I WONDER how people with color-vision deficiency go through the rest of their lives not knowing the true shades and colors of things. As a child, I remember being fascinated by the colors and shapes constantly revolving around a mobile hung on my crib. I remember my crib clearly. The headboard was made of wood, it was white, and the bars were painted blue. I was wrapped with a red blanket with yellow flowers printed all over. I had a large brown teddy bear with a sparkling red ribbon around its neck, and I have loved colorful and artful things since a child. I could have been different without the colors I saw around me as a child.

We can see colors because our eyes detect light. As the light enters the retina, the neural impulses interpret it to colors and dimensions that create a visual image of the object. Our eyes provide us with visions. We can encounter both the beautiful and the ugly because we can see. To any art enthusiast, the eye and the colors it unfolds, is the most important of the five senses.

Which makes me wonder if one who has color-vision deficiency can be an art professor and an artist. Color-vision deficiency or colorblindness is an illness where the colors red and green are mixed up. It is an illness that so far has no cure. A person suffering from this will have disoriented images for their whole life, making a career on arts most unlikely.

I had a professor who seemed to know everything when it came to the arts. A fine arts professor who has a master’s degree, he must have had taken subjects like art appreciation, principles of art, color theories and the psychological behavior of people responding to colors. Imagine how many forms, colors and styles he must have known.

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This professor of mine creates artworks that are impressive. Seeing his obra, I thought I had a long way to go to be able to reach his pedestal. I had so much to learn.

Little did I knowmy teacher he suffers from color-vision deficiency.

How does an artist with this kind of visual flaw create great masterpieces? I asked. Maybe, his color-blindness is more like a gift than an illness. His ability to surpass his seeming disability only makes him more great.

I wonder what he sees in his dreams. I wonder what his fantasies play. I wonder if he thinks of what the world really looks like. Surely I want to experience being in his shoes for even a day just to know how he sees things. Would I rather be color-blind so I could be as creative as my professor?

Maybe I would. What I’m sure is that being a great artist, and being where this professor is right now, is not affected by his gift that others call illness. It’s just that he sees things in a different light, and he lives in a world with colors only he could see and know but which other people could only marvel at.

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