When I was younger, primarily through my junior and high school years I used to spend my time in the car analyzing how I would paint what I saw. In my head I would mix the colors, add the different shades and tell myself just how I would lay it on canvas. Now I just enjoy the scenery no longer needing to learn my color usage techniques... but when I am laying in the yard on a blanket, looking up and around - I like to take off my glasses and look at the world through the eyes of an impressionist. Once an eye doctor told me that in Vangoe's later years he painted so much yellow because he had severe cataracts, and cataracts cause you to see everything more yellow. I don't know if it's true, but that little fact has always stuck with me. It is a fact that Monet's work became more of an abstract impressionism and that this was due to his cataracts and worsening eyesight. In fact, it worsened so much he eventually painted from memory and at one point told an interviewer that he "trusted soley on the names on his paint tubes and the force of habit".
When I take off my glasses and watch the trees sway back and forth in the breeze, I notice how all the edges blur together.. how every color becomes it own "smush of paint". The world with my glasses off looks like it was painted with watercolor or thick oil paint and I love to notice how without the my medically prescribed lenses there is no longer a crisp definition on items like twigs which when viewed bare faced, turn into streaks... the sky and clouds just shades of blue and white like chalk pastels rubbed together with messy fingers. If you have ever seen the movie "What Dreams May Come" with Robin Williams (if you haven't, please do... I read the book first)... there is a scene after he dies where he "wakes up" to his "heaven" which is a painting his wife painted. Everything in his heaven is made of paint so when he runs through a meadow he ends up waist high in thick blobs of bright hued paint. When I take off my glasses, this is what the world looks like. It's inspiring and dreamy all at once. I sort of feel like I'm getting to see a whole 'nother world that no one else gets to see.
Edgar Degas known for his ballerina paintings suffered from retinal disease for more than half of his life, and other impressionists suffered from eye ailments as well. In the early 1900's cataract surgery was available but was rarely a success. Still... the beautiful paintings, the beautiful world, and the work we experience today.
I think it would be fun to give a painting class for people who wear glasses. First class I would have them paint what they saw with their glasses on. Next class I would have them paint completely without their glasses and notice the beautiful difference. I think I would have them do a self portrait as well. Not only would it be a learning process, but also an experience in learning not everything needs detail and definition. That life is beautiful all smudged together. Look at all the great impressionist paintings and you will see that they "got it". When visiting museums and seeing these mentioned paintings in person I like to first stand very very close and notice all the teeny tiny dashes, dots, and lines... then back up and let me eyes and mind fill in the rest. Then last but least look for the top of my glasses and have a blurry peek.
I may not have perfect eyes but I like what I see when I take off my peepers.