He initially gave up all hope of painting again
when he suddenly lost his sight in 2015, and at one point
Then, after the initial crisis passed, he discovered there was
still a way he could put paint to canvas.
"Great experience and intuition - that's the secret," said the
76-year-old, grinning in the middle of his studio in the
southern city of Plovdiv, surrounded by vibrant treescapes and
He found he could still just about see the difference between
blocks of color, between light and dark, through his left eye.
For the rest he relied on the instinct, skill and memories built
up over his long career as an artist and church icon restorer.
"I only paint on black canvases, because I can recognize the
warm colors - orange, red, light green ... I go out (painting)
when it's bright and sunny, because I can 'see' the shadows.
When it's dark and grey, I can't."
In the early stages, he stands a few centimeters away from the
canvas and breaks down the image in his head into small squares.
"Then I connect it - small square to small square." After that
he coats the surface with melted, transparent wax - a classical
technique that gives a smooth finish and lets him feel the lines
and blocks of the image underneath.
"I can feel the relief with the touch of my fingers and I can
recognize if it is a tree or the sun." He uses a blowtorch to
melt the wax and listens out for the change in the noise the
flame makes when it reaches the edge of the canvas.
His work has been shown in Germany, Greece, Turkey and several
Bulgarian cities. He is now preparing for the 33rd exhibition in
his career and hoping to pass on the "enkaustikos" wax technique
to an apprentice.
"Why not?," he said. "I'll turn 77 this year, so the 33rd
exhibition doesn't sound too bad."
(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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