At the age of 18, Courtney Johnson lost her vision after being diagnosed with a brain condition.
“I have a brain condition that acts as a fake brain tumor, so it puts too much pressure on my nerves,” she said. “I never expected to pick up a paintbrush or anything again.”
But her impaired vision is not stopping her from putting creativity into action.
With support from her family, including her two children, her husband and her seeing-eye dog, she managed to turn her love for art and colour into a full-time job.
“I figured ‘I’m blind I can’t do art.’ They said ‘Why not? Go on YouTube, listen to some videos, try to find you something to give you that escape.’”
That advice was the beginning of a new journey as an artist that started three years ago.
Courtney Johnson demonstrates an art technique on TikTok. (Source: Beyond Seeing Artistry / TikTok)
Her unique vision allows her to see some shapes and colours, but not everything is clear.
“Picture looking through a frosted window and say your partner is on the other side, you would know that’s a human because you’re talking to them. But for me, it’s all blurred.”
Johnson said her colour vision varies day to day. “I just use whatever colour vision that I have. There can be days where I wake up and I can’t see anything.”
To Johnson, art is not just something to see, it’s a feeling.
“For me, it’s the only thing that I can fully immerse myself in that melts away all the world noise, it takes away my pain, my trauma, my PSTD, and I can pour all of those emotions into the canvas.”