KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — She’s an artist who creates beautiful paintings – paintings she cannot see. Tracy Bettencourt did not even know she had artistic talent until she lost her eyesight.
“I lost my eyesight over 14 years ago to an eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa, and I was a single mom when I lost it totally,” Tracy said.
“I needed something to do with my hands,” she continued. “I told my oldest daughter at the time, I said, ‘you know what, Kayla? I think I need to paint,’ and she goes,’ you can’t paint, you’re blind!’ We went to Hobby Lobby, I started going through paints and I said ‘I can do acrylics or water-based, I can paint with my hands.'”
She did seven paintings her first day and hasn’t stopped. Her creations capture the beauty of nature. She shared her methodology.
“Every object has a shape, so I broke it down into shapes, geometric shapes, linear lines, so if I did a cardinal, circle for the head, oval for the body, rectangle for the tail.”
She works swiftly with her hands with fierce determination and focus, tapping so deeply into the senses she has honed after losing her vision, coming up with another beautiful work of art. She may not be able to see it, but takes great joy in sharing it.
“I enjoy the process. I can’t enjoy the visual product because it’s a visual thing but I can pass it forward,” she said.
We were granted the opportunity to learn just a little about what it’s like to paint in the dark.
A small canvas is put into place. Supplies are lined up in specific order to help me learn what it’s like to paint an object you can’t see. The paint palette is arranged literally like clockwork.
“The 12 o’clock is your black, 3 o’clock is your red, 6 o’clock is your hello and then 9 o’clock would be your white,” Tracy explained.
As I learn where to place my fingers and miss the mark several times while wearing a blindfold, such is not the case for Tracy, who discovered her artistic talent after losing her vision.
For every painting Tracy sells, she donates one.
For more information on the Clarksville artist visit Bettencourt Originals by Tracy Bettencourt on Facebook, and www.artlinkclarksville.com.