I don’t think of myself as old. I think of myself as a person who has been young for a very, very long time. Except for a couple of things. The other day I was just walking along and I was stopped in my tracks by my ankle. And pain. When I limped to the doc, he said, “It doesn’t take much to cause an injury at our age.” Funny. He’s about 20 years younger than me. He probably got a very high grade in ‘Bedside Manner’ at medical school.

Today’s watercolor experiment:


The idea of fragility and temporary condition of good health came home to roost the other day, big time, when a loved one got some terrifying news at the doctor’s office. There is chance that this person could lose vision. As a visual person myself, I can’t think of anything that would diminish my lust for life more than loss of vision.

The watercolor below is my attempt to imagine what it might be like to have severely reduced vision.

Watercolor Sketch - Representation of Diminished Vision

9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I began by washing the top and bottom of the paper with quinacridone purple and quinacridone, leaving the middle strip unpainted, as if the eyelids were nearly closed. I used my flesh color mix (cadmium red deep, yellow ochre and titanium white) to paint over the darkened background to suggest the faces that I lightly sketched in pencil. I used quinacridone nickel for the hair. The final wash was Prussian blue, that I laid on as a heavy tint. I did not apply the Prussian blue to the faces.


I have not read descriptions of the type of diminished vision caused by the condition the doctor mentioned. I imagined what it might be like if one could only see clearly in a thin horizontal strip, with the rest of the visual field darkened.

Diminishment is a terrifying prospect indeed.

2 thoughts on “Diminishment

  1. What is the value of staying forever young, or to concider oneself forever young? Surely, one could say that seeing each day as a new experience and something you can learn from, is a young attidude, but even those who admit to no longer being young, keep on learning, experiencing ang living. I’m young, although it’s all a matter of perspective – i am not a teenager anymore – but when i look back at the timespan i have lived, i see changes all the time. I mature – i get better at some things, worse at other, i get new habits, let go of others, i change opinions and i grow more intelligent and more experienced. Some qualities grow, some decline. It is just the way things are.
    In the “western world” everybody want’s to be young forever and all of the time. Why? Someone who knows life, who has seen and tried things, have a very high value in my book, and people shouldn’t be afraid of admittng to what the “results” of their time on earth gives them to offer.

    Someone who is truly young has the qualities of a young person. He has “young person qualities” but he lacks “old person qualities”… Whereas it’s the opposite for someone who is older. I’m happy about my youth, but when nature forces me to trade my youth for wisdom, i’ll be ready, and i shall be equally happy about my new situation and my new role.

    I like your take on limited eyesight. Do you draw up the shapes with a pencil before painting, or do you put on the shapes “directly” with the watercolor?

    • Thank you so much for your heartfelt comment. There are aspects of growing older that are well worth while, of course. However, often it is not how one thinks of himself (herself) but how one is treated by others. One big eye-opener for me was finding that the wisdom/knowledge I gained throughout my life was of no value in getting a job. My 5-year, unsuccessful quest for positions for which I was qualified told me that, no matter how I thought of myself, others thought I was too old. I always knew that there was age discrimination, but it still is a shock to experience it first hand.

      But that’s not the only issue in traveling through stages of life. There is a matter of self identity. One’s identity is frequently measured by one’s place in society, health, accomplishment of goals (or not) and so on. New roles in life are wonderful to anticipate; even the act of perfecting older roles is very satisfying indeed. I know you understand this by your efforts to perfect your drawing skills.

      I admire your drawings a lot. Those who draw really notice the world about them. It is a wonderful way to stay young in spirit. Keep up the good work!

      Note – I lightly sketched ovals and divided them in the standard way one draws heads after the ‘first coat of paint’ dried.

      Once again, thank you for your comment.


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