[private] Sandy Bay native Britteny Bennett was waiting tables in West End and taking fashion design courses at INFOP in La Ceiba in 2010 when a friend invited her to an exhibit of Virginia Castillo’s paintings at Waves of Art. She was impressed at Castillo’s use of fabric in her paintings. So she dropped out of school, quit her job and took up painting herself.
Britteny says she did some drawing when she was 12, but she keeps those works hidden away. Some of her more recent works, however, may be viewed at the Hungry Kiwi at Lawson Rock, the Beach House in West End, in some private homes on the island and at her roadside studio near the carwash in Sandy Bay.
Britteny says her inspiration comes from her island culture, her style is her own and she paints entirely from her imagination, never using models. Subjects vary from abstracts to imaginary junglescapes to beach scenes to women in traditional island attire toting coconuts on their heads.
Her grandfather sculpted, so Britteny says she has art in her blood. Her father, an electrician, also took up painting recently, and some of his works are on display at her studio.
Britteny paints on commission and sells the occasional painting to a passing motorist.
“Right now this is a bit slow,” she said. But in high season she says she sells a couple paintings a week for anywhere from $35 to $400.
She did a show last November and plans to do another this November, together with her father and her new apprentice, Shana Dilbert, who began working in the studio this summer.
“I saw Britteny doing it, so I decided to try it,” said Shana. “I liked it.” Shana’s works are more realist, mostly tropical birds and flowers.
When the Voice visited the studio, Britteny was experimenting with a new technique, using dots instead of brush strokes. She had completed a silhouette of a seated female figure, but thought it needed something more.
“She needs a piña colada in her hand,” suggested Shana.
“Draw me one,” said Britteny.
“I don’t know how,” said Shana.
“The word ‘can’t’ don’t work with me,” said Britteny. “There’s no ‘can’t.’ You just try it.”
Thus spoke the self-trained artist. [/private]