Tactile and audio books review: Short Stories – Amazing Music, Brilliant Colour
December 23, 2015

Hello, my name is Alison Clarke and I’m very pleased to be reviewing the Living Paintings album called Amazing Music, Brilliant Colour.

This was my first experience of feeling abstract work as a blind person. The two pieces in the album are The Snail by Henri Matisse and The Cossacks by Wassily Kandinsky.

The Snail tactile picture from Living Paintings Touch to See library
First of all I felt The Snail and whilst listening to the audio description became quite confused as I was feeling for an outline of a snail. A friend helped out by drawing a raised line of the spiral shell with the snail’s head at the top and I soon realised that when looking at abstract work, it is possible to imagine what the artist is portraying without actually feeling hard outlines.

I was fascinated to hear how Matisse, even when very ill, was able to create beautiful collages from his sick bed using a long stick with a pin on the end. Matisse loved to use bright vibrant colours, giving his work a feeling of freshness and purity.

The beautifully sculptured tactile picture is a real adventure in colours, textures and shapes.

Living Paintings tactile picture

The second tactile picture in this album is The Cossacks. I found it more necessary to listen to the audio description while feeling this tactile in order to build up the picture in my mind. The more I felt it, the more detail I found. On its own it is a confusion of colours and shapes.

Kandinsky was said to be able to associate colour with musical notes. I can understand this as a blind friend of mine would feel the vibrations of colours and describe them as warm or cold.

Learning about and feeling the two pictures in this Short Stories album has widened my experience and pleasure in understanding abstract art. If you are unsure, I urge you to give it a go. I think they will grow on you and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Alison has been a good friend and library member of Living Paintings for 25 years.

You can borrow Amazing Music, Brilliant Colour from our FREE online library.

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