Rockwall County

Visually Impaired Artist Paints Mural in Downtown Fate

John Bramblitt paints by touch, feel and memory.

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A new mural being painted in downtown Fate depicts part of the city's history. It shows a railroad and postman on horseback.

At around 80-feet long, it is eye-catching, but the artist who is painting it can't see his work in a traditional sense.

"I lost my eyesight in college. I didn't know anything about blindness. I just thought blindness was like a dark world and that was it," Bramblitt said. "You could think of it almost like a TV that the cable has been disconnected; the TV works, but it's not making an image."

Bramblitt had to learn a new way to paint. His colors are arranged in order of the rainbow so he knows which paint can to use, then he feels the paint on the wall or canvas.

"So every color feels different," Bramblitt said. "White, I usually mix to feel like toothpaste... black, I'll make it feel kind of oily."

"If you're sighted, you're going to use your eyes to know where you are and where you've been," Bramblitt said. "If you're visually impaired or whatever you do, you're using our other senses."

Bramblitt's wife, Jacqi, collaborates on large-scale projects.

"Even after all these years, I'm constantly amazed," Jacqi said. "He wanted to paint, and you know, even though he can't see he learned a way around it."

"The great thing about art is that if you're having a bad day, it'll make that day better," Bramblitt said.

The mural located on Main Street in Fate is expected to be complete by the end of October.

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