DEVON, UK, 5 December 2023 - A visually impaired UK artist who was registered blind eight years ago has created a collection of paintings inspired by a period of blindness in his life and his passion for coastal living.
Paul Stretton-Stephens, originally from Nottingham, was living in Spain in 2015 when he woke up one day to discover that he had lost his sight. After visiting many specialists throughout Europe, Paul never accepted that his cone and rod dystrophy were untreatable and proceeded to try many alternative treatments from around the world.
In 2022 after he returned to the UK, Paul developed what he calls ‘flashes of clarity’, where he would get some vision, just for a second or two.
Paul said: “Wherever my head was looking, I would see for a moment. I could make out what could be the sock that I’m putting on my foot, the back of somebody’s head, the radiator. It would last for a second or two and occur once or twice a day. Over a period of months, this increased to about 10 to 12 times a day.”
Paul underwent a series of tests and his vision improved, despite a cataract and continued retinal dystrophy. The consultants didn’t know if the improvement in the vision was temporary. During this time, Paul cautiously explored his surroundings. The fear was that he could return to blindness at any moment. In March 2023, the doctors categorised Paul's vision as stable.
After a visit to Santa Fe in New Mexico inspired him to gain an interest in art, Paul, who is a military veteran, came across another veteran who had been creating digital portraits of the fallen in Afghanistan. He discovered how to create art using specific equipment and applications, and since then he has been continually honing his artistic skills with the help of an art group and online tutors. Subsequently, he has continued to develop as an artist and now experiments and creates his works using mixed media and acrylics.
Paul said: “Prior to my visit to Santa Fe, I liked and appreciated some art. When I left Santa Fe, I fell in love with and appreciated all art in all its forms. And that love continues to grow and blossom to this day."
Paul, who calls himself a 'Visual Addict', uses mixed media, photography, digital painting, and acrylics. He has a love for abstract and coastal life. He currently combines fabric, photography, and digital palettes to produce enhanced hybrid art. In their final-state, he produces the art as an original, open-edition or limited-edition print. Paul creates abstract art, as well as seascapes to complement his coastal life photography.
Paul added: “I’ve had a very varied background, from service in the armed forces to physical education instructor, senior education management and mindset coaching, but I decided that my passion for art and photography nourished my soul so much that I pursued these interests ardently.
“I am delighted to see that my vibrant and contemporary abstract artwork is gaining in popularity and is becoming more collectible. My aspiration is to have my works hung on the walls of homes and other spaces around the world - something I would never have envisaged when I lost my sight eight years ago.”
For more information about Paul and his artwork, visit paulstrettonstephens.com.