Title - Looking at & responding to paintings

How can blind people and visually impaired people appreciate art?
Many artists want their paintings to be touched by people using their hands and feet. One Irish artist Des Dillon makes his pictures from woven tapestry of fleece, cottons, tweeds and felt. He encourages people to close their eyes and feel the work. Closing your eyes before you get a chance to 'see' the artist's work can be surprising. It can help you to appreciate the texture of the work. In the bottom example below the artist has applied paint heavily so it can be felt.

Manmade Textures

Silk Material   Ropes  
Smooth as Silk
Coarse Ropes


Wire Mesh
Rough Wire Mesh
Oil Paint applied heavily
Texture of paint


The Feeling of Art

When you next visit an exhibition of paintings close your eyes and touch the painting asking yourself . . . .

What kind of material is the painting made of?
Is it cold, hard, smooth, rough?
What kinds of shapes can you identify? -
Rounded, curved, fat, natural, solid, abstract..

What kind of mood(s) does this painting give? Strong or weak? Why? Calm or angry? Why? Friendly or threatening? Why?

Does all the painting feel the same or are some parts rough while other parts are smooth?

Can you feel which way the lines are going? Are all the lines the same thickness?

Texture really talks - what was the artist saying with this texture?

Task: One way to appreciate texture is to take rubbings. They are great for understanding the art concepts of shape and texture. To rub, choose objects that are nearly flat like keys, lace, soles of shoes and leaves. Visit an old graveyard and take rubbings of the headstones.

Visit the Texture Art Gallery of Dawid Michalczyk to find a picture that you like.

Visit Tom Hamlyn's Texture Art Exhibition

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