The Big Draw – A Climate of Change
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Welcome to our weekly CENMAC blog post.
The Big Draw – A Climate of Change | by Sarah Ezekiel, Artist
This October is the Big Draw Festival: A Climate of Change 2020, first started by the same Charity, is the world’s biggest celebration of drawing! The aim is to promote the universal language of drawing as a tool for learning, expression and invention.
In our work we often meet students with a desire to express themselves creatively through their technology. We thought what better way to inspire these students than to hear from Sarah Ezekiel, a brilliant artist using technology and her eye gaze as the tools to create her fabulous artwork.
In March 2012 I discovered that eyegaze technology can be used to draw and paint after seeing a tweet about eyegaze graffiti. Enthusiastic to try, I downloaded Revelation Natural Art software. Having studied art and history of art for A’ level and starting an art foundation course, I had always wanted to be a fine artist. Unfortunately, earning a living was a necessity and the college suggested I become a teacher. As school wasn’t particularly enjoyable, the thought of going back as a teacher didn’t appeal. I dropped out of college and worked in a shop before doing a secretarial course, which led to a career as a Personal Assistant in publishing. Travel, marriage, babies and MND followed next and my dreams of being an artist ended, or so I thought.
I use Revelation Natural Art and ArtRage software like able bodied people but select tools and colours with my eyes.
Once starting eyegaze painting I couldn’t stop. I was very prolific in the first year and just wanted to create constantly. I use Revelation Natural Art and ArtRage software like able bodied people but select tools and colours with my eyes. The process is long and I’ve become more exacting. If something isn’t right I have to delete it and start again. Painting every stroke is painstakingly slow but I’m grateful that I can create again using eyegaze technology. I’m often influenced by other artists. At the moment I’ve rediscovered the Austrian painter, Gustav Klimt, and I’m working on some abstract trees, Klimt style! My painting, Peaceful Warrior, was inspired by Modigliani because I love his work. Another painting of mine, Autumn with Matisse, was inspired after seeing a Matisse exhibition at the Tate Modern. My surroundings suddenly became more colourful and I feel as if I have a new lease of life. People often ask me how long it takes to complete a painting. They all vary, I’ve done some in one day and others have taken weeks or months.
Eyegaze painting is very different to using my hands and I experiment a lot. I still feel that it’s a learning curve with every painting and I have an abundance of techniques to explore. Being honest, I really miss using my hands and the feel of pastels and a paintbrush in my hand, as well as the speed. The odd thing is that my style hasn’t changed and my eyegaze work resembles work I did with my hands before.
After posting my work on Facebook and Twitter, people asked if they could buy it. I opened the not for profit Eyegaze artists website and sold prints of my work. Because of my experiences, I decided to purchase eyegaze technology to loan out to people who needed it, with the proceeds from my sales. As funding is available now, I donate a percentage to various charities when I can. I’ve exhibited all over the UK and at the Katara Art Centre in Qatar. I still need to perfect my technique and I’m never completely content with my work. The creative road is long and I still can’t believe that I can paint with my eyes!
My work can be seen at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/EzekielArtShop
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Eyegaze painting is very different to using my hands and I experiment a lot. I still feel that it’s a learning curve with every painting and I have an abundance of techniques to explore.