Breaking Ground 109 Arts - My Hands Are My Eyes

by Tracy Bettencourt, Owner/Artist of Bettencourt Originals
1.	Photo of Tracy shows her posing beside one of her painting in a gallery and smiling with her hand on her hip. She is a white woman with long blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail wearing dark sunglasses, a black and gold patterned blouse that reveals one shoulder, and holding her white cane beside her.
Tracy Bettencourt, owner/artist of Bettencourt Originals

My name is Tracy Bettencourt. I am a professional artist and owner of Bettencourt Originals. In my early 30s, I began to lose my eyesight from an eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. I am now blind. Within the past five years, I began painting using my hands.

I use assistive technology on my iPhone and iPad to identify colors. The paints I use are textured acrylic and forms of puffy paint. My hands are my eyes, and the puffy paint I use allows me to convey my thoughts and feelings onto canvas using tactile lines. I feel that I bring new insight to how art is viewed. 

a very textured painting of a tree without leaves and many branches. Colors on the tree and in the background are yellows, purples, greens and browns.
“Journey” by Tracy Bettencourt

Every day I wake up and live in darkness, yet with my newfound skill of painting, I am able to share my unique perception of the world around me. Painting allows me to convey the unseen beauty of life. My works reflect hope, adversity, love, positivity, strength, and determination. I put my heart, soul, and insight into every piece of artwork. In addition to teaching private workshops, I teach painting at Artlink Clarksville (with 30% of the proceeds from those classes going back to benefit this great nonprofit arts organization).

There will always be a mountain to climb. Yet I strongly feel that no matter what the obstacle, there is light within darkness and therefore, there is hope.

Tracy Bettencourt, owner/artist of Bettencourt Originals, is an advocate for people with disabilities, former fitness competitor, motivational speaker, and APSU alumni. View her work on her Facebook page at You can contact her at

a painting of what looks like an old farmhouse surrounded by colorful bushes and large black trees, with snowflakes falling all around.
“Spring Snow” by Tracy Bettencourt