“You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

I love to paint, and to see things around me, but in fact my eyesight is quite bad. I haven’t worn glasses for years, because when I used to work with horses on the yard at a riding school, they would have got lost and dirty, not to mention damaged or broken or scratched. And I was far too busy and disorganised to wear contact lenses. I was aware that my eyesight wasn’t great; I always thought I was shortsighted and had had various eye-tests and briefly had prescription glasses before I stopped wearing them. But I managed well enough to get on with life without any…after all it’s not such a big problem if objects in the distance are less clear; my eyesight was the least of my worries.

So today I was a little disgruntled when I walked in the door after making breakfast at the emergency cold weather shelter and my mum reminded me that I should go and get my eyes tested and new glasses before I go to Brazil on February 7th. Only disgruntled because it was freezing and I had just been ready to sit down with a coffee…but it was a very good thing my wise mother mentioned it. I went straight out and walked there (thinking in my mind that either they wouldn’t have any appointments or wouldn’t have glasses available). But they did; when I explained that I am going to Brazil on February 7th they did the eye test there and then.

“I don’t think you’re short-sighted,” said the optician, a lovely lady whose brother comes from my mum’s home-town in Nenagh, Ireland, “it’s something different called astigmatism.”

My colour vision is fine. But some things are out of focus or the proportions a skewed and they blur at a certain distance. I certainly notice how much clearer things become when I look through the right corrective lens! Suddenly so many things come into sharp focus. But I hadn’t needed to see things clearly in order to paint them. I think paintings aren’t intended to be in photographic detail. Anyway like Mark Twain said: “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” …it might be possible to depend on imagination instead, when your eyes are out of focus.

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