme was double vision. It just seemed right after the successes of drawing class. I painted large 5 foot paintings with acrylic and tape. The focus was large, flat shapes and to show how the images overlap. In reality, many colors become flat for me as the images overlap. The blacks and whites stand out some, but the middle greys blend together. Here are most of the paintings from that semester.

(These pictures were taken quickly in a gallery where the lighting wasn't so great. So forgive me that the colors don't look right.)


Originally written December 2007.
It's sooooo incredibly exciting to see my own world on paper. They are drawings that I can make sense of and understand. I conquered my own visual world instead of invading someone else's! It's no wonder so much of my previous work has felt unsatisfactory. How can it be good when I'm just making up what I draw...including what I think I'm supposed to see?

Drawing, Drawing, Drawing

Originally written December 2007. The "Feet drawing" referenced was a realistic drawing of feet with a toetag that I had drawn the year before.
I saw my feet drawing from foundations today for the first time since Spring. It's a good drawing, nice rendering, fairly clear message. It's not Hannah's rendering by far, but I'm proud of it. But it's so different from what I'm doing for drawing class this semester. Looking at the feet drawing, it's obvious time and hard work went into the piece. It looks like a piece of "art." How will this semester's pieces be perceived? There are no clear marks that represent the many seconds, minutes, and hours of time. I know I spent just as much hard work and time on my new pieces, but they remind me a little of pieces non-artsy people see when they say "I could do that. How is that art?" It's art because of the process (which has always been my favorite part) and because of the reality behind it. I got bored with rendering the feet. It was one short pencil line after another that seemed to go on and on and on. My process this semester took me through so many ups and downs, questions and revelations, experiments and results. I rendered the feet realistically mostly to see if I could. Mission accomplished.I'm not exactly sure why I decided to draw my double vision this semester. More reasons have appeared as I've draw, but I started out simply with "I want to." Frankly, I didn't want to. It was a daunting task, an emotional rollercoaster. Then the reason became "I have to." I can't explain this one, except that deep down I knew I had to do it. I brainstormed other options to draw, but this was the one I kept coming back to. It was just one of those ideas that had to be gotten out so I could move on to something else. Another reason appeared that was "This is unique." Paul Gauguin said "Art is either plagiarism or revolution." I wasn't striving to be revolutionary, but I believe all of us want to create art that is unique...that says something about us, about the world, about life as we know it. Plagiarism is rarely the goal, though it often seems to be the result. With so much art created in the past and present, it seems like almost everything has been done. Almost any piece can be looked at and described as "that reminds me of so and so's work." I researched abstract art to see where I fit, and yes, my work is comparable in style to other artists. But I found none with the uniqueness of being double. I know I'm not the only person with diplopia, but I am at least in the minority. My fiance asked me if I saw my double vision as a blessing or a curse. Knowing I have a slight advantage on the uniqueness area is a blessing. The most recent reason is because "This is me and my reality." No matter how proud I am of my other drawings, there is still some dissatisfaction in knowing it is just a drawing of what I think I'm suppose to see. The double image drawings say more about me and my world than any art I have created.At this point, I wish I had not procrastinated so long. There are so many other things I want to try drawing. Things look so different on paper than in reality. But I also know if I was not so pushed for time right now, I probably would not be facing my drawings with such vigor. It would be a slower process without vitality. I draw and draw and draw. I tune out the world around me because I know I have to draw. I forget about the people sitting near me or the TV in front of me and don't realize the dogs are barking at something outside. I'm focused, and that's only because of a deadline. I concentrate because I'm stressed and am counting down the hours until Tuesday. I wish I knew how to hold onto this feeling when I'm not stressed.

Avoiding Drawing

Originally written November 2007
I've walked past my drawings in progress every day since the project first began and I've cringed everytime I see them. I'd pick up the conte and draw here and there, but rarely for long.But buckling down and getting it done has made me focus on why I've avoided the task for so many weeks. It's so much easier to feel sorry for myself when I look at the paper. I don't feel sorry for myself. I can't. But I do. I've tried pushing that feeling away so often since September. I try to say I've distanced myself emotionally from my double vision and the therapy, but it all surfaces when I least expect it. Like looking at the Christmas tree my fiance and I just put up. I love that we get to do things like that together, but it doesn't make me feel good to look at the tree because all I see is lights. I see double the amount of what's on it and half are blurrier and bigger and they block the couple of ornaments I bought him that mean so much to me. I was driving down the road tonight...the first time I've driven down Main Street at night since the Christmas lights have been put up. They should be so pretty, but instead they just get in my way. The lights on the poles block part of the road and just mix with the lights of oncoming cars. Before therapy, fireworks were about the only lights I didn't like. (The other lights had bothered me too, just not quite as much) Fireworks aren't quite as pretty when they're so many lights that you no longer see the original design. I know the therapist said things will get worse before they get better, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. And there's no guarantee that there will be a "better."
I really don't like to draw. I'm pretty sure that's a recent development, but the feeling is so strong that I can't remember what it felt like to enjoy drawing. The only thing I've really drawn lately is for drawing class. I've always worked really close to my work, which means both images are fully focused. Drawing double means I see 4 of what I'm drawing. The longer I draw, the more I realize what I'm seeing...2 hands drawing 2 lines that equal 4 lines.
Please don't feel sorry for me. I've allowed myself to feel sorry for the night, but I don't want to extend that to anyone else. Deep down, I believe my disability/difference is no worse than what anyone else experiences. It's just a different experience.I suppose we all go through our sad moments.

Like vs. Dislike

Originally written November 2007
Honestly, I don't like to draw my double vision. Have I posted that already? I like the final outcome and showing how confusing my visual world can be, but I get bored drawing the same thing twice. The transparency of the images is carrying over into painting class. I'm slowly becoming obsessed with seeing through objects. The vision therapist wants me to switch my focus back and forth between my left and right eyes. The more I do that, the more I'm seeing past an object to what's behind it. I wish I could paint what I really see...colors don't mix much when they overlap. They're completely separate colors that happen to be in the same space on my picture plane