Getting back into art was scary for Mary Esler after losing 95 per cent of her eyesight in a car accident 30 years ago.
The Albury local, 59, says it took her three years to pick up a pencil or a brush again.
“Drawing was always part of my life, so after the accident it took three years to test if I could still do something,” she said.
That test proved fruitful and more than a decade later, her artwork proudly adorns the cover of Vision Australia’s 2022 large print diary.
The winning artwork called “Autumn Colour” is a landscape scene with three cows grazing under trees losing their leaves.
Her work is one of 15 winning entries for Vision Australia’s calendar artwork competition.
Photo: Mary Esler with her winning artwork on the 2022 Vision Australia Diary.
All pieces must be submitted by artists who are all blind or have low vision.
“It’s been on my bucket list to get in the calendar,” Mary admits, having entered most years.
Her chosen piece was actually completed in her weekly art group at the Artists Society in Wodonga which caters to artists with vision loss.
Surprisingly, the cows in the painting were a bit of a joke suggestion by Mary’s art teacher.
Photo: Mary Esler’s artwork was created at Wodonga’s Artists Society.
But they really made the piece in the end, Mary says.
“They’re so proud of me – this is one for the team,” she said of her classmates.
Competition judge and Vision Australia general manager for commercial services, Michael Linke, says the calendar is a wonderful platform to showcase the genuine talent of artists with low vision.
“The artists prove that being blind or having low vision doesn’t stop creativity,” he said.
Growing up on a sheep and oat farm in Tabletop, Mary remembers drawing portraits of the shearers on bits of cardboard and scrap paper. Every year when they would return, they would always look in to see what she was working on next.
For Mary, that’s when art became a vehicle for expression.
“It gives me so much pleasure and it makes me feel happy and makes other people happy,” she says.
The 2022 Vision Australia Diary and Calendars are available for purchase online now.