National Endowment for the Arts Grant 2023

On October 10th, 2022, I was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant through the Sacramento Office of Arts & Culture.

The work carried out as part of the creation pathway for this NEA grant is two-fold, incorporating both the creation of art and the production of accessibility features. Art creation will produce twelve large-scale (24 x 36″ | 91.4 x 60.96cm) “oversized” 2-dimensional archival pigment prints on photo rag paper mounted to aluminum panels. Incorporating accessibility features into two-dimensional artwork is an emerging field and will be essential to allowing community members of diverse abilities to experience the work.

I’m dedicated to my art, putting in the daily grind to hone my craft. It’s a tribute to my spirit and a statement to the endless imagination of humanity. I don’t discriminate; bring on the canvas, camera, or chisel. My pursuit reveals my inner self and roots me in reality. I aim to make something lasting that sparks the soul and intellect of all people.

This page will serve as a visual journal and will document my grant process and progress through 2023. 

Our story begins in Mexico City. 

October was a big month for me. I was awarded the NEA grant and I had two shows in Mexico City, one group and a solo. See the work from these exhibitions here. Sadly, on October 31, before the group show’s closing, I terminated my professional and business relationship with the PRPG gallery, Michael Swank, and their residency. PRPG changed its name (December 2022) to Art Gallery Studios. After my departure from PRPG (Art Gallery Studios) opportunities and invitations to show my work in Mexico City extended my stay by five weeks. I was delighted to attend these events in person and continue to meet the many memorable and stimulating people who make up the art community in Mexico City. 


Through the magical luck of Mexico City and artist Helana Gonzelles, I fell into a residency opportunity in the Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood. Before my trip to Mexico, I planned to work in a print studio but did not know which print studio I would be using. I made a handful of 13×19″ (33×48.2cm) archival pigment prints for experimentation. Using my visual impairment as a template, I began using the mono printing process to make color marks on the photographic prints. I used colorful and romantic interpretations of what I saw. Romancing the darkness, I use imaginative melancholy play to mood alter the truth and reality that my precious sight, my love, is forever changed. 

Photographic artwork: pictured a pastoral landscape dotted with trees on a bright blue sky with huge billowy white clouds. A layer of orange, red and yellow wash of color moves horizontally across the entire image.  Photographic artwork: pictured a coca coloa advertisement of a man and a woman in profile looking into to each others eyes. A white and pink wash of color moves horizontally across the entire image. Obscuring the top half of their heads.  Photographic artwork: pictured a white slatted wall with a shop window. In the shop window a large poster of a woman in a bikini. A red magenta wash of color moves horizontally across the entire image. The poster is not obscured.

The tranquil location and peacefulness of the living and studio space allowed me to create work, formulate various ideas and be alone with my thoughts for hours each day. After breakfast, most days, I would head outside for a walk. As a neurodivergent person, getting out helps to clear and calm my mind, access hidden pictures, and find ways of accomplishing work not yet realized. Walking is a significant aspect of my art practice.


I found myself confined within the walls of my home, a cocoon for study and discovery. This unexpected pause granted me the gift of time, a precious resource to delve into research, unearth hidden treasures of knowledge, and shape the contours of my artistic vision.
With reverence, I immersed myself in the pages of my travel notes, the remnants of journeys past, reliving the experiences of the streets of Italy and the pulsating heart of Mexico City. These memories off whispers of inspiration and guiding my path forward.
The work born from my time in Mexico City, and the trajectory of this project, yearned for a deeper connection to the photographic elements, a resolute of the visual realm. I embarked on a research journey, seeking materials that would amplify the presence of the photograph, which would lend themselves to the dance of ink and light.
A breakthrough emerged like a beacon of light in the darkness. Acetate, a humble medium, became my accomplice, a surface marked with the whispers of ink and a portal through which the lens could capture the essence of my envisioned images.
I am reminded of the delicate dance between inspiration and manifestation, where the interplay of vision and technique gives birth to captivating creations. I honor the process of exploration, the relentless pursuit of perfection, and the profound connection that emerges from the intimate conversation between artist and medium.
I carry with me the memory of this transformative month, embracing the possibilities that lie before me, a month that weathered the storm of confinement and unveiled the hidden gems of this year’s artistic journey.
review, the work created in Mexico City, and moving forward with this project, need to be more photographic or sight-based. I researched and found acetate materials to mark up with inks and shoot through. After many failures, I hit on something and a merterial that worked and gave a look to the images I imagined / pre-visualized. 

Doug Winter photographing nature through an acetate sleeve marked with red ink. Doug Winter photographing nature through an acetate sleeve marked with red ink.  Tree branches without leave against a plan blue sky. Dots and blobs of red and pink inks dot the entire image.


Safe at home in January’s severe weather in our northern California region, I find myself revisiting the pages of my composition book, tracing the memories of my 2022 journey. In Catania, Italy, in June of that year, I embarked on the first experiments of this project. Through vivid imagery, I used oil pastels and photographs as my medium to replicate the visual impairment within my right eye. The printed images, crafted with care in an Italian mail center, convey the first growth toward my artistic vision.

wildfire with smoke orang, white and grey smoke obscuring the roadway on a bright sunny day, bits of blue sky can be seen through the smoke Composition notebook page with a pcolor photograph showing an italian alley with a painting of the wall of a girl religious saint holding a bucket. Obscuring the image is a white scribbling of paint.

Housebound by the tempestuous weather, I immerse myself in books on color, endeavoring to construct a visual language that fuses mixed hues with nature’s landscapes. These colors become a romanticized reflection of my visual impairment, shaping the images I create with my camera—an extension of myself. Though I employ software to fine-tune the final results, my quest to overlay hand-mixed pigments onto photographs or lenses evokes a sense of insecurity. Thus, I delve into the depths of knowledge, diligently practicing and exploring the captivating interplay of colors within the realms of my artistry.
Venturing beyond conventional techniques, I employ the Polaroid Lab in novel ways, intertwining external objects with the film plane. Through subtly introducing magenta filtration and intentional obstructions, I engage in a daily dance with visual barriers and replicating impairments, encapsulating them within the imagery.

Polaroid of a landscape on a sunny day. Rolling green hills, blue sky and white puffy clouds with a stip of magenta color across the middle of the image.Polaroid of a landscape on a sunny day. Rolling green hills, blue sky and white puffy clouds with a stip of magenta color across the middle of the image.

In my pursuit of unique image-capturing techniques, I embarked on an experiment with an old Canon 5D camera. By painting directly onto the camera sensor and shooting without a lens, I aimed to emulate the marks of my visual impairment. The resulting images, both with and without the lens, closely reflected my visual reality. 

Though faced with technical challenges and file corruption, I found beauty in the unexpected accidents that arose, leading me to further explore manipulating code and RAW camera files as a means of digital impairment.
Through the trials and triumphs, this ongoing project continues to shape my artistic perspective, unveiling the unseen and embracing the imperfections that weave themselves into the tapestry of my visual expression.

abstract image with colors of blue burnt organs and magenta. A swath of color floats i the middle of the image, a magenta square of color and a blue square of color are small in size and are at the top and bottom of the image.



This month, I am excited to explore my photography skills in a whole new way. I plan to delve deeper into the intricacies of color, blending hues and exploring the richness of many visual stories that can be told through the lens of my camera. My goal is to break down the barriers of my preconceptions and embrace the creative chaos that comes with pushing the boundaries of my project.
I strive to solve visual problems and find the perfect solution for the visual puzzle I create. However, I have encountered some difficulties with color selection and subject matter due to my visual impairment. But, I have proactively put solutions in place to overcome these challenges. What I have found to be most successful is dedicating daily time to my project, no matter how small. This consistent effort has allowed me to create a piece of artwork each day and maintain a sense of progress. As for what I would do differently, I have learned to approach my photography with a thoughtful and repetitive mindset. By taking the time to carefully choose my subject matter and shoot my images with intention, I can achieve the desired results. During this process, one critical “ah-ha” moment is the value of sitting alone and reflecting on my thoughts. This pre-visualization time, usually in the morning, while taking a walk has allowed me to let go of distractions and fully embrace my creative vision.


This month is filled with a mix of emotions. Although I was fortunate enough to travel to Venice, Italy, for the Arte Laguna Prize exhibition, it was a difficult time for me. During my travels, I received the heartbreaking news of the passing of our dear friend, Bob Redd. Bob had been struggling with health issues for the past five years, and his loss weighs heavily on my heart. In honor of Bob’s memory, I will be dedicating this month and the NEA Project to his legacy. I will be taking a brief pause on my art updates, but I’ll be back next month in April with renewed energy and dedication. Let’s all take a moment to reflect on Bob’s life and the impact he made on those around him.

Bob was much more than a friend to me – he was a true mentor, a steadfast supporter, and a constant source of inspiration. Whenever I needed advice, he was always there to give it. Bob sent me countless opportunities in the arts and encouraged me to apply to many of them, and his unwavering friendship meant the world to me. He was an indispensable ally in all of my photography projects and played a pivotal role in helping me create the Hope against Hope portrait project with the Unsheltered at Friendship Park. Thanks to him, we got this self-published book into the Sacramento Library months before his passing. Without his tireless dedication, this project would never have been possible. 

Bob was an outstanding photographer with a fantastic eye for capturing the essence of his subjects. I assisted him at Friendship Park, where he created a series of stunning portraits using a 4×5 camera. This is no easy feat, but Bob’s dedication and hard work were always evident in the results. His passion for photography inspired me to take risks, let go, and create meaningful work. Bob had a fantastic work ethic when it came to photography. He always tried to improve his craft and spent countless hours making prints, ensuring every detail was perfect. His commitment to giving photos back to the people he photographed set him apart, ensuring they had a tangible reminder of the moment he captured. His generosity and kindness were apparent in everything he did, and his legacy as a fellow photographer will continue to inspire and influence me (and others) forever.

When I first met Bob, we talked over coffee, and he said we could be best friends if we steered clear of conversations around politics or religion. Bob’s statement reminds me of the value of focusing on what brings us together rather than what drives us apart. We can deepen our connections with others and build lasting friendships by highlighting our commonalities and shared interests. Bob’s wise statement is a beautiful reminder of celebrating our shared interests and values and cultivating deeper connections and lifelong bonds. Bob’s insight is rooted in empathy and compassion, recognizing that despite our differences in beliefs and viewpoints. 

bob reddOne of the things I loved most about Bob was his insatiable curiosity and passion for learning. He was always eager to try new things, whether experimenting with a new photography process, attending art exhibitions, buying an electric bicycle, or learning calculus. I’ll always remember when he showed up on his electric bike at our house and recounted the hundreds of miles he rode using it. A true adventurer at heart, Bob was always eager to try new things and explore new places. One of my favorite memories with him was our trips to the Crocker Art Museum, where we would spend hours admiring the beautiful artwork and discussing our favorite pieces. Afterward, we would head to a nearby bar for drinks and lively conversation. He truly lived life to the fullest.  

One of the last conversations I had with Bob will always stick with me. He knew his time was limited, and his voice had marked sadness. He spoke with such joy about his life and all the adventures he had taken and about his family. Bob’s love for his family was palpable, and he would often talk about his children, granddaughters, and son-in-law with a beaming smile. He was incredibly proud of his family, and his love for them was evident in everything he did. 

When I was out with Bob, making photographs or whatever we did, I noticed he had a way of cherishing every moment and finding joy in the simplest things. I admired his resilience and ability to see the beauty in the world, even in the face of his overwhelming adversity. His zest for life will continue to inspire me and others who knew him. Bob’s spirit and legacy will forever live in our hearts and minds. Bob was extraordinary, and we are all the better for having known him. Rest in peace, dear friend.



I met myself with an overwhelming readiness to explore different ideas and approaches to this work. Trial and error keep my imagination and momentum alive and excited about this project. street scene during the day, women walking next to bus on sidewalk. Reflective cold and warm colors cover the upper third of the image. Using objects in front of the lens, such as plastics, paper, and ink-coated surfaces, a willingness to push the boundaries of traditional media. Experimenting with different materials and techniques leads to unexpected results. This month was lost in grief and trepidation of the over arching size of this project.
Experimentation and willingness to try new things are positive signs of progress, whether successful or not, but this month was incredible and frustrating. A comment made by a fellow artist about the work this month, “Be unafraid to take risks and explore different ideas and approaches to your work.”


I explore photography daily, venturing into unknown territories of color, exposure, and time. Encountering challenges in choosing colors and subject matter that makes sense within my community and having visual impairment. I approach these hurdles with bold solutions. The profound impact of this dedication to time produced fifteen pieces of process artwork, a few are highlighted here. Four Images. Upper left image: "Cut grass with sidewalk and blue flares." Upper right image: "Clouds obscured with red color filtration stripe." Lower left image: "Small bush in open shadow with green cyan accent." Lower right image: "Hand holding reflective material reflecting trees above green grass." Roughly three new creations each week, a testament to the ongoing exploration and tireless effort that defined my creative process. These dedicated hours and my daily walks became a shelter where the outside world, the grief of my friend Bob’s death, faded into the background, leaving room for growth and self-discovery. I was interviewed by The Picorial-List magazine website thsi month. 

During my daily walks, I liberate objects from their mundane existence, finding inspiration in their overlooked beauty and incorporating them into the fabric of my work. I place these unconventional objects before the lens—plastics, paper, and ink-coated surfaces. The chance encounters with what most people call trash help guide a sense of serendipity and connection to a larger world.
The importance of solitude and introspection and embracing quiet moments of reflection during morning walks are pivotal to liberating me from distractions and allowing me to grow. Looking back at May, I cherish the hours spent, knowing that the sources of artistic growth and fulfillment lay within those intense moments. It is within those dedicated hours that the magic happens, where the realm of human possibility expands, and the boundaries of creative expression are pushed ever further. Throughout my explorations, I carry a tremendous sense of loss, the absence of working in a color darkroom. two images side by side. on the left a piece of white box strapping. on the left a photograph of this strapping in colors of blue black white cyan and gray.The touch of my hands on objects, the dance of light and shadow on photographic paper, the intimate connection with each print—the dynamic interplay between tangible materials and the intangible world captured through my camera. The unpredictable nature of these materials adds an element of excitement and chance to my process, leading to surprising and captivating results.
These experiences elude me in the digital realm. Yet, even in this hunger, I find inspiration to reimagine the essence of the color darkroom through unconventional digital and analog means and the discovery of discarded trash at my feet.

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Over the past eight months, I’ve been on an arduous and contemplative artistic journey, searching for the elusive path that leads to images representing my NEA project’s (Beyond Sight) genuine concept. It has been an intense struggle where the weight of creative expectation has sometimes been overwhelming.

Out of focus image of a woman in profile, cropped to head and shoulders on cyan green background with a wash of light pink running horizontally across the entire image.Reviewing and checking my artistic notes and process, I encountered numerous days and months of self-doubt and frustration. The images I captured fell short of the ethereal concept within my NEA statement. I wrestled with technical challenges, battling self-imposed equipment limitations and fighting the elusive nature of light, shadow, color and composition.

Setbacks have inevitably been threaded into the material of this project. Despite the undeniable progress and moments of triumph, I cannot ignore the obstacles that have tested my resolve and forced me to recalibrate my path.

One significant setback reverberating through my (now eight-month) artistic journey was realizing that a substantial portion of my painstaking fieldwork would not find its place in the project’s ultimate completion. It will become a visual footnote of color samples, progress images, and tiny failures that say, “Look at me,” I was a moment of profound disappointment, a deviation from the envisioned path. All this is a poignant reminder of the unpredictable nature of creative pursuits.

These setbacks have taught me the invaluable lesson of adaptability, an integral part of my artistic narrative, shaping the trajectory of this project and infusing it with a newfound depth and resilience. Urging me to see setbacks not as roadblocks but as catalysts for growth.



This month was a whirlwind of brutal ups and  downs and many creative breakthroughs and accomplishments. This is some, but not all, of the work this month. 

Connecting the patrons of the exhibition through interactive pieces, highlighting the preciousness of sight and the collaborative nature between our eyes and brain and our human optical system, gained a weight of importance to me. 

I’ve also asked my friend Tod Kapke for his overview of the work. Sending files his way for minor critiques as I navigate toward my September 25th install deadline for the solo exhibition.
horintal abstract image of blue tones and hues. An achievement for this month was completing my inaugural piece, “Blue,” – a tactile artwork that engages the senses and invites a tactile exploration of emotions.
Photograph of a wild fire with a magenta pink text overlayed on top of the photograph. The text is ALT text explaining the photograph. I worked on an image of patron interaction that combines text with an image cut into pieces laid over the top. This work presented as both a challenge and an opportunity. Through careful consideration and talking it over with the curator Alex, an innovative problem-solving solution was navigated, resulting in an interactive piece that merges language, photo visuals, and art equity. A visionary problem-solving approach emerged through deliberate contemplation and insightful discussions in consultation with Curator Alex and Kathryn Mayo. The outcome is an interactive work showcasing a harmonious fusion of linguistic expression in the form of ALT Text, a captivating photograph, and the core principles of artistic inclusivity for the community.
Inverted color lanndscape used for after image effect. Additionally, I experimented with an image that is a visual trick to guide gallery patrons toward the wonder and preciousness of sight and the collaborative nature between our eyes and brain that completes our human optical system.
July brought its fair share of technical hurdles, with laptop and printer issues impeding my progress. However, I overcame these obstacles through creative problem-solving and resourcefulness, keeping up my artistic momentum.

A significant milestone was reached as I joined forces with a seasoned curator whose expertise complements my artistic vision. This collaboration adds a layer of refinement to my work and paves the way for a seamless translation of my creative narratives from English to Spanish, making the work more accessible to a broader audience, which has always been the goal of my artwork; accessibility for all.
As July draws to a close, I find myself invigorated by the accomplishments of the past month. 


The pressure increased as the final exhibition deadline, set by the gallery’s director, loomed on the horizon, with the opening date of October 12th. I have 5 weeks until installation. Collaborating closely with Alex, whose role in translating my work into Spanish is pivotal, we made substantial strides. While we’ve settled on a title, the ultimate choice still eludes us; capturing the essence of a year’s worth of art and words within a single phrase remains challenging.
Throughout August, I immersed myself deeper into my writing detailed descriptions and alt text. As I’m writing this, do people have the patience to read any longer?
I worked repeatedly on images for this project, meticulously bringing to life images that had long eluded me. A standout moment was the opportunity to work with the model I’ve always held in high regard, A-non (or Reina). This collaboration bore fruit as I successfully completed 3 images from our session. It was 105 degrees, and working outside proved hazardous for Reina and Kathryn. The ground was so hot they couldn’t stand it, so the session was cut short. Two of the three images will make their way into the show. 

A person's face in a horizontal blurry photograph with white layers over the photograph obscuring the facial features of the person. A journey to the Bay Area became imperative as I set out to collect artwork and frames, a crucial step in the project’s progression. I also received proofs from Hanson Digital, an essential component of my ongoing work. Rigorous testing of these proofs under the gallery’s illuminating lights ensued, accompanied by collaborative efforts with the gallery team to secure the project’s timely completion. To maximize their visual impact, I decided to print all the images at least 40 inches wide.

Between these tasks, I devoted diligent hours to crafting titles, descriptions, and alt text for the six finalized photographs, a job that continually evolves in complexity. However, a significant setback overshadowed this productive period, as my computer’s external hard drive abruptly failed with no warning, raising possible irreplaceable data loss. I am engaged in tireless efforts to salvage my precious images and essential data, holding out hope for a successful recovery.


In the busy and bustling month of September, I quickly discovered I needed help in the curation process of the final exhibition. Asking friends and artist contacts in Mexico City for references, I was provided with an outstanding person: Alex Rodriguez de Ahmad noted for her prior position at the Yumex museum in Mexico City and her training at the Jumex art collection. We collaborated with the artwork’s descriptive text back and forth. Alex and I meticulously honed the intricate details of each artwork, crafting title cards. Alex’s expert input and writing provided elaborate and rich descriptions. I was elated to work with such a thoughtful person who saw the work differently than I did.

Acknowledging the importance of inclusivity, I also sought a skilled translator to convert the art labels into Vietnamese, striving to ensure a genuinely multicultural experience at the exhibition, underscoring the most spoken languages at Cosumnes River College: Spanish, Vietnamese, and English.

Simultaneously, I found myself absorbed in a whirlwind of photography, artistic creation, meticulous print work, and frequent excursions to the vibrant city of San Francisco to pick up completed pieces from Hanson Digital. Amidst this creative fervor, the concept of a comprehensive “Salon Wall” began to take shape, offering a visual narrative chronicling the evolution of my artistic journey. This ambitious effort culminated in the display of 23 distinct pieces, each bearing the mark of my creative exploration, a visual breadcrumb trail to follow to the large pieces of the exhibition.

Embracing the significance of showcasing progress, I deliberately exhibited progress works, showing my notes to myself. I write notes to myself on the work as I progress through solving visual problems. The vulnerability of this sharing act of my art practice shows how I work and my thinking. The small pieces ensured that the collection’s accessibility was not constrained by prohibitive price points. With a modest pricing structure beginning at 25 dollars, the artworks were intentionally priced to appeal to a broad spectrum of art enthusiasts, inviting them to partake in the narrative that each creation encapsulates. These pieces, carefully selected from my artistic endeavors of the past year, stand as a testament to my personal evolution and serve as a testament to the creative chapters that define my NEA grant journey.



October marks a year since I started this project. It’s been a series of ups and downs. Trying to make sense of how far I’ve come, looking at all the struggles and victories. Did I do my best? Is the work good enough? I’ve realized this project is a part of who I am—a mix of challenging times and getting through them.
This past year taught me a lot about myself—how I work, what gets me going, and what holds me back (like my trouble focusing sometimes). I’ve learned that writing is critical for this project.
I figured out where this project would be shown, solved spatial problems along the way, and ensured it was presented correctly. Not just because of rules from others but because it means something to me. It’s about making it match my standards.

The month rushed past in a flurry of final touches for the exhibit’s installation. I struck gold, finding Alex Rodriguez de Ahmad (formerly Velázquez) to curate the collection. Their training at the esteemed Yumex Museo in Mexico City added an invaluable layer of depth. Alex became integral to the project, diving into language translations, refining artwork descriptions, and crafting a poignant poem for the exhibition’s title wall. We worked tirelessly until the end—Alex, a true linchpin for this project.

Those days were a flurry of 12-hour spans, racing between San Francisco’s streets and various vendors in Sacramento, even rummaging through thrift stores for unique frames destined to grace the salon wall where the 23 pieces of process work hung. That relentless pursuit of perfection became my existence as I attempted to finalize every minute detail—a rhythm that marked the journey to create a show of this size and scope. Yet, this inaugural experience of creating a substantial solo exhibition within the respected walls of the Cosumnes River College gallery represents a significant milestone in my artistic journey.

One of my most formidable challenges? Crafting accessibility labels for each artwork demanded eloquence in three languages, reflecting the vibrant fabric of the university’s diverse community. Spanish led the narrative at 68%, trailed by Vietnamese and English, resulting in three intricately woven labels for every artwork piece. Enter the QR codes—our ingenious portal that unlocks audio descriptions and closed captions when scanned. Precocious art student Phin Nguyen bridged linguistic depths with creative Vietnamese translations and innovative accessibility solutions by recommending websites for audio and text transcriptions.

The “Echoes of Perception: Essays on Vision” grand opening on October 12th was very successful. “The Connection,” the university’s award-winning paper, highlighted the event. Students, faculty, friends, and people in the Sacramento arts community attended. Two pieces found new homes— “Shadow Play” and “Our Lady Guadalupe Wrapped in Cellophane”— I appreciate the work connecting to gallery goers. The interactive installations, “Flames of Catania” and “Blue, Color #3 v2,” emerged as vibrant nuclei, sparking dynamic conversations and drawing patrons into their mysterious appeal.

Gallery interior bright pink wall with white letters of the title, artworks align down the walls and open into the exhbition space.

NEA show interior art gallery of Doug Winter's abstract photographic work. 3 peopel and spread out on each wall of the gallery lookign at the artwrok.

4 abstract photographs hanging in a the gallery.

Photograph of the CRC gallery at the NEA show. Doug Winter standing on a bench in the middle of the frame of the image. Show sigange to his right and the gallery artwork to the left. Its a self portrait of the artist.

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