I read the recent story by the woman with myopic degeneration, who is an artist. It resonated with me because we have many similarities – I also have a loving husband, two wonderful adult sons, and five delightful grandchildren. I can look back to an interesting life. I, too, am retired and was looking forward to finally dedicating time to painting.

My vision is progressively worsening

I have painted over the last few years, mostly landscapes and portraits, and have exhibited in three juried gallery shows this past year. My diagnosis of dry macular degeneration spurred me to put more effort into my art (while I can still see.) I now have geographic atrophy and my vision is progressively worsening.

I may have done my last portrait because for the last portrait I did, I had difficulty positioning the eyes ... I couldn’t tell if one was higher or lower than the other. And I’ve always been a passionate reader, but reading is now an effort.

A creative project

Painting remains possible if I can let myself relax and not obsess over details. I wonder how many artists’ eccentricities can be attributed to individual vision impairments rather than conscious choice of style. But I found myself worrying about reaching a point where I can’t proceed. I know myself well enough to know I need a creative project of some kind.

I remember more than I expected

So, while I can still read a musical score, I‘ve begun cello lessons.
I played cello as a child, but that was 60 years ago. After four lessons, I find that I remember more than I expected and am practicing diligently. The music scores in my beginners’ book are too small, but using a magnifying glass, I transcribe them to a large sheet of paper …large enough that I can read the notes while playing. My goal is to learn enough to be able to play by ear if I reach the point of not being able to read notes at all.

I’ve decided that I won’t let macular degeneration limit me, but instead let it carry me in an exciting new direction.

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