The following are links about painting with sight loss.

Email contact address

Focus YouTube Video

Please click here to view a short video set up for visitors to Focus

You Tube Video

about Fouc Art Club and their project with the RBSA Gallery

Living Paintings

Living Paintings  is a unique publishing house and library; we are the only charity in the UK who design, create and publish tactile and audio books for blind and partially sighted people. We call them Touch to See books.

Our titles range from popular children’s picture books to curriculum-led titles, short stories about music, culture, film and in-depth explorations of art. We really do have something for everyone!

Discover our full-range of titles and borrow them for free from our online and postal library.

Do visit Barrie Goodfellow

at his site  LOW VISION ART at  and checkout a more tactile  approach to painting for people with little or no sight

Dawn Parkinson

Dover Artist with several website postings

Type Dawn Parkinson blind artist on Google or

Image of Ian Reynolds working.

A report written by Rebecca Williams, West of England Correspondent for Sky News, 19 July 2017

,Her report has called for more use of the arts in medical recovery.  It was reported that people using art to recover from medical issues were greatly assisted with their recovery.  After six months, patients had 37% less demand for doctors' appointments and their hospital admissions fell by 27%.

The arts can play a significant role in physical and mental well-being, especially for those who are lonely or suffer from mental health issues.

An all-party parliamentary group looked at two years of evidence on the impact of arts programmes on communities and has recommended that more are set up.

In Gloucestershire and Wiltshire doctors offer art lessons on prescription for those with strokes, chronic pain and mental health issues.

Elaine Wilkes, who suffers from depression, has attended an eight week course.  She told Sky News: "I had no confidence in myself, I rarely went out and then started to come here.

I was very reluctant at first but it was just wonderful doing something and gagging the nag - that's the awful thoughts going on in your head.

By doing art it stopped it happening because you're thinking about something else." 

People are using the arts to help them recover from their illnesses.  People who are lonely or have mental health issues are among those who can benefit. 

The report, which hopes to influence ministers, local authorities and NHS England, looked at the impact of programmes such as Artlift in Gloucestershire, which provides a bridge between the arts and the health sector with its creative programmes for people affected by a range of health issues.

Another project - a library for homeless people - was set up in Manchester; and the Alchemy Project in London uses dance as a form of early intervention of psychosis.

According to the report, programmes like these help people recover more quickly from their illnesses.

Lord Howarth of Newport, one of those who worked on the report, said: "The time has come to recognise the powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and well-being.

This report sets out comprehensive evidence and numerous examples which demonstrate the beneficial impact of the arts.

However, we have also found that engagement in the arts in health and social care is unevenly spread and occurs little if at all in many places."

Analysis by the University of Gloucester found that after taking part in the course for six months, patients had 37% less demand for doctors' appointments, their hospital admissions fell by 27%, which meant a net saving of £216 per person.

Support notes for Art teachers working with Pupils with a Visual Impairment

These notes have been independently produced by the ADVISE group, a small association of art teachers working in the field of visual impairment. They are designed to be useful considerations for support workers, parents and teachers of pupils with a visual impairment rather than a definitive guide to the subject.

Pupils with a Visual Impairment should have access to a full Art Curriculum.

  1. to help their understanding of the visual and tactile world, made more difficult by visual impairment. (VI pupils will have completely or partially missed all the casual visual information that is acquired by others naturally through every day exposure to visual phenomenon.)

  1. to develop skills in using art as a means of expression.  Art is a valuable vehicle for learning for visually impaired young people because it is essentially experiential and integrates basic key skills while developing the students experience of the world.

Pupils who are Partially-Sighted are just as keen to use their sight as others. Their interest in Art activities is no different to fully sighted pupils but their involvement may be frustrated by the limitations caused by their poor sight. Pupils who have little or no sight vary greatly as individuals but all are keen to involve themselves in art activities. For these pupils Art has an extremely important role in building tactile literacy, observing qualities of surface, form texture, pattern, weight, smell etc. A positive approach and the right conditions can greatly enhance the enjoyment and progress made by Pupils with a Visual Impairment.

Practical Considerations


For pupils with little or no sight it is helpful if the arrangement of furniture in the room remains reasonably consistent. Extra work space is useful so that equipment can be set out round the activity being undertaken.


Care should be taken to ensure there is plenty of light in the room from a variety of sources but with no direct sunlight.  Overhead natural lighting is a real bonus especially with blinds to filter sunlight. For those pupils with problems associated with photophobia it is helpful if the lights can be dimmed to give an even but lower light level. Extra light can be usefully provided by angle poise halogen lights, both to light direct observation activities and for detailed work on specific tasks.


Sloping desk tops are useful to help with posture and light.



These should be kept  in clearly defined areas with large print  labels as  necessary if sharp tools are to be used with pupils who work with their face close to the task, safe procedures should be insisted on and carefully monitored.  Charcoal, felt tip pens, soft drawing pencils all help to make activities more easily seen. Fine line black pens give a sharp clear line ideal for detail work and are much  clearer than most pencils. They add a new dimension to what is possible for partially sighted pupils.  Pastels are also useful when wishing to create colour. 

Special Equipment Magnifiers

Keep a range in the room if possible as pupils will vary a great deal as regards which they find useful. However they should be of sufficient power so that they provide more assistance than just peering closer.


Excellent both for explanation of real objects, photographs and illustrations as well as carrying out practical tasks eg. drawing details on a face.

Large Monitors

These are more useful for computer graphics activities than magnification programs because they provide an overview of the whole image whereas the magnification programs only display part.


These can be used to create a more comfortable working position and to allow more light to fall onto the working area.


If possible a very wide range of real objects should be provided for pupils with little or no sight to touch eg. natural forms of all sorts, models, wood carvings, scale models etc.


Partially Sighted Pupils

Access should be created to as many different activities as possible to allow the pupil to make informed choices about what ways of working are most appropriate for them.

Direct Observation

These activities need to be modified to suit the individual pupil but groups of objects could be replaced by single objects observed from a short distance. When working with objects at a distance encourage the pupils to walk up the them perhaps touch and scrutinise so that a basic understanding can be applied when trying to record them. The accentuated lighting of the objects can also greatly assist. Use sharpfy contrasted materials when drawing.


Pottery is a most useful medium.  It allows pupils the use of touch to back up what is being seen, it can be used in a whole variety of situations, for observations, models, utensil designing and abstract expressive work.


There are fewer problems associated with painting activities and alternatives such as pastels also pose less difficulties.

Computer Graphics

With the various built-in zoom facilities and the effortless way it overcomes the problems associated with lettering this is an area of the art curriculum to encourage.


Another process that encourages touch to reinforce visual response textiles can be a most valuable part of the art curriculum.

AT2 - the history of Art, Craft and Design

This requires only minor modifications that are all fairly straightforward and revolve round the clarity of the visual information being used.


Pupils with little or no sight

The activities undertaken need to be carefully thought out in terms of those that the blind pupil can be in control of through touch. Care should be taken to differentiate between pupils who have been blmd from birth with no visual memory and pupils who have lost their sight later on and have some visual understanding and visual memory.

Tactile Collage

Use a very wide range of tactile materials in a 2D format.


Probably the most flexible and useful process with many possible outcomes; as a direct observation recording material, designing and planning, utensil making, as an abstract expressive form


Exploring shape by removing sections (carving) eg. wood and surform\rasp\glasspaper. Large straws made with newspaper, a great construction material, dip and drape plaster impregnated gauze. Thought needs to be given to the size of the piece envisaged bearing in mind that sculpture created with a hand span in mind allows the blind pupil to comprehend the proportions better than an object that requires arm movements where one part is very difficult to relate to another.


As with all pupils this affords plenty of opportunity to use touch.

AT2 History of Art, Craft and Design

A problem area for both pupils and their teachers. Talk through concepts and try to make them understandable from a blind perspective. The Living Paintings Trust produce tactile facsimiles of a range of "Old Masters'" and some examples of architecture and these may be useful but the accompanying tape commentaries are not really helpful being focused on a much older age group. Stress the factual elements of the history rather than the visual aesthetics. Hands On visits to local art galleries are becoming more available and provide an invaluable source of stimulation for understanding and enjoyment. Although facsimiles of famous sculptures are virtually impossible to obtain, Ethnic carvings and artefacts are more cheaply available and can provide a starting point for classroom activities.


When presenting information make sure that extra time is available, as well as the right environment for a close inspection of any visual information.  Be prepared to treat pupils individually, they will vary greatly with different preferences, and different kinds of work that they can manage successfully.  Do not always be put off by pupils claiming they cannot "see" something, often when they get used to what they are looking at it becomes more understandable.

Encourage the pupils to make the maximum use of their eyesight and surprise themselves as to what is possible eg. a pupil may complain that they cannot see a pencil line and ask for a felt tip pen. Try substituting a softer, darker pencil which can

be as dark as any felt tip pen but can still be rubbed out. Try to stress the positives and look for those areas where pupils can achieve success.

Handy materials to have in stock:

  • Mod Roc
  • Plaster impregnated gauze
  • Masking Tape (useful for drawing activities)
  • Newspaper Straws
  • Cheap construction material that allows pupils to construct large scafe sculptures
  • Wikkistix (wax covered string that can be placed on most surfaces and holds its shape until a change is required) and is available from the RNIB.
  • Vivelle (suede type material ideal for collage activities.)
  • Clay (endlessly useful material, can be purchased in air dried form)
  • Pasta Shapes (useful for collage.)
  • Art Mache (a type of papier mache made from a powder which is easier to handle and dries rock hard)

Useful Topics

Choose elements of Folk Art as a starting point which provides more easily understood and vivid images.

Natural forms especially those with interesting textures and shapes make great starting points for patterns, designs and direct observation work.

Pieces of bark, shells, plants, bones, stones, roots etc. all make good tactile source material. Masks made from pasta shapes and found items finished with metallic spray paint. Weaving activities leading to various decorative items. Fish shapes in wood using surforms and rasps.