How does a painter’s palette look to a red-green color blind person? My boyfriend, Brian Brooks, is an artist who happens to be color blind. One day, he asked me to label his watercolor tray because he kept mixing up red and green. 


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To me, red and green are opposites: to mix these up, his perceptual world must be totally different.

After researching how color blind people see, I created two 24 x 36-inch still life oil paintings of a watercolor tray: one in full color and one through the eyes of a red-green color-blind artist. These works explore how vast differences in visual perception can go unnoticed.

As the non-color-blind can see in the attached paintings, the difference in how he sees color is pretty huge. Most discussions of color blindness focus on “getting things right” rather than on the unusual world of the color blind, and that’s what interests me most as an artist.

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Emily Wick with Portrait of a Color Blind Artist’s Watercolor Tray, Red-Green Color Blind Simulation, Oil on Wood Panel, 2016

Emily Wick with Portrait of a Color Blind Artist’s Watercolor Tray, Oil on Wood Panel, 2016