Junior Courtney Vu has been painting since she was in the sixth grade and feels as though she has grown significantly. (Alyssa Jiron / Legacy Media)
Junior Courtney Vu has been painting since she was in the sixth grade and feels as though she has grown significantly.

Alyssa Jiron / Legacy Media

A living paradox

The colorblind artist

January 8, 2015

Her brush moves slowly across the canvas, as she meticulously depicts the breathless swirls of the sunset. The multitude of colors seem to be breathtaking; flashes of orange, red and purple. Only to her, the colors are anything but.

Junior Courtney Vu was born with a different perspective on the world, one different than most people: colorblind. Although being colorblind only effects one in 200 women around the world, according to Color Blind Awareness, the one thing that makes Courtney different is that her passion is one that involves a delicate hand, imagination and a well-trained eye.

Colorblindness is just a unique trait I have. I do not find my colorblindness as a disability or an ability to overcome.

— Junior Courtney Vu

“I’ve been interested in art ever since the beginning of middle school,” Courtney said. “I enrolled in beginners art at Strack Intermediate and found out they offered Art I for talented eighth graders. It became a personal goal to get into the class. Along the way, I picked up on a few skills and I’ve been in Art ever since.”

Senior Nicole Vu, Courtney’s sister, believes that even in spite of her being colorblind, she would be able to go far with art if she wanted.

“Courtney is an amazing artist,” Nicole said. “I could never draw like she does, she’s so talented. Her being colorblind does not seem to faze her at all, she just overcomes it and something beautiful comes out of it.”

Courtney has always seen things differently—literally. It was not until her freshman year in biology that she realized her unique trait.

“My teacher was going over inherited traits, like hemophilia and baldness,” Courtney said. “She got to a slide about colorblindness, and as an example, she put an Ishihara colorblind test on the slide. I had no idea what number or shape it showed on it.”

Infographic by Noah Sanchez

Courtney has always seen color, just differently. For example, the color gray to people who are not colorblind, would be the color purple to Courtney. She claims that there is no real challenge when drawing because she still sees colors, just not the same as others.

“I think colorblindness actually enhances the way I paint or draw something,” Courtney said. “I see colors that other people might not normally see and put on paper. The technique of trusting my visual instincts rather than my logic works successfully and has allowed me to have such a unique and depth filled style of drawing.”

Courtney is not the only one who believes that her capabilities are above average. Several art judges seem to agree that her ability is above par as well.

“I’ve placed in a few competitions, [the] most recent was a Special Merit award for Rodeo livestock,” Courtney said. “This lets me have the opportunity to attend a four-week art class at Schreiner University. [Another award] was earning a Silver Key for another art piece in Scholastic last year.”

Having been so successful in her art career, Courtney refuses to consider being colorblind a disability. Despite having her passion be something that works so much with color, she pushes through and comes out on the other end stronger than she was before.

“Colorblindness is just a unique trait I have, like being left or right-handed,” Courtney said. “I do not find my colorblindness as a disability or an ability to overcome.”

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