see with your fingers

esref armagan

tuesday marked the last Museum Masters class of this session, and we had tons of fun learning about blind Turkish artist, Esref Armagan…I loved having the opportunity to share the amazing talents of this man, not just because of his beautiful paintings, but for the message of hope and hidden gifts. we spoke a lot about how having an impairment does not limit one’s potential for greatness and many of my students had wonderful stories of their own of friends and relatives who have dealt with a variety of disabilities or hardships but have come through and brought something beautiful into the world…this was one of those wonderful moments when classroom instruction seeps into life lessons and I’m so happy to have been a part of it…For those of you not familiar with Esref, here are a few fun facts about him:

  • Esref Armagan is a Turkish artist who was born unsighted. He never received any formal schooling or training, but taught himself to write and paint.
  • Mr. Armagan cannot have any noise while he’s working
  • The first step in his painting process is to make an outline of the picture he wants to create. To do this, he uses a special kind of pen that acts like Braille on the canvas.
  • Mr. Armagan uses his fingers to apply the paint – one color at a time. He sometimes has to wait 2-3 days for the paint layers to dry before adding another color.
  • Mr. Armagan has been commissioned to create portraits of the current President and Prime Minister of Turkey.
  • Mr. Armagan was quoted as saying, “I can see more with my fingers than most people can see with their eyes.”

At the end of class, I was so excited to receive beautiful thank you notes from two of my students…and despite the fact that, this term, we have studied art at its finest with acrylic paints and marble slabs and towering mobiles, these little notes, written in felt-marker and decorated with tempura paint are, for me, the most beautiful pieces of art I’ve seen in some time…

Thank you to all of my students and I can’t wait for the Spring Session to start!




Filed under ktblue art classes

5 responses to “see with your fingers

  1. This is fascinating, especially as he has never had eyes – how does he know how the ocean looks and yet he paints each wave, that really boggles the mind. It must confirm that we are each linked into a collective consciousness where somehow we already know a whole lot of stuff when we are born. Somehow he has tapped into that. I also watched the video which I sent to friends and family…Katie you are uncovering so many incredible things about artists!

    • Thank you so much, Jody! Isn’t it amazing…the kids and I all had the same really is a miracle…And thank you so much for your kind words about the class…I just ADORE doing it! : )

  2. I’m so happy to see that Esref is becoming known around the world.
    A couple corrections, though:
    Esref no longer needs to wait days before applying a second or third color. This was when he worked in oil and did not know about acrylic paint. Several years ago he switched to acrylics, which dry more quickly and is easier to work with.
    The raised line drawing kit is not a special pen but a special board. The material under the paper, not the pen, creates the raised lines. I believe any pen can be used.
    In Turkey,. Esref painted wife of 2 prime ministers, 1 prime minister and 1 president between 1991 and 1996. He also painted President Clinton, but he was not commissioned to do so. He has not, to my knowledge, painted the current US president.
    To read more about Esref Armagan, please see my website:
    Your class sounds amazing!!
    Rachelle Burk
    Children’s biographer of Esref Armagan (seeking publisher)

    • thank you so much rachelle! i really appreciate your e-mail and all of the wonderful facts! i struggled a bit with finding all the right information about Esref and am so excited to be hearing from someone so intimately involved in his story! thank you so very much – and good luck with the publishing of your book! i will most certainly buy a copy!! and recommend it to all of my students!

  3. Pingback: The Blind Buzz on Esref Armagan, blind Turkish painter « The Blind Buzz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s