Being colour-blind has its issues. By definition it’s a genetic disorder, although that sounds much more severe than the reality. Day-to-day, it only poses minor problems, but if you have your heart set on becoming a pilot, a doctor, an electrician, or even a chef, then be prepared for a rude awakening.
To be colourblind is to be unable to see colours in a normal way. It’s also known as colour deficiency. In our eyes, there are two types of cells that detect light - rods and cones. Rods detect light and dark, while cone cells detect colour.
There are three types of cones that see colour: red, green and blue. Our brains use these cone cells to determine the colours we see.
Color blindness is when one or more of the colour cones is missing or not working properly. Severe color blindness occurs when all three cone cells are absent - where the unlucky individual can only see in black and white.
This is why different colour-blind people have trouble with different colour groups. They have one or more colour cones missing, and so get respective colours mixed up.
For me, it’s mainly reds and greens (most common) and reds and purples, although sometimes it can be similar shades of any colour. This often leads to situations where I make glaringly obvious errors, such as assuming food is healthy when the traffic light chart is only red, and, much to the despair of my girlfriend, wearing clothes that "definitely don't go together..."
I’ve done many tests, and played many levels of the popular mobile game - “I Love Hue”. Interestingly, I have a high capability of comparing shades of the same colour, even though my comparison between colours is downright awful.
Most of the time it doesn’t really bother me. When working, I have learnt to adapt. You see, in graphic design every colour on the computer has a numerical code attached to it. The more experienced you get, the easier it is to remember “zones” of colour. For painting however, colour blindness is a pain in the arse.
For the average person, selecting and mixing paints isn’t an issue. For me, there’s no simple way of translating a digital image colour into what kinds of paints I need - and my eyes and brain aren’t exactly willing to work together on this one.
If I was able to both consistently and accurately mix quantities of paint, my life might be simpler, but that’s easier said than done. Instead, I have to make lots of updates to my paintings, build them up in layers, until I’m happy with it - and until some unfortunate helper gives it the all clear.
Sometimes, I'll paint wild, wacky colours, so it's obvious I have deliberately painted the horse yellow and pink.
Another solution, which I have become quite fond of, is to only paint in black and white. Two colours, no problem. All my images use varying levels of white paint on a black background. I then allow a hint of gold to sneak it’s way in. Crazy, I know.
This approach has become a style that I really like, and others seem to like it too. All of the black and white animal paintings are the same size, and completed to the same level of detail. Very low chance of me getting colour schemes mixed up this way.
Being colour blind is mild handicap in the art world, but I will continue to look for ways of making it work for me.
If you’re interested in having your own painting or print, you can order one on my website, or feel free to get in touch with me directly. I strive to offer this best quality possible, at an affordable price. If there’s an animal design missing from my library that you’d like to own, let me know! I have plenty of paint to create some more.
Joseph Cashmore - ART JC
25th Feb 2023
2nd Jan 2023
13th Dec 2022
20th Nov 2022